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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Samnell wrote:
1)-5)
If you're taking votes, mine is for Leiber.

Tried him, found the prose off-putting. Also tried The Blade Itself, which just didn't grab me at all. Reminded me too much of The Black Company and I checked into it. Found out what I read is representative of the series. Gave it up and took a break day.

I think it'll be the election book.


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[Stifles self]

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Lord Snow wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

I'm re-reading Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding, because I got it and all its sequels for my birthday! :-D

Now, should I read all 4 Tales of the Ketty Jay in a row, or alternate between them and other novels?

I would alternate. While they are all fun (and get increasingly better) they do have some recurring themes that might get irritating if you binge through them, or remain entertaining if you revisit them with breaks to refresh yourself.

OK sounds like a plan!


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
[Stifles self]

Sorry, just not to my taste.

Did end up with Year of Meteors. Also discovered that I probably know the author of Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.


Samnell wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Samnell wrote:
1)-5)
If you're taking votes, mine is for Leiber.

Tried him, found the prose off-putting. Also tried The Blade Itself, which just didn't grab me at all. Reminded me too much of The Black Company and I checked into it. Found out what I read is representative of the series. Gave it up and took a break day.

I think it'll be the election book.

Here's my advice about Leiber: his writing career spanned so many decades that his style developed a lot, so the prose you found off-putting might not be typical. For instance, most collections of Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser order the stories as they occur, so you read a couple of prequel stories Leiber wrote later followed by the actual first story he ever wrote about them in 1937 and you're all, "Dude, I think Fritz Leiber had a stroke between Ill Met in Lankhmar and The Jewels in the Forest!"

Not that Lieber is a requirement if you're looking for cerebral homoerotic heroic fantasy that deals tangentially with economics and slavery, I'd suggest Tales of Neveryon by Samuel R. Delany; nothing in that description is a joke.

Say, speaking of the intersection of economics and slavery, have you ever read the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson? It's a couple thousand pages all told, so I hesitate to call it light reading, but it might hit you right in the sweet spot.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just read Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen, and it deals with magically compelled slavery and the ecology. The high-ups even talk about killing the slave caste because there's not enough water in the world for all the people!!! :-O And there don't seem to be a lot of folks on that world. It's kind of downer.


The Invisibles comic series by Grant Morrison. I started this series years ago, but didn't get very far--partly due to difficulty finding the rest of it, partly because it's a trippy and challenging read (as is appropriate for a story of occult conspiracies). But now my local library system has the full series in collected hardcovers, so I'm now in book 3 of 4.

Tales from the Yawning Portal. I bought it to have some canned D&D 5E adventures to run for my kids, and it seems to fit the bill nicely. My only real beef so far is that the maps are too darn small, so I'll have to redraw them all at a size that I'll be able to read (and reproduce) during play.


Tim Emrick wrote:
The Invisibles comic series by Grant Morrison. I started this series years ago, but didn't get very far--partly due to difficulty finding the rest of it, partly because it's a trippy and challenging read (as is appropriate for a story of occult conspiracies). But now my local library system has the full series in collected hardcovers, so I'm now in book 3 of 4.

The Invisibles is a favorite. A bit uneven, but parts of it are brilliant. And it targets my interests perfectly. :)


Tim Emrick wrote:
Tales from the Yawning Portal. I bought it to have some canned D&D 5E adventures to run for my kids, and it seems to fit the bill nicely. My only real beef so far is that the maps are too darn small, so I'll have to redraw them all at a size that I'll be able to read (and reproduce) during play.

Is Tomb of Horrors still as lethal as it ever was? :)


'Straight and True: A Secret History of the Arrow' by Hugo H. D. Soar

and

'Swordpoint' by Ellen Kushner, speaking of cerebral (sort of) homoerotic fantasy.


Limeylongears wrote:

'Straight and True: A Secret History of the Arrow' by Hugo H. D. Soar

and

'Swordpoint' by Ellen Kushner, speaking of cerebral (sort of) homoerotic fantasy.

Wait 'til you reach the third (or second, if you go by publication order) book in the series. So much buggering.


The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston. Spy shenanigans in 1989 Berlin. And more Le Carré than the Len Deighton you'd expect from the trailers to the movie version.


Hitdice wrote:
Here's my advice about Leiber: his writing career spanned so many decades that his style developed a lot, so the prose you found off-putting might not be typical. For instance, most collections of Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser order the stories as they occur, so you read a couple of prequel stories Leiber wrote later followed by the actual first story he ever wrote about them in 1937 and you're all, "Dude, I think Fritz Leiber had a stroke between Ill Met in Lankhmar and The Jewels in the Forest!"

I've got the Swords & Deviltry collection. It starts with Induction, which is basically a page-long pile of proper nouns with descriptions of Our Heroes. Then it's into The Snow Women, which is where I gave up. Not even sure what put me off exactly. I don't mind Fafhrd sleeping in his mothers tent or any of that. Think it might have been how the thing was framed as this guys vs. gals domestic dispute that seems a tad too cute. Maybe I'll pop ahead and try Ill Met at some point.

Hitdice wrote:
Say, speaking of the intersection of economics and slavery, have you ever read the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson? It's a couple thousand pages all told, so I hesitate to call it light reading, but it might hit you right in the sweet spot.

I have not, though Stephenson's been on my list to check out for ages. Must've picked up one of his books at least a couple times a year for a decade back when we had a local bookstore. I know a guy who is a huge fan and a predilection for research porn is probably right up my alley. Just never quite got there. Once saw an early modernist take swipes at Stephenson for writing sixteenth century characters with no religious life, but they admitted right after that the characters were more mouthpieces for ideas than meant as reconstructions so it was ok.

Year of Meteors is going well except that the first chapter has errors which make me trust the rest less. To explain who Stephen Douglas is, Egerton rolls back to Kansas-Nebraska times. This is my jam. I don't know all his sources, but I know enough to realize that he's not as careful as he should be. He basically dates Douglas' interest in the Pacific Railroad, aside a generic mention of westward expansion, to 1853. Douglas was talking up that railroad almost a decade before that. I know because it read it in the source Egerton cites. One sentence to the effect that Douglas had been pushing for a railroad since the start of his Washington career and things didn't really get moving until spring of '53 and it would be fine.

Then later on he has Douglas tell a crowd of Chicago hecklers to go to hell, which is something we believed he said into the Forties, but James Rawley found evidence otherwise in the late Sixties. That's also in a book Egerton cites, and repeated in the notes of another he also cites. We all want it to be true, but it didn't happen.

Neither is a critical error, but they're enough that I'm antsy about the book. It's already not telling me a whole lot that I don't know about the election (ok, so it'll be a fast read) but I keep hitting the footnotes and it's worrying how much of the book is citing broader antebellum surveys. Most of the stuff is that or biographies of the principals, with occasional nods at the more usual fodder like specialized works adjacent to his subject.

I'm a big boy and I can handle it, but Egerton's a proper academic who has written what I think are well-regarded books on Denmark Vesey and Gabriel's Rebellion. This is a lot poppier than I expected. It's starting to feel Father's Day gift poppy.


Kajehase's scale of spy novel "realism" from top to bottom: Le Carré --> Len Deighton --> Ian Fleming --> James Bond movies


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Kajehase wrote:
Kajehase's scale of spy novel "realism" from top to bottom: Le Carré --> Len Deighton --> Ian Fleming --> James Bond movies

I'm a big fan of Alistair MacLean, but, man, his spies stay awake for weeks at a time, get knocked out and come to seconds later, ready to run across the decks of ships during force 10 gales for the fifth or so time, and as long as they find a shot of whiskey after that, they're back up and at it again. Then, having made a series of implausibly brilliant deductions, the main character will invariably say, "If only I hadn't been so stupid!"


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kajehase wrote:
Kajehase's scale of spy novel "realism" from top to bottom: Le Carré --> Len Deighton --> Ian Fleming --> James Bond movies
I'm a big fan of Alistair MacLean, but, man, his spies stay awake for weeks at a time, get knocked out and come to seconds later, ready to run across the decks of ships during force 10 gales for the fifth or so time, and as long as they find a shot of whiskey after that, they're back up and at it again. Then, having made a series of implausibly brilliant deductions, the main character will invariably say, "If only I hadn't been so stupid!"

Following all that, they'll be briefed for the next mission, catch a couple hours sleep on the plane and do it all over again.

They will however complain about the lack of sleep and probably mention it in the "If only I hadn't been so stupid!" phase.


thejeff wrote:
Following all that, they'll be briefed for the next mission, catch a couple hours sleep on the plane and do it all over again.

Naw, all MacLean's protagonists have slightly different names (Johnny Carter, Johnny Harlow, Pierre Cavell, Phillip Calvert, Paul Revson, Paul Sherman, etc., etc.), even though they're all pretty much the same character.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Following all that, they'll be briefed for the next mission, catch a couple hours sleep on the plane and do it all over again.
Naw, all MacLean's protagonists have slightly different names (Johnny Carter, Johnny Harlow, Pierre Cavell, Phillip Calvert, Paul Revson, Paul Sherman, etc., etc.), even though they're all pretty much the same character.

I've just reread Force 10 From Navaronne, which might be his only sequel, now that I think about it.

But it starts out that way and then ends with "And we've got just one more tiny job for you..."

Scarab Sages

I am reading "Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the Sands"

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm also reading Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and WOW are the Realms kind of boring. I think TWO dwarf cities were invaded by shadow dragons. Too many dwarf cities, all identical, or nearly so. One brags about having the biggest boulder, another about having the biggest rock. Ugh.....


Recently re-read the Stieg Larsson books. Good stuff!

Am now re-reading the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan novels. It's funny how some of the topics that he talked about resurface...


Finally finished Boy, Snow, Bird yesterday.

I am sure that multiple lengthy breaks in between sections means that I missed a ton of shiznit, but I liked it very much. I had read a spoiler about the ending having a

Spoiler:
trans story

but even knowing that, I didn't see it coming. Also liked Oyeyemi's response to a repeated criticism about her male characters being flat and not well developed; "I don't care, I'm not particularly interested in them" or something along those lines.

Kinda want to read more by her, but probably won't for a long while.

Dark Archive

Just a few chapters into The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. I want to check out his other books now.


Readerbreeder wrote:
Tim Emrick wrote:
Tales from the Yawning Portal. I bought it to have some canned D&D 5E adventures to run for my kids, and it seems to fit the bill nicely. My only real beef so far is that the maps are too darn small, so I'll have to redraw them all at a size that I'll be able to read (and reproduce) during play.
Is Tomb of Horrors still as lethal as it ever was? :)

It's the last and the highest-level adventure in the book, so I haven't read it yet. I just have Against the Giants left to read before I find out...


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Mrs. Gersen somehow acquired a moldering copy of The Quest for Simbilis, the only authorized non-Vance sequel to Eyes of the Overworld. Eager to read more of the adventures of Cugel the Clever, I anticipated finishing it in a sitting. Unfortunately, I fell asleep partway into the first few pages -- when you have a 2-year-old, Easter egg hunts can be exhausting.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Michael Shea was, after Vance himself, the best author of Vancian fantasy I've encountered. In Yana, the Touch of Undying and the Nifft the Lean books are excellent. I wanted to reach into the book and punch the protagonist of In Yana very early in the book, which is also how I often reacted to Cugel.


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Shea's books were a bit less whimsical and a bit more Clark Ashton Smith-y than Vance's, IMO, but they are very good indeed.


Tim Emrick wrote:
Readerbreeder wrote:
Tim Emrick wrote:
Tales from the Yawning Portal. I bought it to have some canned D&D 5E adventures to run for my kids, and it seems to fit the bill nicely. My only real beef so far is that the maps are too darn small, so I'll have to redraw them all at a size that I'll be able to read (and reproduce) during play.
Is Tomb of Horrors still as lethal as it ever was? :)
It's the last and the highest-level adventure in the book, so I haven't read it yet. I just have Against the Giants left to read before I find out...

If you've never read a version of Tomb of Horrors before, you're in for a treat... :)


Year of Meteors isn't quite crap, but I still don't trust much of it. I've since learned that Egerton's prior work is part of what cause the Denmark Vesey flap back early in the century, which is a much bigger thing that's genuinely complicated and doesn't necessarily require his being a hack to mess up but is still not encouraging.

Short version of that because I know very little about it: A longstanding critic of resistance studies (the ways slaves resisted slavery) got asked to review three recent books on slave revolts, one of which was Egerton's. He used it as a cause to do spot research himself and found out that prior historians used the typed up version of the court records for the Vesey case which he believes has substantial differences from the manuscript original. This is lazy hackwork and they should be ashamed, yadda yadda. Also there probably was no Vesey conspiracy. He's had a forthcoming book on what really happened for...about fourteen years now. In the interim things have gone back and forth a fair bit over just how credulous prior historians had been and whether the differences he found are actually material or enough to justify his new take. Would probably be a bit less of a to-do, but I guess he was quite rough about it and he came in already antagonistic to reading signs of slave resistance into things. That POV has a tremendous lot of nasty baggage in slavery studies going back to the late Sixties.

Anyway, that book's done and Egerton's Reconstruction book dropped off my radar because of it. I have the first volume of Donald's Sumner bio coming to me but it will be a week. For all its faults -Donald hates Sumner pretty hard and attributes his opposition to slavery basically to psychological problems- I guess it's the best treatment of the caning. I plan to just read it for those chapters and otherwise research-fodder the thing.

In the interim it's going to be either the Harriet Tubman biography or the survey of lynching. Presently leaning toward the latter because I've been extremely curious about lynching for ages and what I already know about it has informed a lot of how I understand white supremacy.

Yeah, talked myself into it. At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Phillip Dray streaming into my skull.


I haven't had a chance to read that, but his survey of the American labor movement, There Is Power in a Union was a decent read.

Have turned my attention to a Trotskyist classics, Harold Isaacs's The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution, the crushing of which was ninety years ago this month.

CHINA: 90 YEARS SINCE CHIANG KAI-SHEK’S SHANGHAI MASSACRE

Dark Archive

Quemius wrote:
I am reading "Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the Sands"

On the sub-topic of re-reading gaming stuff, I've just re-read most of my Aberrant stuff, and it remains an amazingly funky world, and I'm not in the middle of re-reading my Trinity stuff, and it also is crazy creative and fun and riveting.

I imagine that I'll eventually get around to re-reading some of my Vampire, Mage, etc. stuff, but that will have to wait, since there's a heck of a lot more of that stuff!


Someone came up to me today, said 'You'll read anything, won't you?' then gave me a copy of 'Fatal Terrain' by Dale Brown. I get the impression that it's like Tom Clancy's Dirty Badgers/Tom Clancy's Mermaid Pony Club/Tom Clancy's Adventures of the Nancy Hardy Five and the like, so I doubt I'll enjoy it, unless it's really bad.

Might be a good topic for a new Project...

The Exchange

Limeylongears wrote:

Someone came up to me today, said 'You'll read anything, won't you?' then gave me a copy of 'Fatal Terrain' by Dale Brown. I get the impression that it's like Tom Clancy's Dirty Badgers/Tom Clancy's Mermaid Pony Club/Tom Clancy's Adventures of the Nancy Hardy Five and the like, so I doubt I'll enjoy it, unless it's really bad.

Might be a good topic for a new Project...

you truly are unstoppable


Awesome title, tho.


I'm reading some H.P. Lovecraft aloud to my other half. I picked up the three volumes from Penguin Classics, and so far I've been enjoying them. I've only read a small sample of stories previously, and this time I plan to work my way through all of the Cthulhu mythos by publication order. I only had one volume to start with, so I read some non-mythos tales, namely "The Tomb," "Beyond the Wall of Sleep," and "The White Ship." I received my other two volumes yesterday, so I read "The Nameless City." Next is "The Hound" and "The Festival."

What I like about Lovecraft is the strength of his vocabulary. It probably borders on verbosity, but it's refreshing to read some fiction that stretches my brain a bit. Before this, I'd started reading Dune by Frank Herbert, but it didn't really grab me straight off (though I plan to give it another go somewhere soon). Before that, I'd tried reading Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie, but found it to be a slog to read with nothing vaguely interesting occurring in the first 50 pages. I haven't the foggiest how this won a Hugo award. I'm going to require a real dearth of material to tackle it again.


CatholicFan wrote:

I'm reading some H.P. Lovecraft aloud to my other half. I picked up the three volumes from Penguin Classics, and so far I've been enjoying them. I've only read a small sample of stories previously, and this time I plan to work my way through all of the Cthulhu mythos by publication order. I only had one volume to start with, so I read some non-mythos tales, namely "The Tomb," "Beyond the Wall of Sleep," and "The White Ship." I received my other two volumes yesterday, so I read "The Nameless City." Next is "The Hound" and "The Festival."

What I like about Lovecraft is the strength of his vocabulary. It probably borders on verbosity, but it's refreshing to read some fiction that stretches my brain a bit. Before this, I'd started reading Dune by Frank Herbert, but it didn't really grab me straight off (though I plan to give it another go somewhere soon). Before that, I'd tried reading Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie, but found it to be a slog to read with nothing vaguely interesting occurring in the first 50 pages. I haven't the foggiest how this won a Hugo award. I'm going to require a real dearth of material to tackle it again.

I found the present time material in Ancillary Justice a bit of a slog and even the backstory/flashbacks took awhile to get going. For me at least it all started working once the separate parts started coming together. The payoff was worth it, but it does take awhile to get there.

As for Dune, I can't really imagine not being grabbed by it, but I read it so long ago and it's so engrained in me now I can't really imagine reading for the first time. :)


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thejeff wrote:

I found the present time material in Ancillary Justice a bit of a slog and even the backstory/flashbacks took awhile to get going. For me at least it all started working once the separate parts started coming together. The payoff was worth it, but it does take awhile to get there.

As for Dune, I can't really imagine not being grabbed by it, but I read it so long ago and it's so engrained in me now I can't really imagine reading for the first time. :)

Well, to be honest, I've seen both the movie and the mini-series of Dune at some point (can't remember if I got all the way through the mini). I think that makes it harder to jump into because there's already some knowledge of the story to come spoiled. I think it's the same reason I have trouble reading Tolkien, in that I saw the Lord of the Rings movies first. I would like to come back to Dune, though, as it's a pretty sprawling series, and I don't currently have something like that on my plate. A few months ago, I finished doing the audiobooks for The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. That took me about a year to get through, and I'd like something equally involved.

As for Ancillary Justice, one of the early things that really put me off was the inner monologue about gender not being relevant, and then proceeding to just refer to every character's pronoun as "she." It felt shoehorned in as an attempt to be current-culture relevant, and that annoyed me. I don't mind playing around with social concepts in science fiction, but if you need to preach at the reader almost directly like that, I feel you're doing it wrong. It was the same criticism I had with Ready Player One, where at various points it just felt like the author, Ernest Cline, wanted to really make sure his readership didn't miss his point on issues of religion and sexuality. It was so on-the-nose, but given the Mary Sue nature of that whole book, I wasn't really surprised at the choice to broach the topics in that manner.

It's why I feel so refreshed reading Lovecraft right now. Sci-fi (or the macabre) should be a challenge to read, but those other books really felt dumbed-down.


I will say that Dune stands alone. The first couple of sequels are worth reading, but not really necessary. The others not so much. It's not like WoT or something, where there really aren't endings to the individual books.

I can see that with Ancillary Justice, though I didn't find it nearly so distracting as some others have.


Yeah, I mean, I got used to it after a while. It's just that it was off-putting to begin with, and the book didn't overcome that deficit quickly enough for me to bother finishing the book. It felt vaguely reminiscent of Newspeak.

Thanks for the heads up on Dune. It's not going to be immediate on my list after Lovecraft, so I have some time to mull over how much of it I want to dive into. If I find it as you suggest, where Dune is really the only worthwhile of the lot, I'll move on to other things. I'm actually hankering for some sword & sorcery, so I'm looking into the early Forgotten Realms books on eBay. I haven't decided if I want to start at the very beginning of the fiction with Darkwalker on Moonshae or jump into the more widely known Icewind Dale Trilogy with The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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CatholicFan, Azure Bonds by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak is really good, and an excellent introduction to the FR. I've probably read it 20 or 30 times. It starts out with a small personal quest and escalates quickly. It has sequels, but they're not mandatory. I actually like the standalone sequel more than the rest of the trilogy.

The Crystal Shard is pretty good; I read it and its sequels a few times. I read Darkwalker on Moonshae back in the day, but not twice.


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thejeff wrote:
As for Dune, I can't really imagine not being grabbed by it, but I read it so long ago and it's so engrained in me now I can't really imagine reading for the first time. :)

Back in high school, I got 140 pages or so into Dune, got frustrated with the difficulty of the thing, and gave up...

...yet somehow, something about that book kept nagging me to try it again. Months later, I started Dune from the beginning again, and got through all 6 books. It's funny that a major part of the story is an addictive drug. The book itself seemed to me like an addictive drug.

And I know what you mean by "engrained". In some way I can't explain, Dune forever influenced the way I thought about science fiction.

The Exchange

Quote:
It's why I feel so refreshed reading Lovecraft right now. Sci-fi (or the macabre) should be a challenge to read, but those other books really felt dumbed-down.

The gender stuff in Ancillary Justice didn't feel dumbed down or on the nose to me - I believe some very interesting things could have been done with the concepts there - they mostly felt... shallow. Not well thought out. The culture in this book is not very convincing or interesting, they don't really reflect on modern society or human nature in any meaningful way. They're just... colonial Britain with a bizarre gender fixation. I felt like the gender politics were really more of a gimmick than anything else.

Other than that, the book also featured uninteresting characters and barely had any plot, so I too am struggling to understand the amount of acclaim it garnered.

If you'r looking for a seriously challenging book that takes a strong hard stare at power dynamics and the way humans alienate each other, C.J Cherryh's Downbelow Station is excellent - and deserves the classic status it enjoys.

The Exchange

Finished reading Whitefire Crossing (Shattered Sigil #1 by Courtney Shafer). I'll break my habit of hiding my thoughts of a book behind a spoiler tag because this book is not very well known and I'd like to promote it some.

So, The Whitefire Crossing. This book is somewhat unusual, and I have trouble trying to classify it as any subgenre of fantasy. It has a plot that is at once highly unusual and yet completely relatable and easy to follow. Set in a secondary world, and featuring quite a bit of magic and cunning politics, the story is told from the tight perspective of two characters (one in third person, one in first person - a somewhat odd choice I did not entirely understand the reasoning for). The story was written by a mountain climber, and does indeed feature a lengthy travel through a mountain range that enjoys more detail and credibility than most travel logs in fantasy.

There are no sword fights and little in the way of direct confrontation, but the mettle of our characters is tested by some fearsome challenges, to their body and to their will and to their mind. Intrigue is the name of the game, and had this novel been set in the real world I would have been tempted to call it an espionage story.

An easy writing style glides pleasantly through the book, bringing a varied cast of characters to life, and their growing relationships are fun to follow.

Overall I enjoyed how fresh yet familiar The Whitefire Crossing was, and I will certainly read on and finish the trilogy. The book is not some sort of instant classic, but it is a different take on fantasy that was well executed (impressively so for a first novel!) and that I'd recommend to anyone looking for a book they wouldn't feel like they've read a hundred times before with slight variations.

Next up: it is finally time for me to go back to The Expanse, one of my favorite series, with Babylon's Ashes! really excited for this.


Lord Snow wrote:
Quote:
It's why I feel so refreshed reading Lovecraft right now. Sci-fi (or the macabre) should be a challenge to read, but those other books really felt dumbed-down.

The gender stuff in Ancillary Justice didn't feel dumbed down or on the nose to me - I believe some very interesting things could have been done with the concepts there - they mostly felt... shallow. Not well thought out. The culture in this book is not very convincing or interesting, they don't really reflect on modern society or human nature in any meaningful way. They're just... colonial Britain with a bizarre gender fixation. I felt like the gender politics were really more of a gimmick than anything else.

Other than that, the book also featured uninteresting characters and barely had any plot, so I too am struggling to understand the amount of acclaim it garnered.

If you'r looking for a seriously challenging book that takes a strong hard stare at power dynamics and the way humans alienate each other, C.J Cherryh's Downbelow Station is excellent - and deserves the classic status it enjoys.

Oddly, those books, especially the later ones, reminded me a lot of Cherryh's stuff.

Not the gender stuff so much as the rest of the political plays and the later action sequences.


Readerbreeder wrote:
Tim Emrick wrote:
Readerbreeder wrote:
Is Tomb of Horrors still as lethal as it ever was? :)
It's the last and the highest-level adventure in the book, so I haven't read it yet. I just have Against the Giants left to read before I find out...
If you've never read a version of Tomb of Horrors before, you're in for a treat... :)

Oh, I have. I used to own the original before I sold off all my 1E stuff, and I have the v.3.5 update in PDF.

I have finished Tales from the Yawning Portal since my previous post, and as far as I can tell, it's still pretty darn lethal. It's just as well that it's the last adventure in the collection. ;)


CatholicFan wrote:

I'm reading some H.P. Lovecraft aloud to my other half. I picked up the three volumes from Penguin Classics, and so far I've been enjoying them. I've only read a small sample of stories previously, and this time I plan to work my way through all of the Cthulhu mythos by publication order. I only had one volume to start with, so I read some non-mythos tales, namely "The Tomb," "Beyond the Wall of Sleep," and "The White Ship." I received my other two volumes yesterday, so I read "The Nameless City." Next is "The Hound" and "The Festival."

What I like about Lovecraft is the strength of his vocabulary. It probably borders on verbosity, but it's refreshing to read some fiction that stretches my brain a bit.

I'm a long-time Lovecraft fan, so am always glad to hear someone else is enjoying his stuff. It's definitely not to everyone's taste.

I can't recall which book, but one of the old supplements for the Call of Cthulhu RPG had a solid page of "Lovecraftian words that every GM should know," to help you purple up your prose. ;)

Have you read any of Umberto Eco's historical fiction? He is one of the most challenging authors that I've enjoyed reading, because he expects his reader to keep up with his erudition. I've read The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum multiple times, and recently read Baudolino. (Though for some reason, I couldn't get through The Island of the Day Before.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tim Emrick wrote:
CatholicFan wrote:

I'm reading some H.P. Lovecraft aloud to my other half. I picked up the three volumes from Penguin Classics, and so far I've been enjoying them. I've only read a small sample of stories previously, and this time I plan to work my way through all of the Cthulhu mythos by publication order. I only had one volume to start with, so I read some non-mythos tales, namely "The Tomb," "Beyond the Wall of Sleep," and "The White Ship." I received my other two volumes yesterday, so I read "The Nameless City." Next is "The Hound" and "The Festival."

What I like about Lovecraft is the strength of his vocabulary. It probably borders on verbosity, but it's refreshing to read some fiction that stretches my brain a bit.

I'm a long-time Lovecraft fan, so am always glad to hear someone else is enjoying his stuff. It's definitely not to everyone's taste.

I can't recall which book, but one of the old supplements for the Call of Cthulhu RPG had a solid page of "Lovecraftian words that every GM should know," to help you purple up your prose. ;)

It was Clark Ashton Smith, IIRC, who read a dictionary (seriously, cover to cover) as a child, and didn't hesitate to use what he had learned. If you're really interested in challenging vocabulary, though, check out Gene Wolfe's New Sun series. He didn't make up any words for it, but the archaic English words he used made for a very interesting feel to the books.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Some Gene Wolf stuff, like Book of the New Sun, uses lots of big and exotic words.


SmiloDan wrote:
Some Gene Wolf stuff, like Book of the New Sun, uses lots of big and exotic words.

Looks like I'll have to check out Book of the New Sun; I've been on the edge of picking it up several times over the years, and I've always been a sucker for a writer that sends me running to the dictionary, which is rare. The last one to do so was Stephen R. Donaldson.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Eh. I give BotNS a C+/B-. I wasn't very fond of any of the characters. At least the liquid-core sword was kind of neat.

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