Author Topic: Reading Recommendations  (Read 21586 times)

hajen

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #120 on: August 17, 2007, 10:06:16 PM »
I have The Big U and it was okay. I have Zodiac but have never made it all the way through. It wasn't bad, I just didn't stick with it enough. The Diamond Age is probably my favorite Stephenson. I haven't bothered to attempt the very large books he wrote. They may be awesome but I've no patience for the dense (writing).

Cliff's Notes Ayn Rand. Or Wikipedia or something. The less time spent the better.

Heinlein is alternately all right and squicky/annoying as fuck. Stranger In A Strange Land is probably necessary, I mean, in high school it's part of the curriculum in some places. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress is one of his best, I agree.
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TFJ

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #121 on: August 29, 2007, 12:54:39 PM »
gödel, escher, bach

i bet some of you fuckers have read this one.
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random axe

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #122 on: September 02, 2007, 11:59:23 AM »
I've been supposed to read it since high school, but I've never gotten around to it.  I keep hearing it's good, though.

random axe

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #123 on: September 02, 2007, 12:14:57 PM »
I recently finished a few . . . a weird sort-of-alternate-history book called Mysterium, by Robert Charles Wilson.  A whole town winds up transported to an alternate Earth where the New World is 50% ruled by the Spanish and 50% by a Gnostic religious dictatorship.  It's an odd novel, not quite 'about the characters' or 'about the worldbuilding' or 'about the SF' but a mix.  It's good, but it felt like one of those areas needed more emphasis, and I kept waiting for the protagonists to really stick it to the baddies, etc.

It's also about the fourth book I've read this year where Some Really Weird Shit is going on, but the characters don't seem too interested in it.  That wasn't quite as glaring as in Happy Policeman, but . . . the townspeople didn't seem too concerned with how they'd gotten to the alternate world, or what the history and set up of the alternate society were, etc.  Not as concerned as I think most people would be.  Still, it was a good book by an author I hadn't read before.


I also read Cell, by Stephen King, and it was a real disappointment.  The basic premise is fine, but he seems to have gotten bored with it immediately, and he starts fancying it up in ways that really weren't too interesting.  Mostly, it feels like he's going through the motions, almost like he's doing an imitation of his own work.  It seemed rushed and half-baked and derivative.  The characters don't have enough to do, and he overdramatizes events that really don't deserve it. 

Plus . . . and I can't emphasize this enough . . . if you're going to do a story in which surreal things happen in the real world, you have to hit the verisimilitude button as hard as you can.  Either that, or you can go over-the-top and do a story in which surreal things happen in a surreal world.  But you can't have it both ways.  If you want to do a gritty take-this-seriously What If story, you have to think it through.  A hell of what happens in Cell is hugely implausible even given King's premises, and that's just wrong and distracting. 


I seem to have lost the music-and-martial-arts-student-studying-in-China book I was reading, which is pissing me off.  It was quite interesting.  I think it was called Iron and Silk, but I've been so busy that it was like two weeks before I remembered that, hey, I was reading that book, and where did it go.


I'm also reading an SF novel called Barking Dogs, from some point in the mid to late 80s.  It's covered in glowing reviews from all over, but it's sort of pedestrian.  A slightly-future Canadian cop's partner gets killed, and the cop goes on a vigilante spree.  The futurism stuff is mild -- portable lie-detectors and laser pistols, mostly -- and the story, etc, is fine but not outstanding.  I'm mostly mystified by the passion in the reviews, but I'm only halfway through the book.  The only thing wrong with it so far is the protag's 8-year-old daughter, who talks more like a 14-year-old.  Ah, well.

Yesterday, I started Thud!, by Terry Pratchett.

vox8

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #124 on: September 03, 2007, 09:20:41 AM »
>And I just now finished Robinson's Mars Trilogy, which I absolutely loved. Talk about a thought provoking series.

I second the rec. for The Years of Rice and Salt - I loved it. And there is a book of short stories that are set in the same universe as the Mars Trilogy. Possibly that is where Axes 100 page original text ended up. It is interesting just for fill-in

Terminal Cafe - Ian McDonald

I can't wait to see what you think of this one. It is one of my favorites and I haven't really met anyone else who has read it.

Foreigner Series - CJ Cherryh

Fun fun fun

Stranger In A Strange Land - Robert Heinlein (I've heard you guys talking about this one a bit)
Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

These books fall into the category of "books people think that you should read" because they are "Classic Literature". Personally I adore SIASL with all of it's faults included. It was truly groundbreaking when it was written. But you have to be able to get past Heinlein's bizarre sexual issues.

Speaking of Bizarre Sexual issues ... either you love or hate Rand. And I don't know if I would classify them as Science Fiction. Speculative Fiction, maybe. I fall into the Love category. I know it sounds cheesy, but Atlas Shrugged actually changed the way I thought about things. Perhaps it was a confluence of when and where I was in my life when I read it; but it actually made me process things differently. It made me think of things I had never thought of in ways I had never considered.

The Fountainhead - Not So Much. It has much the same thematic issues as Atlas Shrugged, only set in a different context. I feel that Fountainhead is a clumsier treatment of her concepts, and I do not care for the truly violent aspects of all of the sexual relationships in the book. Atlas has the same issues (I think they ms rand had some issues in the sexual arena quite in the opposite direction of Heinlin). The overlaying story in Atlas, to me, is more compelling than the Fountainhead.

The secret to reading either book is when she works her characters into a position of monologuing, say like at a trial or something, you start skimming and skipping entire pages. She tends to get repetitive in her ranting.

>? - Neal Stephenson (are there any of his others that I really should read?)

I'll leave this one to Stephenson fans. I thought Snowcrash was a great ride - but everything else I have read by him = meh.
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TFJ

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #125 on: September 03, 2007, 09:34:07 AM »
I've been supposed to read it since high school, but I've never gotten around to it.  I keep hearing it's good, though.

it is good. some of the propositional calculus stuff is a bit out of my league (at least, for the amount of time i'm willing to spend on it). he uses too many exclamation points!

but yeah it's really interesting.
That almost makes me want a whole in my ear.
Maybe I could stick one in my belly button. - mo
Get rid of the eyeliner, and it's about the same either way. - aXe

NexR

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #126 on: September 03, 2007, 12:59:06 PM »
Thanks for all the recs, all. I've been taking a break for movies atm. I still have to do that script, but that's quick reading, so no big deal.

I'll let you know when I get through a few more.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 01:00:39 PM by FYP »
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Sidious

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Re: Reading Recommendations
« Reply #127 on: September 04, 2007, 12:07:50 PM »
I'll leave this one to Stephenson fans. I thought Snowcrash was a great ride - but everything else I have read by him = meh.

Ugh.  I totally agree.  I attempted for three long weeks to read "Quicksilver" and never got more than halfway through it.
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