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Author Topic: Whats everyone reading?  (Read 846269 times)

Hawkmumbler

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6960 on: 17 July, 2021, 10:39:45 AM »
THE ODYSSEY

There's truly not a lot I can say about antiquarian masterpieces, but listening to Anton Lesser soothingly describe the eviscerations of man at the hands of the Locus Eaters is probably the best thing I could have listened to on my commutes. Really must pick up those Fagles tomes someday.

IAMTHESYSTEM

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6961 on: 17 July, 2021, 11:48:23 AM »
Behave, The Biology Of Humans At Their Best And Worst- Robert Sapolsky. It's a very dense book of about 800 pages, and I'm only at the start, but it is fascinating in its detail already. It is slightly grim in its belief that humans enjoy certain types of violence, but the author appears optimistic that we can be persuaded away from this reprehensible behaviour.
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milstar

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6962 on: 18 July, 2021, 01:33:14 PM »
I re-read FrankMiller's All Star Batman. Once again, it felt like watching an exhilarating train wreck. Too much of everything, but full of nothing, that is. I don't know if it's the worst Miller (Holy Terror and TDKSA come pretty close). Admittedly, there are moments where Miller's brilliance shines through but often is dragged beneath, like a drowning man desperately clinging to the surface only to be smothered, again and again. The whole ten-issue arc is so damn slow, and a five-issue would finish the job at hand. As if the All-Star moniker served for a bunch of characters to cram in. On top of that, you know you are in trouble when you read a psychopathic teenage brat Batman. And while I am fond of his Dirty Harry impersonations, more often, t felt like a parody of the character, where Miller thought it'd be so cool to have Batman uttering "I am the goddamn Batman." Unfortunately, the comic is full of those (un)remarkable moments (read cringe), all memorable for all the wrong reasons. Batman having sex with Black Canary...ugh. Personally, I'm not too fond of romance in superheroes. And I got what Miller tried to do. That Batman is a kid who needs another kid to grow up. Such story is already done, and it's done better - in Dark Victory. Robin, along with the Batgirl, might be the best-done characters. Everyone else... Vicky Vale acts as a dumb bimbo (who holds animosity over Batman because he doesn't fly, but faints over Bruce Wayne), Black Canary and Wonder Woman are misandric twats, and Superman...well - damn! And yes, the goddamn Batman.

I have never been a big fan of TDKR, but that comic at least had some quality, and I appreciate what Miller did at that time. Elektra Assassin, TDKR, Year One, and DD Born Again (btw, my favorites are the latter two), and all four feel a bit different from each other, and with all artistic integrity. It's sad to see how low Miller has fallen since then.

On a brighter note about ASB, the artwork is a real treat, and I date to say, it's the best Lee's job to date. And as a small bonus, I like how the pages unfold when Batman takes Robin for the first time to the Batcave. The part with the cop cars being destroyed, all that havoc and ruckus - it blew my mind.  Too bad Lee had to waste his talents in garbage like this.
Reyt, you lot. Shut up, belt up, 'n if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.

milstar

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6963 on: 29 July, 2021, 12:18:16 PM »
Well, haven't really read as I just got it brand new - One-Eyed Jack and Invasion 1984! so I am gonna see it thru the next few days. For some reason, the quality of the print of One-Eyed Jack is superior over Invasion, the latter using the same paper used for Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog etc collected gns.
Reyt, you lot. Shut up, belt up, 'n if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.

ming

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6964 on: 09 August, 2021, 03:34:15 PM »
Just finished Adam Roberts' The Real-Town Murders and really enjoyed it; very playful writing and a bit of a page-turner (the only other thing of his I've read is Yellow Blue Tibia but I think I'll have to dig into his other work a bit more now).

Tjm86

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6965 on: 19 August, 2021, 06:27:01 AM »
On a bit of a legacy Sci-Fi binge at the moment.  Latest is Ben Bova's Exiles Trilogy.  Another re-read of something from my distant youth and interesting how it 'feels' this time round.

I can see traces of the pulp influence of the likes of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke.  The core idea of geneticists being exiled to maintain stability on a potentially over-populated Earth does give it a different perspective to many generational colony stories (most recently Stanley-Robinson's Aurora for instance).  Only a handful of such stories have looked at it from the potential of escape.

Each of the three 'books' are quite different.  The first setting the scene and exploring the exile, segueing into a brief action adventure as the protagonists get mixed up in a plot to overthrow the world government.  Ultimately this leads into the decision to turn the satellite prison into a star-faring ship that will take them to a distant star with a potentially new planet.

The second reads very much like Kane and Abel.  Set as the book reaches the star they set out to, it jumps a generation.  The main characters are set against each other by events as the planet they originally aimed for turns out to be uninhabitable even with significant genetic engineering.  A bit of a love triangle is thrown in for good measure.  The debate over how to deal with the implications of the revelations of the new planet and the state of the ship are set against this backdrop.

The third book shifts scene significantly.  There is a definite Lord of the Flies vibe to it.  The ship is now close to the next star the exiles aimed for at the end of the second book.  Most of the ship is now pretty much unusable.  All that are left are a handful of genetically engineered youngsters who have lost all links with previous generations, venerate some father-figure who they call up through old learning tapes and adhere to a rigid admonition not to touch any of the equipment.

Again some interesting ideas come through.  The impact of the decision not to settle on the original planet for the crew, leading to a total and lethal breakdown.  The loss of all adult contact and with it the links to the past needed to maintain the operational functionality of the ship.  Fear and superstition resulting from a lack of proper understanding ...

Again though Bova's pulp roots do tend to weaken the impact of all of this.  They are great ideas and worth exploring in depth but are dealt with superficially.  The lead character's discovery of the last remaining adult, his rapid and miraculous education that allows him to effect simple repairs and the deus-ex device that ultimately saves the day all work from the point of view of a fast-paced light read.  It would be interesting to see how Bova or any writer for that matter tackled it today.

Overall it's a good read, albeit not stunning stuff.  Elements that would not be out of place in 80's Eagle for instance.  Then again it does not require much cognitive effort which is nice sometimes too!   ::)

Batman's Superior Cousin

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6966 on: 19 August, 2021, 12:21:08 PM »
Books I’ve Currently Read

1) Marvel’s Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover by David Liss
2) Star Wars: Thrawn - Treason by Timothy Zahn
3) Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy - Greater Good by Timothy Zahn
4) Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy - Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn
5) Star Trek: Picard - The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack
6) Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious - The Knight, The Fool and The Dead by Steve Cole
7) Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious - All Flesh is Grass by Una McCormack
8) Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond
9) Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars by Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg
10) Star Trek: Picard - The Dark Veil by James Swallow
11) Star Wars: The High Republic - Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule
12) Star Wars: The High Republic - The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott
13) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino
14) Killzone: Ascendancy by Sam Bradbury
15) Black Trillium by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton
16) Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher
17) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover

Currently Reading

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Next Up

Star Trek Picard - Rogue Elements by John Jackson Miller
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Timothy

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6967 on: 24 August, 2021, 10:21:52 AM »
I have just picked up Grandville L'Integral. It's a collection of all of the Grandville stories together with some annotations. It's a handsome volume, but there is some disappointment in the page size which is slightly smaller than the original publications. A good book though.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6968 on: 24 August, 2021, 12:00:28 PM »
I have just picked up Grandville L'Integral. It's a collection of all of the Grandville stories together with some annotations. It's a handsome volume, but there is some disappointment in the page size which is slightly smaller than the original publications. A good book though.

I'm really tempted by that. How is it to read, pysically? I'm worried it's going to be a bit heavy and unwieldy.
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Timothy

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6969 on: 24 August, 2021, 12:31:57 PM »
It's hefty, but not too much so. Not one to put in your holiday hand luggage.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6970 on: 25 August, 2021, 06:46:31 PM »
I've now finished the original Foundation Trilogy, nice and ready for the TV adaptation starting next month. I commented above that I was a bit let down from the first book, but Foundation & Empire, and Second Foundation have been much more digestible and satisfying.

I guess what initially bamboozled me was that this is not, in fact a trilogy of novels written in the 50s. It is instead 9 short stories/novellas from the 40s presented as 3 novels. Each of the nine stories typically takes place 30-50 after the previous one with few characters shared between stories. It's 9 moments of historical significance in a 300-400-year epoch. God knows how they're going to make a show out of it - they'll definitely have to fiddle about with it quite significantly, and I do fear that they'll end up losing something essential. But I'm still pretty pumped about it - the trailers looks amazing.

Books 2 and 3 each consist of 2 stories originally serialised in Astounding Science Fiction; in both volumes the second story is by far the longer of the two, the only 2 of the nine stories to approach novel-length, and for me they were by far the most satisfying.

Asimov returned to the Foundation universe 30-odd years later, in the 1980s with another 4 Foundation books: 2 sequels and then 2 prequels, and I'm itching to read them, only I know at this point he starts tying the story threads of Foundation to the threads of his Robot series, so it's probably best if I read those first - so my plan is to firstly read the 3 robot books of the 50s: I, Robot, Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun. Then I'll round off his 50s period with The End of Eternity, which is meant to be a nice way to end things, even if it's not directly tied to the other series.

At that point, I'll do 80s/90s Robot and Foundation books in publication order. If there are any Asimov experts of these shores who can tell me if this is good plan, I'd be mightily obliged!

von Boom

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6971 on: 26 August, 2021, 12:23:48 AM »
Publication order is always the best order.

I've started Artifact Space by Miles Cameron. Cameron has written historical fiction and fantasy and this is his first foray into space opera and it's a very good one. The story sucks you in in the first paragraph. I haven't finished this book and I'm already looking forward to the next.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6972 on: 26 August, 2021, 09:19:15 AM »
Just had a google, Boom and that looks interesting. I always enjoyed the concept of big starships that carry millions of people, like the GSVs in the Culture series.

I agree that 99% of the time that publication order is best. I’m slightly deviating from that though with my reading order of Asimov’s early Robot and Foundation novels as, although they were published simultaneously, they are at that stage completely separate universes, so can be read separately.

One thing you often see that always puzzles me is when a particular series of novels is re-ordered into an in-universe chronology, and then that becomes the recommended order. I’ve seen both fans of the novels and the authors themselves do this, and it’s nearly always just plain wrong, in my opinion. Even Asimov did this: https://scl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/92757872/97942932.

To my mind, you always want to read a prequel after the original novel. To do so otherwise usually spoils the revelations in the original novel, or the prequel focuses on aspects of the story which only gain importance when you’ve read the original novel, which may seem strange to fixate on, if you haven’t read the original story.

A particularly bad example of this are the Narnia novels, which today are published in a re-ordering based on in-universe chronology, so The Magician’s Nephew is first. One of the things explained is how the lamppost came to be where Lucy first met Mr Tumnus, but that means nothing unless you’ve read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe first, and there’s lots of other issues of that nature. They’re spoiling kids readings of the books by presenting them in this way. They should change the numbering to the published order (and maybe remove The Last Battle, which is mean and spiteful book, where Lewis’ Christian polemic takes a nasty Book of  Revelations turn).

von Boom

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6973 on: 26 August, 2021, 01:49:13 PM »
Artifact Space is not nearly as high concept at the Culture. It feels more Heinleiny with a sharper edge to it but it's a lot of fun so far.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6974 on: 26 August, 2021, 04:27:01 PM »
(and maybe remove The Last Battle, which is mean and spiteful book, where Lewis’ Christian polemic takes a nasty Book of  Revelations turn).

I love The Last Battle, and those seriously doomy vibes. It's the apocalypse, it should be a bit mean!
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