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AnOminous

I hated Woody Woodpecker and Scooby-Doo.
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Dec 28, 2014
Serious question. How many Asimov books have you read? I wish I was a fan of science fiction fan but I've never been into it beyond the classics and JG Ballard, the least science fiction science fiction author of all time. I think it partly has to do with the amount of work these writers wrote.
I'd guess somewhere over 50 but under 100. So a fair amount. It's possible more but I'm not going over the entire list just to figure it out. Most of it is nonfiction. He had a knack for explaining things clearly, so a lot of his books are better than textbooks for learning the subject it's about. For instance, I used his algebra book because the textbook high school was using was absolutely useless and confusing.
For his sci-fi though, his seminal pieces are The Foundation Trilogy, The Gods Themselves (Asimov cites this as his favorite), and I, Robot.
I'd recommend his short stories, particularly "Nightfall," which is easily located in the collection of the same name, also a top notch collection.
 

Blasted Heath

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Apr 2, 2022
Underland: A Deep Time Journey, by Robert Macfarlane. Nonfiction (pretty much all I can read these days) with a lot of anecdotes and musings included, it explores underworld mythology and real-life underground structures throughout history. Some people say Macfarlane's writing style is too whimsical, some say it's too technical, but I think it's a good mix.
 

The Gagh Whisperer

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May 9, 2017
Earlier this year I finished reading the first 3 (4, if you count Chasm City) Revelation Space books, but Inhibitor Phase's release gap, the fact it's doesn't directly follow the story and characters of the other three and Absolution Gap's weird, somewhat insultingly unsatisfying ending caused me to move on to other series instead of reading it. Would you say it adds enough to pick up, or does the originally trilogy tell enough of the inhibitor story?

There's some time passed from Absolution Gap, but it's still very much book 4 of the story. Worth it if you enjoyed the previous books and Reynolds worldbuilding/characters. Don't expect any big conclusion to the inhibitor story though, I think he's got more followup books he wants to write.

I just finished The Prefect, which takes place in the pre-rustbelt Glitter Band. If you want to dig into more of the world before the plague hits, that's one I would recommend. Great scifi/detective story.
 

skjora

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Mar 17, 2019
Ploughed through the Amber series by Zelazny. It was okay, but nowhere near his high points.
Anyone have any suggestions for novels that combine naturalistic dialogue with decent prose by the way? Genre or lack thereof is irrelevant.
 

soft breathing

god has left the building a long time ago.
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Nov 22, 2019
"Rabbits" by Terry Miles. I don't have high expectations but it somehow screamed at me to take it home. So here we are
 

Weeb_Killer

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Nov 4, 2020
The Doomed City by the Strugatsky brothers and The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious by Jung, but it's hard going
 

Cheerlead-in-Chief

"Damn. Grandma's gonna be so angry!"
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Mar 6, 2016
"Girl, Wash Your Face!" By Rachel Hollis. (Self-Help) ..each chapter is a lie a woman says to herself and 3 blurbs of advice. It also begins with her peeing herself to impress her 3 year old on a trampoline. According to her it wasn't as bad as how she peed herself at 10. And her fans emailing her, praising her (scheduled) Instagram posts. While she writes, " You wouldnt be praisinh me if you knew I JUST PISSED MYSELF!" Chapter 5 reveals how she met her husband - she was a booty call at 19, going "OMG OMG OMG OMG he's my boyfriend!!!" While his friends couldn't stand her. He breaks up with her, she cries on her bed then tells him off on the phone, and he rushes back to her begging for forgiveness. She plans on telling this story to her kids.
It gets worse: Chapter 7 deals with her sex life with her husband and begins with her writing about UTI's. Its cringe
This Bitch must have a piss fetish
Wouldn't recommend this book.

"Hystopia" by David Means. Set in the 1960's US after the Vietnam war. A guy that got molested kills a bunch of people and brings a schizophrenic girl with him. People in labs having affairs and smoking pot.
 
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BONE_Buddy

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Feb 26, 2019
Just got finished with Larry Correia and Steve Diamond's Servants of War.

Its pretty good. Cliffhanger ending was not entirely satisfying, a person can easily tell its written to be consumed with a sequel book.

Chosen One stories are very well tread ground. Still, the well written variations on the trope that Servants of War has puts it a cut above the rest. Here's hoping the later book(s) don't backslide into the mediocrity so typical of fantasy chosen one stories.

The setting itself scratches an itch I have had for a while: "lowish fantasy, magic WWI military fiction." Sure, there is some stuff out there in that micro-niche, but a lot of it is crap.

The fantasy pantheon is suitably twisted for dark military fantasy. Saying much more would spoil the plot, but it's set up in an interesting way. The setup for how the peoples exist has definitely been done before, but is handled quite well.

Characterization is handled well, this is a welcome addition to the usual military fiction repertoire.

Combat scenes have weight. The writing of the scenes is rather clear, there were no instances of me losing track of the action. Distances seem plausible. Moderate lethality. Overall the Military part of Dark Fantasy Military Fiction, is pretty good. However pretty good should be the bare minimum standard for books focused so much on combat.

  • Did this book rise to my top ten list? No.
  • Is is memorable? Yes.
  • Did I feel like I was wasting my time? No.
  • Would I buy it at full price? No.

Bottom line. A great introduction to a new intellectual property which is not directly derivative of any other particular world. It remains to be seen if the follow-up books drag Servants of War up, like Christopher Ruoccio's Empire of Silence was lifted, or pulled down like so many others.

Edit: Oh, and literal Jewish Golem Magic.
 
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Turk on the lurk

Touch my fez!
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Feb 18, 2021
zulmün tarihi.jpg

Just started The History of Cruelty by Cumhur Ertekin.
 

Someone in a Tree

It's the ripple, not the sea that is happening
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May 25, 2013
I’m currently reading Stephen King’s The Dark Half, but I want to shout out the book I finished before that, The Sweetmeat Saga by G.F. Gravenson. The book reads like an aural collage detailing the disappearance of a fictional twin counter culture music/performing duo. The presentation sort of replicates piecing together a news story by flipping through a bunch of channels. I went in fearing that it would feel like homework, but it was very entertaining.
 

ShoFuKan

Cookies taste pretty good.
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Jun 30, 2021
Oh boy, review time. Temple by Matthew Reilly.
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Matthew is an Australian author who is know for his pretty good action scenes in his book. This was the second book he published way in 1999, I hadn't read it in 20 years and haven't read any of his work in 10 but remember liking this so I wanted to read it again. Also spoilers because this is a 23 year old book.
Basic plot is ancient Incan Idol made of rare material. A plot is William Race going after the Idol while Nazis, another US team and some separatist Texans try to get it. B plot is retelling how the Idol got to where it currently is.
Action scenes are good (Penultimate battle is falling in an Abrams tank 18,000 feet in the air while disarming a bomb), characterization is almost non-existent (the Texans are introduced about 100 pages from the end to replace the Nazis as the bad guys) and overall the book isn't all that bad. Don't regret spending a weekend on it.
Now let me get to why I wanted to talk about this.

1. Plot holes
There are some major ones:
First one is disarming the first bomb the Nazis set up. The disarm code that William enters 11221945, the execution date of a Nuremberg Trial Nazi scientist who escaped. From this sentence you can see the problem, William being American entered the month, day, year but the Nazi being German would enter day, month, year, like any civilized person in the world does. That bomb should have gone off in his face or the disarm code come back false.
Second one is the whole reason the US is sending two teams to retrieve the Idol. According to an inter-department memo signed by the secretary of defense and the President in 1992, one of the armed service branches would be dismantled by 2010. This is pants on head stupid by 1999, it is downright hilarious by 2022. To start with that the invasion of Afghanistan was only two years after this book was made, not to mention the decade long struggle in Iraq two years after that. The fact that the US would dismantle a service branch, which is essentially giving the enemy they encounter an advantage is stupid. Instead of a more reasonable plot point like "We wanted to increase our budget, the Idol made from rare material can justify increased spending in that branch plus R&D", instead it's "The Navy and Army are sending teams to get the Idol separately because who has it will survive into the new millennium."
The idea of the armed services of the US engaged in a cold war against each other for budget spending and launching covert strikes against each other is a really good one, especially considering this was after the Cold War but before Iraq, meaning you could do something like that. Not today though.
So this plot point is bad and the idea basically wasted.
Third one is the villains. First are the Nazis, because of course it's an ancient treasure hunt against Nazis who all get killed. Second one is more weird. It's a Texan separatist group that let in Aum Shinrikyo cult members into their group that spread ideology coupled with a tech based militia called the Freedom Fighters and you have a powerful ad-hoc group who wants to bring about the end of the world. This is only revealed and resolved in the last 100 pages, to call it a waste is an understatement.

2. Fantastical 90s tech
The Nazis use G-11s, all of them. The Texans exclusively use Calicos. Chlorine explosives with the yield of a small tactical nuke. Jetpack armor that is crux for the falling tank. The American's using M-16 rifles, when they were being phased out already by the M-4. That would pick up more traction as Iraq happened.
The Army ambush the Navy team with 2 Comanche helicopters. The Comanche program was shut down in 2004 after spending seven billion dollars.
The department encrypted e-mail for the Army on a secure network is just a dump box. No modern email structure of inbox, spam and the like. I don't know if you've seen Phantasmagoria 2 Game Dungeon? but it was similar to that, each reply generated a new email and you had to search for any relevant email you want to find because the box would be cluttered with thousands of messages.
The Nazis sent their demands for 100 billion dollars using a fax machine. Not kidding. They get a reply from the secretary of defense with the fax entitled:

SECURE FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION

The end has William talking to an FBI agent on a mobile phone he picked up. This was the late 90s, mobiles weren't ubiquitous yet but mobile tech already had the small brick kind and even flip phones by 1999.

3. Red-pill moment.
During the monologue by the Nazi leader, he explains how he wants to devalue the US currency by dumping 100 billion dollars worth 1 cent each onto the stock market, causing it to crash. He actually name drops Geroge Soros, saying he was the cause of the Asian financial crisis. And that's actually true.
"The foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries believed that the well co-ordinated manipulation of their currencies was a deliberate attempt to destabilize the ASEAN economies. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused George Soros of ruining Malaysia's economy with "massive currency speculation". Soros claims to have been a buyer of the ringgit during its fall, having sold it short in 1997."
This book was first published 1999, well beyond the modern conspiracies surrounding him that began to pop up around 2015.

Overall it's not a bad book, quite an interesting one that I remembered for a reason but more focused on the subtext and character than the action these days. Which is fine.
 
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A Wumpa Fruit

bro Im literally a delicious wumpa fruit
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Jun 26, 2021
"Orson Welles en Acapulco o el misterio de la Dalia Negra" (Orson Welles in Acapulco, or the mystery of the black Dhalia)
I love this book so much, the plot is about the Orson Welles movie "The Shanghai Lady" who was filmed in Acapulco, and also about the murder of the black Dhalia, and the transformation of Acapulco, the segregation of the poor people of the Guerrero Coast, and the weird life of Orson Welles

I have to say, the book is awesome and it even has real photos of EVERYTHING, even ancient photos of Acapulco, without Hotels or Buildings
 

Andrew Neiman

I'll cue you!
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Nov 4, 2017
"The Discomfort of Evening" was disappointing.

Currently reading "The Sun Also Rises." I hated "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and sort of wrote off Hemingway after reading it, but this is much better.
 

Cheerlead-in-Chief

"Damn. Grandma's gonna be so angry!"
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Mar 6, 2016
"Notes From Underground" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The first two sentences really grabbed my attention and the Underground Man is compelling despite the philosophical narrative being considered "Doomposting" by today's standards.
Today I renewed the book. First time reading Russian philosophy.
 

AnOminous

I hated Woody Woodpecker and Scooby-Doo.
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Dec 28, 2014
"Notes From Underground" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The first two sentences really grabbed my attention and the Underground Man is compelling despite the philosophical narrative being considered "Doomposting" by today's standards.
Today I renewed the book. First time reading Russian philosophy.
This is a really good multi-layered work with a lot of re-readability. Probably most people read this first when they're at an age they can sympathize with the Underground Man but slowly, you realize if this guy actually existed he would probably be an above-average redditor.

I actually think Dostoyevsky's short works were better than his long works. "The Overcoat" (by Gogol) is another great story that somewhat reminds me of Underground.
 

Jewthulhu

A Rare Deepwater Jew
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Sep 30, 2019
This is a really good multi-layered work with a lot of re-readability. Probably most people read this first when they're at an age they can sympathize with the Underground Man but slowly, you realize if this guy actually existed he would probably be an above-average redditor.
He seems a bit more self-aware than even an above-average redditor. Most redditors have an unwarranted arrogance about them, and communities become circlejerks where their every problem is external and caused by other people or groups (incels blame women, trannies blame terfs, atheists blame Christians, etc.) The Underground Man meanwhile seems aware that his problems are mainly his own fault (his breakdown at the end is the most obvious evidence of this). And while he shows an aspect of arrogance, he also seems to view the same people he despises as better than himself.

PL: I'm admittedly biased and am probably reading too much into it, as the description of the Underground Man, his thoughts and his problems, seemed to match me almost perfectly. It's kinda what fucked me up when I finished reading it.

I actually think Dostoyevsky's short works were better than his long works
Personally disagree. The Brothers Karamazov is one of my favorite books of all time, and while The Dream of a Ridiculous Man is not bad, it also wasn't all that groundbreaking for me either (though I love jokingly calling it "Russian Christmas Carol").