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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    I see you're giving the books you've read ratings, heh. That's cool. Could always use some more book recommendations.

    That Fallen book intrigued me, because there's another YA series out there, also called Fallen, also dealing with fallen angels, written by some guy called Thomas Sniegoski. It was made into a miniseries at one point. Bryan Cranston played Lucifer. Heh.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    So just looking at Wikipedia... where do I start? There are so many books... I guess when looking at large series, there's always the Narnia or Discworld Dilemma (hey that rolls off the tongue rather nicely!). Would it make more sense to read chronologically, or in order of publication?
    I'd say go in order of publication; you'll spoil a lot less for yourself that way.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Quote Originally Posted by Feytalist View Post
    I see you're giving the books you've read ratings, heh. That's cool. Could always use some more book recommendations.

    That Fallen book intrigued me, because there's another YA series out there, also called Fallen, also dealing with fallen angels, written by some guy called Thomas Sniegoski. It was made into a miniseries at one point. Bryan Cranston played Lucifer. Heh.
    Indeed I have given them ratings. I realized I couldn't review every single book out there, so I'll just give them ratings for now, and hopefully I'll be able to catch up on the reviews at some point. Probably not though. I'm a huge procrastinator.

    As for Fallen, it's quite good, though part of that is just me being rather into YA fiction at this point. I get a lot of weird stares sometimes, but hey, I'm reading and not mindlessly shooting at stuff on a screen, so I think my parents aren't really going to push it too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
    I'd say go in order of publication; you'll spoil a lot less for yourself that way.
    Alrighty, I'll go track those books down.




    I'm actually on my way to the library now, but I'll have a more substantial post when I get back, and hopefully I'll have one or two reviews as well.


    Need to Add... (note to self)
    - Stones of Power
    - Philip Marlowe
    - Vampire Earth
    - Shannara Series




    1


    Edit: Aaand, ten new books are in. Eleven books to read this week, as I didn't get to The Guns of August in time (ended up watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy instead).

    I ended up crossing Under the Dome off the list (sorry Trisc!) and marked it incomplete. I dunno, I started it, and just didn't really like it. Maybe it's just me, and I've had a similar problem with Stephen King in the past. His writing just... doesn't hook me. Some books I kept reading, but mostly because I liked the subject. This one, it had an interesting premise, but he just kept going on and on.

    Volatar, I finished the first Mistborn book. The mechanics are pretty awesome. The story was pretty good too (not riveting, so not a 4 or a 5), but I feel like I would have liked it more in a serialized format, similar to how Dickens published his books.

    For everyone else, I've got a review of Mistborn and Fallen in the wings. I'm typing up a review of Across the Universe right now, and then I'll probably post those here after I'm done.
    Last edited by Neftren; 2012-06-02 at 02:15 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    I would suggest The Death and Life of Great American Cities if you want a critique of cities. Also looking at the world sideways has some interesting stuff about design. In terms of novels i dunno man Maus might be alright.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    (I'm Irazel, by the way)

    Here we go,

    The Warded Man and its sequel by Peter V Brett
    Strange future world filled with demons and little hope, it's pretty good

    Monster Blood Tattoo and its sequels by D. M. Cornish
    (The first book is actually called Foundling)
    It's targeted for a slightly younger audience I think, but it's still a very interesting world.

    The Farsala Triology by Hilari Bell.
    The first book is Fall of a Kingdom.
    I read it a long time ago and remember enjoying it.

    That's all I've got for you right now, I'll be back with more as soon as my
    memory starts working again.

    edit:

    another series
    The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K LeGuin
    Very well written, awesome.

    edit (version 2):

    The Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony
    really cool blend of magic and science in a mostly modern world, lots of interesting thoughts on nature and religion. I only read the first 5 but they were very good.

    Here, There be Dragons by James A Owen
    It's an okay book, nothing amazing, but the last chapter is awesome. Totally worth the read. I haven't read the other books of the series, they might be good?

    Garth Nix.
    His two big series, Keys to the Kingdom, and The Seventh Tower are both great. They are for a younger audience but are still pretty enjoyable.
    Last edited by SidCoolios; 2012-06-02 at 03:29 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Hmm, let's see:

    Anything from The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond Feist; it's a collection of trilogies and such set in the same universe with overarching characters. Starts with Magician, though you could start at any of the sub series.

    The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens, starts with Wit'ch Fire; has a decent female main character and has a lot of characters with different motivations.

    Stuff by Markus Heitz is pretty good too; but I don't think most of his books have been translated into English...

    Oooh, ooh, definitely read the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik; it's set during the Napoleonic Wars; but with dragons. Dragons with human crews serve as air forces and there's a lot of thought put into it. And there's quite a bit of ethics with the abolishment of slavery involved and parallels to the dragons who are sapient and capable of speech. I recommend it quite highly.
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    It's nonfiction and a bit academic, but I'd like to recommend The Language Wars by Henry Hitchings.

    How can you pass up a book on the history of the arguing over the English language when it contains chapters with names like "The comma flaps its wings," "Unholy ****," "Technology says 'whatever,'" and "Of fish-knives and fist-****s"? That, and it's a cracking good read.
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    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Hey sugarbaby.

    Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson. Seriously so damn good. Post-cyberpunk with a hacker/pizza delivery boy/samurai name Hiro Protagonist and a courier skateboarding thrasher chick saving the world's hackers. Involves linguistics, mythology, cults, cyberspace and all sorts of other cool stuff in a well realized but playful cyberpunk future. Super fun stuff.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    The Dracula Tape, by Saberhagen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Star Wars canon is one of those things where people have started to realize that the guys in charge are so far off their rockers that it's probably for the best to ignore them.
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    OH GOD THEY'RE COMING! RUN! RUN, TURKISHPROVERB, RUN!

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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Quote Originally Posted by Folytopo View Post
    I would suggest The Death and Life of Great American Cities if you want a critique of cities. Also looking at the world sideways has some interesting stuff about design. In terms of novels i dunno man Maus might be alright.
    Err, is this the book you're referring to, about looking at the world sideways?

    I've read both Maus books.

    Quote Originally Posted by SidCoolios View Post
    (I'm Irazel, by the way)

    Here we go,

    The Warded Man and its sequel by Peter V Brett
    Strange future world filled with demons and little hope, it's pretty good

    Monster Blood Tattoo and its sequels by D. M. Cornish
    (The first book is actually called Foundling)
    It's targeted for a slightly younger audience I think, but it's still a very interesting world.

    The Farsala Triology by Hilari Bell.
    The first book is Fall of a Kingdom.
    I read it a long time ago and remember enjoying it.
    I've added these. I really liked A Matter of Profit, so I'm looking forward to the Farsala books.

    The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K LeGuin
    Very well written, awesome.
    I've read the series already. My opinions are mixed. Not bad, but not out of the park either.

    The Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony
    really cool blend of magic and science in a mostly modern world, lots of interesting thoughts on nature and religion. I only read the first 5 but they were very good.

    Here, There be Dragons by James A Owen
    It's an okay book, nothing amazing, but the last chapter is awesome. Totally worth the read. I haven't read the other books of the series, they might be good?
    I've added the Incarnations book. Why do I get the feeling I've read "Here There Be Dragons"? Well, I guess it doesn't hurt to try and get the book and return it if I've read it before.

    Garth Nix.
    His two big series, Keys to the Kingdom, and The Seventh Tower are both great. They are for a younger audience but are still pretty enjoyable.
    I've read both series. Wait, scratch that. I've read Keys to the Kingdom. Time to go look at the Seventh Tower then!

    Quote Originally Posted by Astrella View Post
    Hmm, let's see:

    Anything from The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond Feist; it's a collection of trilogies and such set in the same universe with overarching characters. Starts with Magician, though you could start at any of the sub series.
    Is this the Magician book, or ...?

    The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens, starts with Wit'ch Fire; has a decent female main character and has a lot of characters with different motivations.

    Stuff by Markus Heitz is pretty good too; but I don't think most of his books have been translated into English...

    Oooh, ooh, definitely read the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik; it's set during the Napoleonic Wars; but with dragons. Dragons with human crews serve as air forces and there's a lot of thought put into it. And there's quite a bit of ethics with the abolishment of slavery involved and parallels to the dragons who are sapient and capable of speech. I recommend it quite highly.
    I've added Wit'ch Fire, and Temeraire to the list. Dragons and Napoleon somehow sounds awesome. I couldn't find anything by Markus Heitz in the local library system. I've sent a note to the university library though.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    It's nonfiction and a bit academic, but I'd like to recommend The Language Wars by Henry Hitchings.

    How can you pass up a book on the history of the arguing over the English language when it contains chapters with names like "The comma flaps its wings," "Unholy ****," "Technology says 'whatever,'" and "Of fish-knives and fist-****s"? That, and it's a cracking good read.
    So is this some sort of treatise on the proper usage of the English language?

    Quote Originally Posted by Faulty View Post
    Hey sugarbaby.

    Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson. Seriously so damn good. Post-cyberpunk with a hacker/pizza delivery boy/samurai name Hiro Protagonist and a courier skateboarding thrasher chick saving the world's hackers. Involves linguistics, mythology, cults, cyberspace and all sorts of other cool stuff in a well realized but playful cyberpunk future. Super fun stuff.
    Sounds awesome. Added to the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by turkishproverb View Post
    The Dracula Tape, by Saberhagen.
    Hmm, you'll have to convince me on this one. I'm not super into vampire stories to be honest. My past experience has found them to be either incredibly gruesome, or incredibly soppy.








    1


    On another note, I've finished Torment. It was a rather disappointing sequel, but that's sort of the way the second of anything in a series turns out I think. I also finished Pirate Latitudes. Was this a real story or something? It seemed pretty interesting, though the pacing felt a bit off. It wasn't as gripping as Prey was, but then again, altogether different type of book methinks.

    I've also finished reviewing the first three books I finished (Fallen, Across the Universe, uhhh, oh yes, Mistborn). I'm not sure whether I want to post these here. Would you guys be interested in them, or...? I mean, I figure many of you have already read the books (since you're suggesting them to me!). Anyways, let me know.

    I'm a bit torn on which book in the stack to read next. I've been reading sequels of series for now, and picking shorter books to try and sneak in during car rides and such. It's the start of a new work week though, so I'm a bit torn on what book to start next. So, maybe you guys could vote on which book I should read next?



    To Recap:
    1) Do you want to see my reviews?
    2) Vote on the next book I should read!

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Yes, you should absolutely post your reviews.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    So is this some sort of treatise on the proper usage of the English language?
    Not a treatise on the proper usage of the English language. More of a history of the arguing about the correct usage of the English language and how it's kind of screwed up the way people think about their use of language (as well as the many odd and funny things that have come about as a result of such arguing).
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
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  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman and while we're at it - Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - set in the same verse as America's Gods, but not really a part of the series, they can be read separately without knowledge of the other. Also, from Gaiman Coraline, Stardust and The Graveyard Book. Gaiman is just Gaiman, his style, plots and characters and great and you can easily fall in love with his works.

    The Forgotten Beasts Of Eld by Patricia A. Mckillip and her Riddlemaster of Hed series, very romantic (but not in a "love story" sense, but rather romantic, idealistic spirit) and character driven books.

    The Princess Bride by William Goldman, only fantasy in bibliography of bestseller writer and more than just adventure story.

    Fool by Christopher Moore, all Moore's books are heavily satirical and humorus and sometimes just bizarre, they are also set in one world and contains a lot of cameos, Fool is probably the most separated from them all and therefore the easiest to read.

    Witch World by Andre Norton, pretty nice serious fantasy, at least first book, through it was some time since I read it (I recently got my hands on the next two, through).

    A Spell For Chameleon by Piers Anthony, very funny book and I head entire series is pretty good, at least to some point.

    Ender's Game and Seventh Son by orson Scott Card, both starts of great series.

    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, humoristic and well-written sf series with very likeable protagonists.

    The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, nice SF series with dragons (you read that right)

    Lord Valentine's Castle - actually a fantasy in SF scenery, through following books are much more in closer to SF in tone.

    Pretty much anything by Stanisław Lem one of the greatest, through very hard on language sometimes, SF writers.


    Also:
    1) Post your reviews
    2) Vote for Black Company.
    Last edited by Man on Fire; 2012-06-03 at 08:38 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Has someone mentioned Neuromancer? If you like cyberpunk you might as well start at the progenitor. Written by William Gibson. The rest of the Sprawl series is equally good.

    Also, hell yes post reviews.
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  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    Is this the Magician book, or ...?
    Yes it is; I forgot that my book is Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master put together.
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  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Quote Originally Posted by Feytalist View Post
    Has someone mentioned Neuromancer? If you like cyberpunk you might as well start at the progenitor. Written by William Gibson. The rest of the Sprawl series is equally good.

    Also, hell yes post reviews.
    ...You think THAT is the progenetor of cyberpunk? That 1980's book?

    The Naked Lunchi s a predecessor, as is the film Metropolis (Technology helps cause the problems, dark urban environment with large mega-corporations oppressing workers). The 70's had a few cyberpunks, even if the name hadn't been coined.

    Do androids dream of electric sheep is from 1968!

    ...Still, Neuromancer is an important book. And more than that, it's a good one.
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    Star Wars canon is one of those things where people have started to realize that the guys in charge are so far off their rockers that it's probably for the best to ignore them.
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  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    I'd like to read the reviews too.

    Quote Originally Posted by turkishproverb View Post
    ...You think THAT is the progenetor of cyberpunk? That 1980's book?

    The Naked Lunchi s a predecessor, as is the film Metropolis (Technology helps cause the problems, dark urban environment with large mega-corporations oppressing workers). The 70's had a few cyberpunks, even if the name hadn't been coined.

    Do androids dream of electric sheep is from 1968!

    ...Still, Neuromancer is an important book. And more than that, it's a good one.
    I'd say that while all of the component parts existed before Neuromancer, cyberpunk as a very specific aesthetic and attitude that could be parodied and copied didn't.

    The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

    I always liked that line, and it makes me wonder if the fact that most digital TVs turn a mellow blue when not receiving any signal now was on purpose or just a coincidence.
    ... I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams.

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    Err, is [URL=http://www.amazon.com

    [B]To Recap:[/B]
    1) Do you want to see my reviews?
    Naturally. One always does like to see how his recommendations were received, after all.

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Whew, just finished Delirium. Very very good book. Reminds me of a cross between Brave New World, Equilibrium (the film), 1984, and The Island (the film).

    I'm a little wiped out at the moment, so I'll hold off until tomorrow to respond to everybody's posts. I've been trying to finish up my website in the meantime.

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    The Darkness that Comes Before, by R. scott Bakker, and its sequels, are my favorite book series.
    However, they're very divisive. They generally have only one character who is anything approaching likeable, and everyone else is a terrible terrible terrible person. If you can stand the total soul-numbing darkness and nihilism of the series, I recommend it. Otherwise, I'd try something more cheerful, like Elie Wiesel.
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  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    So many books...

    Everybody should've read: Shogun by James Clavell, The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, The Illiad by Homer, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, 2001: A Space Odyssey...the sequels, any inclusive Edgar Allen Poe collection...

    but there are just so many books for so many different reasons...

    I like goofy stuff too like: Whales on Stilts by MT Anderson (srsly over-the-top ridiculous humor abounds here)

    Historical stuff like: The Generalship of Alexander the Great by JFC Fuller, Ghengis Khan: His Life and Legacy by Paul Ratchnevsky

    Sci-fi/Cultural awareness/political books like: 1984 by George Orwell. (scary stuff if you look at it) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Animal Farm also by Ray Bradbury

    Horror/sci-fi/pop - basically everything ever written by Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. (I was one of the people that loved Neil Gaiman's Stardust.)
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  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnRedBeard View Post
    Sci-fi/Cultural awareness/political books like: 1984 by George Orwell. (scary stuff if you look at it) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Animal Farm also by Ray Bradbury
    No it is not. But do read some Bradbury
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Star Wars canon is one of those things where people have started to realize that the guys in charge are so far off their rockers that it's probably for the best to ignore them.
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    OH GOD THEY'RE COMING! RUN! RUN, TURKISHPROVERB, RUN!

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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by turkishproverb View Post
    No it is not. But do read some Bradbury
    Good catch...should be also by Orwell...
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    I am fan of C.J. Cherryh. She writes a good deal of science fiction, though most of it is in series I believe. She has a few standalone books you may want to investigate though, and some of the series are more just "all these books are in the same universe".

    I personally like by her (while trying to avoid spoilers):

    Faded Sun Trilogy: A dieing race seeking caught in the middle of humanity and another alien species.

    Foreigner Series: Last I looked up to like 11 books, focuses on a human colony set up in unknown space, and their interactions with a local sentient species. This one is a continuous story rather than the "same universe" thing I mentioned above, so don't just start in the middle.
    Happy Trixie Appreciation Day!



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  25. - Top - End - #55
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Okay! Time to play catch up. A totally random, interesting tidbit... both books earning perfect fives so far were written by Laurens, have strong female protagonists in their teens, and seem to deal with rejection of the status quo... coincidence?! I think, errr... Anyways, I'm not sure what that says about me so far.

    Anyways, I've caught up on all my reviews. You can see them all below. As a warning, some of them contain spoilers, so reader beware. Some of you have probably noticed I've been giving each book a rating, so you can check up on those on the main list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    As a side note, it would be of immense help if you guys preformatted your suggestions in the following format, so I can just plug it into the table.

    [URL="http://www.link-to-amazon.com"]Book Title[/URL]|Author
    Fallen
    Spoiler
    Show
    I’m going to start by saying that I this book was oddly riveting, and that I moved the sequel to the top of the reading list as a result. I mean, seriously, at first glance, it could probably be the next “soppy girl meets hot young vampire” novel (yes, that novel, that everyone likes to lampoon or ignore), only replace all the vampires and werewolves with celestial beings of good and evil. I don’t think it’s really a spoiler at this point. You’ll probably guess it by the first two or three chapters… yeah, this book centers on a fight between angels, and … well, not demons, more angels, of the fallen sort, to be precise.

    Before I continue on though, what drew me to this book wasn’t even the story. As others have pointed out to me, artwork often makes a book great. This is no exception. While there is no artwork inside the book, what drew me to this book, was the cover. A girl in a beautiful black dress, weeping over something, long black hair flowing behind her … is it a photograph? Despite never seeing her face, it really makes you wonder. Why is she crying? Sadness? Is it even a photograph? It seems too real to not be, but how on earth do you manage to convey that much emotion in something staged?

    Back to the book though… I was surprised I finished it so quickly. Every single character was incredibly believable, or at least presented in a light that let the reader fill in the rest. Though, for what it’s worth, believable is rather subjective. Anyways, everything in the book built towards an inescapable feeling that something big, something ominous was going to happen. Two boys, vying for the hand of the main character… I knew just enough to keep me reading, but that was it. I wasn’t even sure which one I liked more (unlike my thoughts on another story with a girl and two boys, and a drunk mentor, all from a coal mine). All sorts of signs were presented along the way, but in such a crafty way that I ended up missing most of them until the very end, where the revelation hits, and you just go “whoah” and “did I really just read that?”

    Sometimes, the hallmark of a good book is that it leaves you thinking but what about a phenomenal book? I’m already thinking before I even finish the first page. This book had me thinking before I even read the title, and maybe once, just once, I won’t be disappointed by a narrative sequel…
    Across the Universe
    Spoiler
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    This book started off with a rather interesting premise. What happens when you go into stasis for a few centuries, and wake up early? Then again, it doesn’t really matter how good your premise is, if you don’t deliver on it. There was certainly potential here. Okay, okay, but onto the book then.

    There’s a relatively small cast of characters, so you would think that the characters would be super developed, but this really isn’t the case. I learned a lot (or alternately, a little) about basically one person: Eldest. He’s basically your stereotypical despot, hiding everything behind a wall of justifications, and sure, leaders have to make certain choices to guarantee the survival of his crew, but after a certain point, it’s not really his crew anymore. They’re more like sheep, after you realize what he does to them. For all his glorious speeches and words, maybe he has designed the perfect system, but in doing so, becomes a leader in the mold of all the most hated men in the history of the world. It’s clear that he’s read about all the great leaders of the world (e.g. Abraham Lincoln, etc.) since he goes back and rewrites history. Why though? It’s not as if anyone is going to be reading the history. At his core, the actions of Eldest don’t always seem to be rational, but aren’t exactly those of a raving lunatic or madman either. He just feels like a glorified puppet for the author to convey some sort of idea across.

    But what about Elder, you might ask? Such an indecisive fellow… I mean, he may as well not have been there. No, I’m serious. His impact on most of the book was minimal to the story. His friend Harley did more than him. I don’t know… maybe I’ve rambled on enough about this book. I liked the premise enough, but it just doesn’t deliver on it. There’s so much more I wanted to know, but it just ended up with the main characters running around on a tiny tin can. This might have made for a good film, but until I see said film, I think I’ll just leave it at this.
    Mistborn: The Final Empire
    Spoiler
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    Allomancy is what the Force should have been. No, not some mystical force that surrounds us, binds us, and lets mystical people in brown robes wave their hands to make feeble-minded people do things. No, Allomancy has rules, a rather interesting set of rules at that. The way everything is centered around metals, broken down into their composite groups, and then the duality between internal and external effects, and the requisite alloys. Convincing a person to do something is more than just an idle wave of the hand. The way a person needs to actually convince another through manipulation of their emotions. There’s just this focus on detail that makes it seem very believable, as if such people could really exist (Allomancers, that is). Well, okay, some stuff is a bit crazier than others, but iron and steel could be realized in the form of a bunch of electromagnets strapped to your hands and feet. I am so over the Force at this point. Allomancy is awesome. Enough on the system that powers the world though… how about the book?

    Well, the book itself was decent. I think I saw a lot of myself in Vin. The tendency to overthink everything… and there was a section that felt moderately inspiring. It made me think about how teams are formed through trust, not necessarily just association. Over the course of the book though, there were so many chapters and sections that just made the book feel really forced near the end. After a certain point, it was hard to tell who was really the main character here, well, until the very end … dancing around some spoilers for the moment. I’m starting to think this book may have been better if it was presented in serialized fashion, with chapters every week. There was so much time spent developing a few characters, but there were many others I wanted to know more about. A serialized fashion would have presented the opportunity to go more in depth about the history of each character in the crew.

    Maybe that’s why this is a series. Hopefully future books will reveal more about each character. The last few chapters introduced a rather devilishly interesting creature as well. What exactly are the Kandra? Perhaps more importantly, why is this world covered in ash exactly, and what’s with all the mist? It seems as if the mist was hardly covered at all in the book, beyond the impression that everyone seems to be afraid of it for little reason at all…
    Torment
    Spoiler
    Show
    Okay, so, I’ll just start by saying I was rather disappointed by this book (which I was hoping would finally break the cycle of poor narrative sequels). Anyways, on to reviewing the novel…

    While Luce was such a strong character in the first book, asking all the questions, trying to learn more about the greater conflict at hand, and so on, she seems to have devolved into the level of a petulant child in the second. I mean, sure you’re locked into a millennia old cycle of reincarnation with your angelic boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean you suddenly have license to ignore everything he’s telling you to do. I mean, seriously, you’re put at a school for your own protection, by a person you trust, and then told to stay put. So what does Luce do? The exact opposite. Smart? Mmmm, no.

    To be fair, if I were Luce, I’d probably do a similar thing. Well, maybe not. I’d at least try to figure out what the entire story is. I mean, you’ve got an Angel and a Demon for your faculty. She doesn’t really go talk to them, except when required (i.e. for detention, and that’s basically it), despite the fact that they’ve been around since the destruction of two ancient cities and the creation of a pillar of salt (yes, those two cities). They might put some spin on the story, but then again, doesn’t everyone? In any case, it’s good that Luce asks all these questions and tries to find out more, but she’s hardly doing it in a rational way. I’ll just leave my complaints about her at that. Err, wait, hang on, one more thing…

    Luce seems to have some crazy problem with staying true to her … true love? I mean, kissing another guy on the rooftops after your angelic boyfriend shows up practically every other night? Okay, part of this is Daniel’s fault, and another part can be attributed to the “locked into cycle of reincarnation” bit, but really? This seriously makes me question her character. Or at least attribute it to her hormones for now.

    As for the plot? It felt pretty typical I suppose. Continuation of the previous story. Sort of the necessary glue between the first and third books in a trilogy (though I don’t think this is going to be a trilogy). I’m a little worried, but not enough to wholly discourage me from reading the rest of the series.
    Pirate Latitudes
    Spoiler
    Show
    This was a rather interesting look at naval expeditions during the 17th century. The way it was written made it seem as if it were based upon a true story. Basically, the novel starts out with a brief description of the distinction between piracy and privateering, and how the governor of Port Royal is funding various privateers to protect British assets in the Caribbean, via the harassment of Spanish colonies and convoys.

    This book had a remarkable flair for describing in detail the motivations of everyone encountered, through a variety of methods. For instance, the woman accused of witchcraft, through her actions, proves to be a rather crafty individual, focused on moving up the societal ladder of The New World. Or for instance, the burning hatred that many of the crew, recruited for the secret journey (avoiding spoilers for the moment), feel towards this one Spaniard. Okay spoiler mostly blown, but oh well.

    Another fascinating portion of the novel focused around all the various gadgets and inventions necessary to accomplish the impossible. It felt a bit like an olden-days spy novel, with an old, wizened man, inventing the hand grenade, time-delayed fuses, folding grappling hooks, and so on. It was especially amusing with the scenes involving rats. Rats are typically a scourge on ships, so to bring cages and cages of rats along … and then to be discovered en route!

    I suppose the last thing I enjoyed about this was the vivid description of naval combat, and the choices and actions performed by every member of the crew, not just the captain. For instance, there’s a scene where the helmsman must place his trust in the spotter to successfully navigate through a reef. Or all the various naval combat scenes. Actually come to think of it, a lot of this book seems to revolve around trust. There doesn’t seem to be any true motivation for anyone to trust anyone else. I mean, they’re pirates… err, privateers after all. There’s a bit of a secret here too, so I won’t spoil anything.

    Anyways, to wrap it up, there were one or two rather unbelievable scenes, which probably could have been cut from the novel altogether. As a whole though, this was a fun learning experience about 17th century life, and a bit of a discussion on various command and decision making processes, but that’s just me, and my interests. Worth a read if you haven’t got anything else, but nowhere near as gripping as some other books on the list.
    The Guns of August
    Spoiler
    Show
    Diverging from the Fantasy and SciFi themes for the moment, The Guns of August is one of those books everyone should probably read, or at the very least, should appear or be referenced in a War Literature course. I mean, yeah we all know that World War I was kicked off by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, right? Right…? Okay okay, but history lesson aside, there’s a surprisingly large amount of information that ties into the start of World War I, which is all covered.

    So let’s rewind a bit. The conditions for continental-scale war had been broiling for decades. Between Napoleon’s mucking about, the Crimean and Boer wars, a massive arms race between nations. A bit of this is covered in the latest Sherlock Holmes movie actually, if you fancy a dramatization. Anyways, you’ve got all these nations with big sticks and even bigger egos. What does it take to kick all of this off? Not Franz Ferdinand dying. The Guns of August reveals all the various assumptions and motivations behind the leaders of each of the great powers.

    For instance, the alliance between Britain and France. You’ve got these two nations which have been alternately invading each other for centuries, and now they’re all playing nice together. I mean, this kind of thing doesn’t exactly happen overnight, or at least, it shouldn’t. A few royal visits seemed to patch things up rather quickly though.

    Or consider the Belgians… poor Belgium. It seems as if whenever somebody wants to fight a war, they go through Belgium. I mean, clearly not the Swiss, because while both are flying the flag of “neutrality,” the Belgians don’t have a wall of mountains to hide behind. Anyways, what I found most interesting was the idea that for any military plan to succeed, the neutrality of Belgium must be violated. You’d think that the Germans could also build a set of fortifications along the French-German border and just deadlock things. That’s what it ended up doing on that front for most of the war anyways. Invading Belgium just made a whole bunch of people angry. Anyways, this was a rather fascinating section of the book.

    There’s so much that goes into wars. I mean, from a logistical standpoint. This was a rather enlightening experience. A good lesson on how things ought not to go down, rather than play toy soldiers … with real soldiers.
    The Rogue Crew
    Spoiler
    Show
    I’ve always loved the Redwall series. I’m not sure why. I mean, it’s the same story every book. Some evil villain (typically a rat, stoat, weasel, fox, toad, snake, or lizard) is threatening some faction living in Mossflower (typically the shrews, hares, or Redwall). Few books buck the trend, and those are probably my favorite. In any case, this book was rather disappointing really. It seems to have lost the magic. Perhaps after reading so many other good books, this one is so overshadowed by the others? Well, perhaps some thoughts on the book will help to put some things into perspective (for myself that is, I don’t know about you).

    Okay, so, this book starts off with a dream about a ship sailing across the plains to attack the Abbey. Then it jumps to the northern coast, where said ship is nearly sunk by the otters, and so on. Inevitably, the captain recovers with horrible injuries, and has some sort of vendetta against them. He goes back, then runs away when he sees they’re about to massacre him again, so he leaves and goes to attack Redwall. Err, okay? To be fair, the captain is probably one of the more rational actors in this book. For a villain, he’s rather admirable, even if he is rather vicious and excessively cruel (but hey, according to one Niccolo Machiavelli, that’s quite alright). Anyways, off to Redwall.

    Meanwhile, the scene jumps to the hares, where they go looking for these otters, to form a navy to stop these corsairs from raiding the coast and leaving. Which makes me wonder… there are all these islands and stuff conveniently out of reach? Why is it that only the bad guys have ships anyways? Back to the story I guess. I should just stop narrating at this point. I’m doing a terrible job.

    So, why is this so disappointing? I can probably attribute this to being predictable. The language is the same across nearly every book, with a variety of songs, poems, dialect, descriptions of the countryside. I think maybe it’s time to retire the Redwall series. All good things must end, and unlike some other exceptionally long series (for instance, one involving a world on a large disc…), there’s not really enough variety in settings and personality to write new segments of history. Oh, the last thing? It doesn’t really tie well into any of the other books… Even die-hard fans might come away a little disappointed from this one. That, or I’ve just outgrown Redwall as a series. I’m sorely hoping this isn’t the case though…
    Delirium
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    Absolutely stunning … probably one way of describing this book. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this book. The cover was a pretty shade of sky blue, but beyond that, not much else. What I found was a brilliant interpretation of how society can go so wrong, in the name of preserving order. If you’ve seen the movie Equilibrium (yes, the one with the techno-martial-arts monks, and Batman), it kind of goes down that road, though a bit more surgical in approach (in both a physical and a philosophical sense). There’s also a bit of a similarity with Brave New World, in that the future of every person is basically determined ahead of time. Okay, moving out of the comparisons, and onto why this book is worth your while…

    You’ve basically got two characters. Lena, our protagonist, and Miss Goody-Two-Shoes. Basically she’s spent her entire life trying to integrate into society after a rather scandalous event with her mother. There’s also Lena’s best friend, Hana, who is a bit like your stereotypical teen, pushing the envelope on everything, doing things because it fights authority, and so on. And then… everything reverses. It’s not Hana doing the craziest things… it’s Lena.

    The entire book portrays an epic struggle within Lena. Her entire life, she’s spent “reprogramming” herself to fit into society, and yet she finds herself challenged by the meaning of love, as presented by her mother… as something that cannot be taken away. Everything got off to a slow start, but then started accelerating towards an inevitable conclusion. I was on the fence for most of the second half of this book as to the outcome. I was literally unable to put the book down; I had to find out the ending, be it heart-wrenching, or heart-warming. I’ll just say that it was heart-pounding at the very least.

    Ending on a cliffhanger, I thought that was the end. So, it was to my surprise that I discovered this is actually the first book in a series! Book 1.5 looks to be about Hana, so that’s probably not a sequel in the traditional sense. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series, not only to find out what happens, but just because the perspectives of each side are laid out so masterfully, with arguments for and against each faction’s beliefs. Normally, I’m disappointed by book-to-movie adaptations, but this? I think this one would stand a decent chance, or at the very least, stand on equal footing with The Outsiders.

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    *Reviews*
    The only one of these I've read is Mistborn, so I'll comment on that. And the only comment I have is "Please, PLEASE tell me you're going to read the next two?" They, uh, may answer a couple of your questions.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    Not a treatise on the proper usage of the English language. More of a history of the arguing about the correct usage of the English language and how it's kind of screwed up the way people think about their use of language (as well as the many odd and funny things that have come about as a result of such arguing).
    Hah! Okay, sounds fun! Fixed the typo on the reading list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Man on Fire View Post
    Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman and while we're at it - Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - set in the same verse as America's Gods, but not really a part of the series, they can be read separately without knowledge of the other. Also, from Gaiman Coraline, Stardust and The Graveyard Book. Gaiman is just Gaiman, his style, plots and characters and great and you can easily fall in love with his works.

    The Forgotten Beasts Of Eld by Patricia A. Mckillip and her Riddlemaster of Hed series, very romantic (but not in a "love story" sense, but rather romantic, idealistic spirit) and character driven books.

    The Princess Bride by William Goldman, only fantasy in bibliography of bestseller writer and more than just adventure story.

    Fool by Christopher Moore, all Moore's books are heavily satirical and humorus and sometimes just bizarre, they are also set in one world and contains a lot of cameos, Fool is probably the most separated from them all and therefore the easiest to read.

    Witch World by Andre Norton, pretty nice serious fantasy, at least first book, through it was some time since I read it (I recently got my hands on the next two, through).

    A Spell For Chameleon by Piers Anthony, very funny book and I head entire series is pretty good, at least to some point.

    Ender's Game and Seventh Son by orson Scott Card, both starts of great series.

    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, humoristic and well-written sf series with very likeable protagonists.

    The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, nice SF series with dragons (you read that right)

    Lord Valentine's Castle - actually a fantasy in SF scenery, through following books are much more in closer to SF in tone.

    Pretty much anything by Stanisław Lem one of the greatest, through very hard on language sometimes, SF writers.


    Also:
    1) Post your reviews
    2) Vote for Black Company.
    In reverse order... You'll notice that The Black Company is listed as unavailable, meaning neither my local library, nor university library, have the book. So, that one will have to wait until I either *acquire* an eBook version, my local library finally gets around to buying half the books on my wishlist, or somebody magically sends me a hardcopy. In the meantime, vote for something that I've actually got on hand.

    I read Good Omens a while back. I got it back before I knew who Neil Gaiman was. I actually picked it up thinking it was another Discworld novel actually, so I was a bit surprised when it wasn't. Anyways, I'll go and add Coraline, Stardust, and Anansi Boys to the list.

    I'm interested in learning a bit more about the McKillip books. I've tentatively added them to the list for now though.

    Fool ... this looks like a fun book! I'll try to track down a copy.

    Witch World doesn't seem to even be available on Amazon... Eek! $137 for a new copy. Oh wait, $20 for a used copy. That's a bit better. Let's see if my library has this... I'll go ahead and add it to the list for now.

    Looks like I've got another Piers Anthony book on the list. Chameleon should prove to be interesting at least, if an author's made it onto the list twice now.

    I've read Ender's Game (nearly the entire series). Actually to be honest, I found most of the sequels to be rather boring. Ender's Game was the only book I truly enjoyed. Oh, and I guess I liked the books about Bean, but that was it. As for Seventh Son, I'm not really sure I want to read this. Convince me, beyond the "written by a good author" argument...?

    I've got the complete, unabridged (with typographical errors!) version of the Guide. The specially bound version, with the black binding, cloth bookmark, and so on. One of my favorite books.

    Dragons, dragons are cool. I'll give this one a shot.

    For the Stanisław Lem books... any particular one I should start with? Ideally I'd read them all, but I want to have room for other books this summer as well, so one to three suggestions perhaps?


    Quote Originally Posted by Feytalist View Post
    Has someone mentioned Neuromancer? If you like cyberpunk you might as well start at the progenitor. Written by William Gibson. The rest of the Sprawl series is equally good.

    Also, hell yes post reviews.
    Hmm, I don't believe anyone's mentioned Neuromancer, so I'll go put that on the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astrella View Post
    Yes it is; I forgot that my book is Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master put together.
    Okey, I've added Magician: Apprentice to the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by pita View Post
    The Darkness that Comes Before, by R. scott Bakker, and its sequels, are my favorite book series.
    However, they're very divisive. They generally have only one character who is anything approaching likeable, and everyone else is a terrible terrible terrible person. If you can stand the total soul-numbing darkness and nihilism of the series, I recommend it. Otherwise, I'd try something more cheerful, like Elie Wiesel.
    I've added this to the list. I'll give it a shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnRedBeard View Post
    So many books...

    Everybody should've read: Shogun by James Clavell, The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, The Illiad by Homer, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, 2001: A Space Odyssey...the sequels, any inclusive Edgar Allen Poe collection...

    but there are just so many books for so many different reasons...

    I like goofy stuff too like: Whales on Stilts by MT Anderson (srsly over-the-top ridiculous humor abounds here)

    Historical stuff like: The Generalship of Alexander the Great by JFC Fuller, Ghengis Khan: His Life and Legacy by Paul Ratchnevsky

    Sci-fi/Cultural awareness/political books like: 1984 by George Orwell. (scary stuff if you look at it) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Animal Farm also by Ray Bradbury

    Horror/sci-fi/pop - basically everything ever written by Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. (I was one of the people that loved Neil Gaiman's Stardust.)
    Hmm, I don't believe I've read Shogun. I'd like to hear more about this...


    I've read The Count of Monte Cristo, The Illiad (and The Odyssey), Huck Finn (and Tom Sawyer), Gatsby (this was not that great a book... or I must be missing something), 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I read a lot of Poe in middle school.


    Whales on Stilts... what exactly are we talking about here?


    I've also read 1984, Animal Farm (this is an Orwell book, not Bradbury ).

    Fahrenheit 451, I read in middle school as well. Good book. Somewhat relevant given his recent passing as well...

    Neil Gaiman is all across the list already, and Stephen King has a small block...


    Quote Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
    I am fan of C.J. Cherryh. She writes a good deal of science fiction, though most of it is in series I believe. She has a few standalone books you may want to investigate though, and some of the series are more just "all these books are in the same universe".

    I personally like by her (while trying to avoid spoilers):

    Faded Sun Trilogy: A dieing race seeking caught in the middle of humanity and another alien species.

    Foreigner Series: Last I looked up to like 11 books, focuses on a human colony set up in unknown space, and their interactions with a local sentient species. This one is a continuous story rather than the "same universe" thing I mentioned above, so don't just start in the middle.
    Hmm, which one should I start with?


    Quote Originally Posted by Helanna View Post
    The only one of these I've read is Mistborn, so I'll comment on that. And the only comment I have is "Please, PLEASE tell me you're going to read the next two?" They, uh, may answer a couple of your questions.
    Yes, I've got the second book right here next to me.





    As for my reviews, pardon the poor quality of writing. The first few are just to get back in the groove I suppose. A bunch are just my thoughts jumbled together. Hopefully they will improve over the course of the summer.
    Last edited by Neftren; 2012-06-09 at 11:18 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    SaintRidley's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    You're not missing anything on Gatsby. Gatsby's terrible.

    Something that could be fun, if you like fantasy as well (though predating most fantasy):

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    One of my all-time favorite stories right there.
    Linguist and Invoker of Orcus of the Rudisplorker's Guild
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    Convince me, beyond the "written by a good author" argument...?
    It has a very interesting setting - alternate colonial America where magic, or rather native power, creeps from behind and starts getting more and more involved. Mostly interesting on showing us the lives of common people and siritual themes. it' stronly inspired by Mormon religion. it has that feel you can hardly find anywhere else.

    For the Stanisław Lem books... any particular one I should start with? Ideally I'd read them all, but I want to have room for other books this summer as well, so one to three suggestions perhaps?
    I'll say, start with what I started, the Cyberiad - it's a series of SF Fairy Tales that are full of insane ideas and clever social satire. Adventurers of two mechanical engineers who can make pretty much anything. It's parent series, Fables For Robots (published in Mortal Engines collection) is very similiar in tone, but without these two guys (except for 3 fables featuring them, that were re-assigned to Cyberiad later). For more serious works, try His Master's Voice, humans try to decode signal from space, touches themes of our inability to communicate with aliens, that are prevalent in his works.

    One more suggestion: Looking For Jake And Other Stories by China Mieville, because wow, those insane, often terryfing ideas this guy has. He can create amazing visions (titular story, Mirrors) or make you scared like hell (Details, The End Of Hunger). This guy is something else, really.
    Last edited by Man on Fire; 2012-06-10 at 07:58 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: A Book a Day, to Keep Autumn Away...

    I forgot about Wild Cards, by George R. R. Martin. The premise of the series is that shortly after WW2, an alien bomb explodes over new york, sending a virus throughout the world. 90% of those infected die horrible deaths. 9% become terribly mutated. The fortunate 1% become "aces", with powers far beyond that of normal man. It's an incredibly realistic view of superheroes, rivalled probably only by Watchmen in scope and vision. It's about 70000 books, but only the first two and the last four are available. Fortunately, the last four feature mostly brand new characters, and are made to be more accessable to those who haven't read the first ones. I've only read 1-10 and the last four minus the last one, so I can't account, but apparently it gets too grimdark during the teens.
    Ceika is a beautiful, wonderful person. The avatar was made by his/her great talent, and depending on his/her sex and sexuality, I either have a giant crush or a totally appropriate liking for him/her.

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