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Author Topic: Whats everyone reading?  (Read 790537 times)

I, Cosh

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6930 on: 07 May, 2021, 11:23:02 AM »
I enjoyed the Belgariad as a kid, it supplied placenames for more than one D&D campaign ("the Polgara Hills" etc), and the almost clockwork way the story proceeded around the world map in order greatly appealed (for a more current example of cartographic determinism see Abercrombie's Half a King series). For some reason I don't think think I ever moved on to the Mallorean - is it worth a throw at this late stage, do you think? It's a prequel, right?
No, it's a direct sequel. There are a couple of Belgarath/Polgara books which came along a good bit later which fit the prequel role.

I must've read the Belgariad a dozen times over the years and while I didn't get one with a lot of its downhome folksiness the last time I still think of it as a comfort read. I think it was even my first experience of having to wait for the last book to be released: Game of Thrones fans feel my pain!

If you've avoided it until now I'm not sure I'd recommend the Malloreon.  The first couple are okay but it becomes a bit of a slog. Large parts of it are deliberately mirroring the first series (which is fine conceptually but quite boring to read) and the later books lean very heavily into "the Prophecy needs us to be here and do this" rather than having a plot.
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milstar

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6931 on: 07 May, 2021, 12:38:33 PM »
I decided to re-read Black Kiss from Howard Chaykin

Somehow I can't imagine anyone else than doing a comic series that are anything but. I am also remember why I love this series and ashamed to admit it (thank God I haven't used my real name on this forum). I don't think this is the sort of comic I'd have to show to my friends, relatives or worse, my spouse. But I enjoyed in its intimacy. Whether it's curious or not, by Chaykin's own admission, this is the most profitable book he ever did, per page basis. I some people needed some outlet that they compensate it by reading... True, it's nihilistic, it's blatantly misogynistic, morally repugnant. But I think having absolutely no redeeming values is why this book has such a (small) cult status.Ofcourse, not everything is about the content here as Chaykin provides some very fine storytelling and quite unique genre mixing. Eroticism (intermittent kinky pornographic set pieces that honestly rather amuse me, compared to which I am total prude in my bedroom; aside that, I don't think I ever read a comic where women act as voluntary thots), vampires and all told in noir, hard-boiled fashion. With spice of perverse black humor. I must say that I had a thought of desiring to be the part of such universe, but I felt that Chaykin punishes that attitude by throwing scenes in later stages that require a strong stomach to digest. Then again, I probably got what I deserved.
Right you lot. Shut up, belt up, and if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.

TordelBack

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6932 on: 14 May, 2021, 08:30:59 PM »
*This must have been Pat's corporate revenge.  I'm doing an episode-a-day slow thoughtful re-read of Nemesis** at the moment, and holy shit Games Workshop, you were naughty naughty boys. Have some of your own medicine,  care of Kevin.

**It's a sublime work, since you ask, maybe 2000AD's single best long-running strip.


Certainly is - Book III began around the time I started reading 2000AD and it's influence has kept me on board for thirty eight years and counting...


Which episode are you up to so far?

I fell into this via scratching a Hicklenton itch, and reading The Two Torquemadas, which was fantastic, then had to look at Torquemada the God, and.so ended up reading Book V,  then Talbot and the ABCs led me back to Book IV, where I got to musing on the fantastical order of its creation, and decided I'd take a shot at reading it carefully in the order it was created - IE jumping from Killer Watt to the O'Neill bit of Gothic Empire, then back to (I believe) Sir Osric from the SciFi Special and finally on to Book I. So now I'm working my way on forward, and am at the climax of Feast of Zamarkand.

And it's all been brilliant, every panel. Particularly looking forward to Book II again next week some time.

AlexF

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6933 on: 18 May, 2021, 09:31:15 AM »
I've finally started reading my Deviant Edition of Nemesis - and I have to say it is not as good in colour. No big surprise I suppose. Couldn;t agree more that, panel-to-panel, it's a truly unbeatable comic.

I've also just recently read the latest volume of Phillippe Druillet's 'Lone Sloane', which I'm 100% sure is exactly the comic Pat Mills was talking about when he said he wanted 2000AD to have a Euro feel. Nemesis has similar qualities, but it's just so much better - perfect art tied to a writer who actually has something to say, and knows how to say it.

Oh, and as I'm new to this thread and not following ettiquette, I'll also let Milstar know that I, too am a Black Kiss appreciator and am not afraid to have my real name attached ot that statement. It's SO cynical, in a way that I don't think I could stomach except for the explicit sex scenes, which for me mitigate the cynicism but saying that what these characters really want, as well as power, is simply to have an awful lot of sex, of whatever kind they can get. And while this is not my thing as such (in real life), it's a sentiment I can understand more than the drive to hold power over other people.

sheridan

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6934 on: 18 May, 2021, 10:40:31 AM »
I fell into this via scratching a Hicklenton itch, and reading The Two Torquemadas, which was fantastic, then had to look at Torquemada the God, and.so ended up reading Book V,  then Talbot and the ABCs led me back to Book IV, where I got to musing on the fantastical order of its creation, and decided I'd take a shot at reading it carefully in the order it was created - IE jumping from Killer Watt to the O'Neill bit of Gothic Empire, then back to (I believe) Sir Osric from the SciFi Special and finally on to Book I. So now I'm working my way on forward, and am at the climax of Feast of Zamarkand.

And it's all been brilliant, every panel. Particularly looking forward to Book II again next week some time.

Did you notice (from memory) that the outfit which Nem is wearing when he visits Great Uncle Baal is the same outfit he's wearing when he arrives on Britannia?  Which we never see anywhere else...

zombemybabynow

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TordelBack

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6936 on: 19 May, 2021, 10:10:56 PM »
Did you notice (from memory) that the outfit which Nem is wearing when he visits Great Uncle Baal is the same outfit he's wearing when he arrives on Britannia?  Which we never see anywhere else...

I did indeed, though only this time!  This is exactly the kind of thing I hoped to see by going carefully at it and looking at the evolution of Kev's art in particular, but also Pat's words. The Great Uncle Baal episode is particularly interesting because it's the introduction of Grobbendonk, who we know was actually created "in" the Gothic Empire episodes: the same episode that Nemesis wears those stripey pauldrons. 

However, O'Neill's Gothic Empire opener is in what I think of as his "small figure" style, characters that seem a bit lost and disconnected in their busy panels, while the Baal episode, at least in theory, is from several years later and features his "cropped figure" style, where characters seem almost too big for their panels, big half-head shots and large silhouettes. Nemesis has also begun his transition from darkly shaded sleek head (which Talbot eventually runs with until Nem resembles a Polaris missile) to the gnarlier more open version that characterises Book III in particular. So while the elements suggest it's connected to Gothic Empire, I'm guessing that's a product of O'Neill going back to check his references for Grobbendonk, and picking up the travelling cloak at the same time.

The Baal episode is also 4 pages long. A character that has lived in my head for almost 40 years, whose voice I can still hear, and his debut (and really the bulk of his screen time) amounts to 4 pages. Those men knew how to make comics.

In the world of prose I read Stephen King's Richard Bachman's The Long Walk for the first time, courtesy of enthusiastic discussion on this very thread. I think it's the most purely horrific thing he's ever written, it consumed my dreams for over a week, and not in a good way (but also in a good way, because that's what I look for in horror). It may be the best thing I've ever read by him, not least for balancing complete nihilism with the qualities of an extended parable.  Safe to say the sexual politics are of their day, but beyond that the humanity is extraordinary.

With an invigorated enthusiasm for the man, I disrupted my carefully-ordered to-read pile and seized on Hearts in Atlantis, which so far feels like unused notes from It, but I have faith. 
« Last Edit: 19 May, 2021, 10:13:09 PM by TordelBack »

Dandontdare

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6937 on: 27 May, 2021, 03:35:43 PM »
The Boys: Dear Becky

New collected 8-parter set 12 years after The Boys - Hughie receives a mystery parcel: Butcher's old diaries in the form of a letter to his dead wife. we then go to flashback mode and see how he made the decision to transform the group from ineffectual CIA assets to cape-killing psychos. It's very current - several references to Trump and the last part references the covid lockdown.

It doesn't really add anything to the story, but it's a lot of fun (if you like Ennis - I know many don't).

TordelBack

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6938 on: 01 June, 2021, 02:24:19 PM »
Finally ground my way to the end of King's Hearts in Atlantis, which I found to be a bit of a mess,  and far from "the great novel of the Boomer generation" I've seen it presented as.

What it actually is are some very strong short stories pointlessly hacked-about and stitched together to make them fit into a book-length spin-off from The Dark Tower series. The problem is that some sections are compelling non- or just-maybe-supernatural tales of the Vietnam era, and others are full-on inter-dimensional superfiend territory. The linking thread is a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants-style baseball glove , but even its otherwise-prosaic journey between the characters is gazumped by an unexplained event where it literally falls out of the sky, having last been seen as the begging prop of a penitent Vet.

Perhaps this all makes sense if you've read all of Dark Tower, I'll be fecked if I care. Annoyingly I'd have really enjoyed most of these stories as standalones, or loosely overlapping like in his magnificent Different Seasons, it's the bodging and the dribbly conclusion that lets it down for me.  King has observed that no-one wants to buy his novellas or collections, so here we are. Can't win 'em all.
« Last Edit: 01 June, 2021, 02:26:26 PM by TordelBack »

Barrington Boots

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6939 on: 01 June, 2021, 04:12:39 PM »
Agreed on Hearts in Atlantis, it's pretty bogus and the linking conceit isn't needed!

I'm still reading the Horus Heresy series. On book 44. Not going to finish all of these before lockdown eases*, but I've got reasonably close.



*which won't be 21st June at this rate
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Hawkmumbler

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6940 on: 07 June, 2021, 04:00:55 PM »
THE DARK EIDOLON AND OTHER FANTASIES by Clark Ashton Smith

A lot can and has been said about many of the scribes behind Weird Tales. Lovecraft was a fine visionary hampered by a narrow world view that frequently stunted his authorial capabilities. Derleth was a powerhouse editor and a largely woeful writer, whose devil may care attitude to the dilution of mythologies started a trend the genre can’t shake, and Howard though beloved by many has never truly clicked with me personally.
Then theres the enigmatic, tragically gone too soon Clark Ashton Smith, of whom my experience is drawn entirely from a ‘best of’ collection of his poetry and this here Penguin tome, and yet I can say without a reasonable doubt he was the finest of the troupe, and among the great fantasists of all literature.
His poetic prose and prosaic verse reads unlike any author I can name, like he’s translating directly from some ancient inhuman grimoire, and his ability to lace seemingly base historical literature or common pulp fantasy with a layer of rich, viscous, palpable cosmic dread is superb. In spite of my only just recently becoming familiar with his work, short stories such as Genius Loci or The Return of the Sorcerer have become among my favourite in all weird fiction, and a deeper dive into collections old and new is absolutely on the cards.

Funt Solo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6941 on: 07 June, 2021, 07:17:25 PM »
... I've noticed his tendency to reuse phrases like in the Belgariad and Mallorean when characters are in a mild argument the phrase "And everything was all right again" keeps springing up.

Yeah - and he also does "pennants snapping in the wind" whenever there's any knights around. And, they always hide in a handy "copse". You can see this, as well, in "A Song of Ice and Fire", where almost every meal involves a "trencher of stew".

I enjoyed the Belgariad as a kid, it supplied placenames for more than one D&D campaign ("the Polgara Hills" etc), and the almost clockwork way the story proceeded around the world map in order greatly appealed (for a more current example of cartographic determinism see Abercrombie's Half a King series). For some reason I don't think think I ever moved on to the Mallorean - is it worth a throw at this late stage, do you think? It's a prequel, right?

I'd echo Cosh's opinion and say that the Mallorean plays the same trick as the Belgariad, but with different names on a different continent. And it is a bit much that eventually the prophecy itself is a character.

I love Abercrombie's books, although I've started to tire a bit of the smug, untouchable wizard Bayaz in his "First Law" (extended) series.

---

Oh, and I'm reading Stonemouth, by Iain Banks. Part of my big re-read. Still don't know if I'll read the last one when I get there.
« Last Edit: 07 June, 2021, 07:19:25 PM by Funt Solo »
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

pictsy

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6942 on: 07 June, 2021, 09:16:46 PM »
I finally finished the larger Foundation series.

It ebbs and flows with it's quality.  Foundation Earth bookends the series nicely but isn't quite as an enjoyable read as Foundations Edge.  Having read the other series, it does give the end a different context.  It does end up feeling like an epic journey.

It was fun to do, but I wouldn't do it again in a hurry.

gogilesgo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6943 on: 08 June, 2021, 03:39:08 PM »


In the world of prose I read Stephen King's Richard Bachman's The Long Walk for the first time, courtesy of enthusiastic discussion on this very thread. I think it's the most purely horrific thing he's ever written, it consumed my dreams for over a week, and not in a good way (but also in a good way, because that's what I look for in horror). It may be the best thing I've ever read by him, not least for balancing complete nihilism with the qualities of an extended parable.  Safe to say the sexual politics are of their day, but beyond that the humanity is extraordinary.


I read this something like 20 years ago and it's stayed with me ever since. I'm not much of a fan of long form King (and his novels do tend towards the very very looooong) but his high concept shorts: Word Processor of the Gods; Mrs Todd's Shortcut; The Reaper's Image; The Night Flier etc are almost all superb. The majority would make fine Future Shocks.

But The Long Walk. Oh Boy, what a story. A hundred young men start walking South from the Canadian border, the first 99 to stop are killed. The winner can name ANYTHING as their prize.

Lovely character portraits throughout - one lad carries 99 pennies in his right trouser pocket and transfers one to his left for every dead competitor; the nailed-on-cert-to-win who catches cold and gradually slows down until... . And then there's that final paragraph. Enough to make a man stop in his tracks.

Of all the Bachmann books this is often overshadowed by Rage and The Running Man but it's by far the best the five.