Author Topic: Now reading  (Read 91277 times)

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2008, 12:37:53 PM »
Glad to be of help, Hero Member!  Sawyer's got his strengths and weaknesses (he's not the most elegant prose stylist, but he gets the job done).  I haven't read a new one of his since the Neanderthal trilogy (which was great fun), though I have his latest on my shelf, called Rollback, which was serialized in our sister publication a few months ago.  If you get the first Neanderthal book, Hominids, check out the acknowledgments page for a familiar Hypnos forum members' name.  It won the Hugo too, (nothing to do with me). ;)

For a small essay I'm writing, I'm reading an old Robert Heinlein juvenile called Have Space Suit Will Travel.  I've never been the biggest Heinlein fan, though I enjoyed this one in seventh grade.  It holds up remarkably well.  Fun, light reading.

Just finished Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World, a concise recounting of his earliest years using the aqualung for scuba.  I'm in the middle of getting my scuba certification, so it's completely topical for me, but I think this book would appeal to anyone interested in the ocean and the things in it.  Great stuff.

sraymar

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #41 on: March 29, 2008, 09:20:35 PM »
I'm reading Pierre Dansereau's Inscape and Landscape. Its a short book on ecology that influenced A Produce's CD with the same title. It sort of mirrors a Robert Rich interivew I read where he's into identifying mushrooms that are edible apart from the lethal kinds and explained that we used to be able to that do instantly with all wild foods. Its really amazing how detached we've become from nature not too mention the outright assault on it we've allowed.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2008, 09:37:41 AM »
Glad to be of help, Hero Member!  Sawyer's got his strengths and weaknesses (he's not the most elegant prose stylist, but he gets the job done).  I haven't read a new one of his since the Neanderthal trilogy (which was great fun), though I have his latest on my shelf, called Rollback, which was serialized in our sister publication a few months ago.  If you get the first Neanderthal book, Hominids, check out the acknowledgments page for a familiar Hypnos forum members' name.  It won the Hugo too, (nothing to do with me). ;)

Yeah, "Hero Member," WTF?  I didn't come up with that myself.  I'll have to think about these titles!

BTW, I finished Frameshift and found it ended in a way that didn't really live up to the beginning.  So many of these "wow, cool concept" books end up being about JUST the concept, not any kind of payoff or development of the concept.  Sometimes I think the author's enthusiasm petered out once he got past the "wouldn't it be cool if THIS happened?" stage and he only fleshed out the idea as far as he needed to in order to make a book out of it.
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Hypnagogue

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2008, 12:43:05 PM »
While looking in the library for a copy of a book I saw at Borders, with all of Moorcock's early Elric stories crunched into one volume (I don't usually buy books because I rarely re-read), I decided to give a long-overdue read to Larry Niven's "Ringworld." Quite enjoying it. Loved Niven's Known Space short stories as a kid--rediscovering him as an old guy.

That's me being the old guy, not Larry. Who is even older.
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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2008, 12:59:36 PM »
I myself only read Ringworld last year.  Hot damn, that was a good book.  I'd always wondered what the fuss was about regarding Larry Niven, but it's no surprise after reading that one.

Seren

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2008, 05:19:16 AM »
I myself only read Ringworld last year.  Hot damn, that was a good book.  I'd always wondered what the fuss was about regarding Larry Niven, but it's no surprise after reading that one.

I reread 'The Mote in God's Eye' a little while back, was as good as I remembered from when i was younger. Inventive and coherent, carried off the idea and twists well.

SunDummy

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2008, 05:38:37 PM »
Quote
I'd always wondered what the fuss was about regarding Larry Niven, but it's no surprise after reading that one.

One of the few SF books I've kept is Niven's "All the Myriad Ways", a collection of shorts; great stuff.  "Man of Steel, Women of Kleenex" is absolutely hilarious.   ;D

I rarely read fiction anymore, but after seeing the LOTR trilogy again last weekend, I'm having a hankerin' for "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever", a six-book series I read as a teenager.  Anyone else familiar with this series?  I remember LOVING it; I'm curious to see if it's as good as I remember it to be.  It's about a guy in modern times who has leprosy; he keeps blacking out and waking up in this other fantasy world, where everyone thinks he's a hero.  He cuts back and forth between the two worlds, and thinks it's all a dream, but plays along anyway...  Great stuff.
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Hypnagogue

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2008, 07:30:53 AM »
Ah, Tom Covenant. The series responsible for no fantasy writer being able to sell a single stand-alone novel, ever again. ;-)

I tried to revisit these a while back. I remember that the first three seemed fresh and intriguing back in the day. But I also recall that the second three were depressing and slow-moving. The real problem I had with the series, especially in trying to re-read it, was that it's just so hard (for me) to buy into that whole "I must not use this amazing power I have been given" concept. Give any normal guy the power of the white gold ring and point us toward our enemies, and we'll pretty much burn a swath through the bastards, howling with glee and holding a cold beer in our free hand. (Conan had it right..."To drive the enemy before you...to hear the lamentation of the women...") But all the heavy, angsty "Oh no what have I done" stuff that permeates this series (and so much fantasy fiction)....gah. If you can't handle the ring, Tom, give it to someone with some balls and let's get this Lord Foul thing cleared up! :-)

Have any of the fantasy geeks out here read any David Gemmel? (Legend, Heroes of Dark Renown)

[Oh my...I just Googled him. Seems he died two years ago...] :-(
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SunDummy

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2008, 10:52:55 AM »
Thanks, Hypnagogue; I had forgotten what an emo-wimp he was.  ;) ;D    I think I'll skip a re-read, and just leave my memories intact.

I googled the series; it appears Donaldson is working on a third trilogy right now, to be finished sometime in 2012. 
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2008, 10:55:43 AM »
In my early college years, all my sci-fi / fantasy / d&d geek buddies were all gaga over Thomas Covenant.  I read the first book and thought it was pretty well done in some ways, but also pretty frustrating, and didn't really go anywhere.  I stopped after the first book.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2008, 01:11:44 PM »
I just finished listening to the audiobook of "Blood Music" by Greg Bear, and thought it was fantastic.

The plot followed an unusual curve, and left me thinking more than once that the story was almost over (since it was an audiobook, I couldn't "eyeball" how any pages were left past the page I was on), only to take off in a new direction and develop and continue.  This was a very ambitious and imaginatively rich story, one of those science fiction stories that contains about the same number of fresh and interesting ideas as 20 normal sci fi novels.

For those who don't know much about it but might be interested, the story starts up from the concept of a biotech firm exploring the possibility of merging computer technology with a biological component, to create small organic components with an intelligence of their own, that can be inserted into the human body for therapeutic or medicinal purposes.  There is a breakthrough, but things don't go as planned and a new life form is created that ends up developing into something very significant for the human race, and the entire planet.

It's put me in a mood to read some more Greg Bear!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 01:14:02 PM by mgriffin »
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jkn

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2008, 10:32:51 AM »
Thomas Covenant... have to agree.    I liked the first three - found the 2nd three excruciatingly painful to get through.   I also got tired of the poor me stuff.   First three had their moments - then again - I was a teen last time I read them.

I reread the 10 books from David Eddings (Belarion and Mallorian - probably got the spelling wrong there...) which stretched the trilogy concept in to quintologies (that a word?).   You know - I still found them enjoyable in my later 20's when I reread them.   A bit childish at points, but hey, not a big issue, so am I... :)   

I'm ready for the last Sword 'O Truth Goodkind book to come out in paperback to finally finish that one.   He was gunning for the series that never ends award which I think still belongs to Robert Jordan (there are many series that never end, but most of those are semi-stand alone books - not direct continuations from book to book to book to book to booooookkkk to boooookkkkkkkkk....)     Jordan always said he'll keep writing until he dies, and sadly - he's got some nasty disease now.   The final book in the Wheel 'O Time is the one he's working on currently - although I haven't checked up on progress in quite a while.   

Speaking of Sword 'O Truth...  the first book will be a tv miniseries coming soon.

Oddly - I really got a kick out of Terry Brooks first Magic Kingdom for Sale book - struck me as humorous.   I think I read another one that wasn't terrible.

currently reading... EDI and XML manuals.  Nothing exciting... 

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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2008, 11:34:40 AM »
Jordan always said he'll keep writing until he dies, and sadly - he's got some nasty disease now.   The final book in the Wheel 'O Time is the one he's working on currently - although I haven't checked up on progress in quite a while.


You sure haven't, because he keeled over a few months ago.  :o

http://slashdot.org/articles/07/09/17/0243230.shtml

Another (though much younger) writer, named Brandon Sanderson is going to complete the final book of the series with Jordan's notes (and the staunch supervision of every editor Tor books has on staff, I'd reckon).  I've never really liked that kind of stuff (read the first book but was bored senseless, though I totally loved David Eddings), so I couldn't begin to speculate how it's all going to pan out.

jkn

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2008, 11:47:20 AM »
Eeeek... didn't realize.    The first three or four books in the series were very good (if you like this sort of thing of course) - but by books 7 and 8... it was slow painful reading.  I forget which book it is - but there's about 800 pages where you get from breakfast to lunch on the same day - but from so many different character's perspectives.   It would have been neat had something actually happened during that timeframe, but in general, everyone was travelling or running towards the final book.  The final one he put out was just starting to get going again.   

Kind of the same arc as Goodkind - really good out of the gate for a few books and then became a quagmire of slow reading.   In Jordan's case it was having 7 billion plotlines and nearly as many main characters (with many of them similar enough or just not fleshed out to be their own character that you have to stop and think who was who...) and Goodkind rolling into pages of philosophical speeches from a character that would have been fine if he didn't repeat the same thing over and over clubbing you on the head over and over... and then he toned it down and got back to telling a good story with the last couple of books.   My fear is the last book drops back into preachiness. 

All the Modesitt Recluce books are I think my favorite 'current' series.   Very recurring themes, but not clubbing over the head, rarely dull - and 'series' within the series are only 2 books long.    He also jumps his stories around the timeline of his world - so one book is 800 years before another one, etc...

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Altus

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2008, 04:31:32 PM »
Goodkind rolling into pages of philosophical speeches from a character that would have been fine if he didn't repeat the same thing over and over clubbing you on the head over and over... and then he toned it down and got back to telling a good story with the last couple of books.   My fear is the last book drops back into preachiness.
I found that once the preachiness started, it never went away. ;) In saying that, I still enjoyed the characters and story as a whole and the last book in the Sword of Truth series is definitely worth reading.  I'm curious what his next endeavor will be.
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jkn

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2008, 04:57:03 PM »
That's good to know - I really enjoyed the last couple of books before the final one.   
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Seren

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #56 on: April 11, 2008, 12:50:57 AM »
Was wndering if the Terry Pratchett 'dicsworld' books translate well across the pond?


jkn

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #57 on: April 11, 2008, 04:10:10 AM »
I've never read one - I've always planned on it and the sheer number of choices has kept me back a bit...  I have friends that love them.   There's always a decent sized section dedicated to the series - so they must sell well enough to keep the shelf space (at least here in Illinois...)

I've read 'good omens' by pratchett and gaiman which I thought was hilarious.
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Re: Now reading
« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2008, 01:56:38 PM »
Anyone read or have any thoughts on David Toop's "Haunted Weather".  I just started it today and find myself only able to read small portions at a sitting. I had the same trouble with his "Oceans of Sound". There is so much information and so many names I have to stop after a brief read just to try and absorb what I have read. If I don't, I find myself just reading words and not absorbing much. It took me almost 6 months to finish "Oceans of Sound" and I'm not sure I'm up for a long read like that right now. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy Oceans... , it just wasn't easy. Not that I expect all of my reads to be easy, but I guess I'm trying to psych myself up to commit to it.  :-\
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Hypnagogue

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #59 on: April 14, 2008, 06:30:55 AM »

Speaking of Sword 'O Truth...  the first book will be a tv miniseries coming soon.


Hmm...wonder how they'll handle the S&M overtones... :-)

I met the author one day in Cambridge, MA. Briefly. He was doing a signing for "Wizard's First Rule" at a little sci-fi bookstore. Sitting there, quite, quite alone...

I rather imagine he'd be swamped now.

(I read the first three and got very tired of them at that point. But "First Rule" is a superb novel.)
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