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Wed Apr 10 2013, 05:34PM

Steam Alias: lexicalpedant
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I need to start noting the pluses and minuses of authors and novels I'm reading, so I figured I'd start a thread. I'll try to keep it spoiler free, and talk more about general style/character composition oriented elements.

Next up:
Robert Heinlein - Starship Troopers (Yes I've read Stranger multiple times, and yes I want to know about any other amazing books he's written) &
Susanna Clark - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell(thanks for the reminder, Sudo)

Last read:
Sara King - Forging Zero: The Legend of Zero
Sara King - Zero Recall
Sara King - Outer Bounds:Fortune Rising
Recommended by: Stumbled upon on Amazon recommendations because of all the Gibson stuff I'd read. Seriously, that shit is hijacking my reading selections, can't believe I'm reading this much sci fi.
Long/Short: ~500 pages each, I think.

The gist:
Zero series - Aliens finally come to earth, include earth in intergalactic congress, and take most of the children to enter into the military for a 3 year term. One kid is hero-material, and stumbles through some amazing shit.

Fortune series - Also space-bound setting, a planet has been discovered that has local fauna that produce intellect enhancing yolk in their eggs. The space government basically enslaves every citizen and turns the planet into a farm. Rebellion ensues.

Yay/Nay: I'm really, really, really not usually a big sci fi fan, but I've been on a tear of finding good authors lately. This woman has the best fucking knack for character development I've witnessed since GRRM. The story and setting is almost arbitrary, though well thought through and with most loose ends tidied up. The real draw is the cast of protagonists and supporting characters. I really can't think of how to describe this, but it reminded of Ender's game with a more mature perspective.


Old reads:
William Gibson - Count Zero & William Gibson - Mona Lisa Overdrive
Recommended by: Jerk told me there were 2 other books that followed Neuromancer, so I decided to run through those.
Long/Short: 260 & 322, respectively

The gist: Fast forward 7-15 years after the events of Neuromancer. AI's are now allying with human scientists and console jockeys, propelling some areas of technology from behind the scenes. The last Tessier-Ashpool is still kicking, and getting jealous of a human chick who's dad implanted her with a sort of human-based access point for the AI's.

Yay/Nay: It was kind of interesting seeing where Gibson took this, but honestly I felt like he just took the same plot as Neuromancer and recycled it 2 more times. Not my favorites, but not terrible, either.

Matt Ruff - Set This House in Order
Recommended by: No one, found Ruff's Fool on the Hill about a decade ago and loved it. Followed up with Bad Monkeys, liked it just as much. Just been slow about reading the rest of his stuff.
Long/Short: 500 pages, took me a couple days, i'd go about 100 pages at a time before I could pull myself out.

The gist: The protagonist has Multiple Personality Disorder, and has (with the help of a forward-thinking psychiatrist), built a mental geography complete with a lake, island, ferry, and house -- to contain his fractured selves.

Yay/Nay: Holy shit yes. I have little experience reading about or encountering MPD, and I don't take this book as a reference on what it's really like. That being said, the way Ruff lays out the experience was mind blowing. I never even considered some of the ramifications of what people with this disorder experience, or how they manage it. Of course, it's fiction, and there's a story to be told, too. Ruff spends plenty of time orienting you to the life/perspective of an MPD, then the second half of the book takes off on a caterwauling adventure between the protagonist and another character he meets with MPD. Highly recommend, while it gets somewhat dark, it was a very, very original type of read for me. Which is typical with my experience of Ruff in general.

William Gibson - Pattern Recognition
Recommended by: No one particular, heard great things about anything Gibson's done, had already read Neuromancer last month.
Long/Short read: 380 pages, not the fastest pace, but it doesn't quite drag either.

The gist: A young advertising consultant (who has a weird psychological aversion to bad logos and serves as a human litmus test for logo and design concepts) is drawn into the mystery surrounding a series of short clips from an anonymous creator that have built up a huge following online.

Yay/Nay: Not quite cyberpunk, but definitely encroaching into sci-fi, this one was a little slower than Neuromancer, but still provided a very satisfying conclusion. I'd definitely read Neuromancer first and pick this up if you're digging Gibson's style.

Rob Reid - Year Zero
Recommended by: Cyrus (had been on my kindle wishlist for a few months for similar books I'd ead)
Long/Short read: 380 pages, I read it in 4 big chunks basically, story really draws you.

The gist: Human music is the pinnacle of achievements among intergalactic arts. Aliens realize they've been infringing on our copyright law since the 70's, and now owe humanity the wealth of the universe. A human copyright lawyer has to help the aliens figure out a way out of this mess.

Yay/Nay: Hell yes. Great pace, characters are great, humor is on the spot. You could have a lot of questions left after the book ends, but the author did a good job of explaining elements vital to the plot, and didn't introduce a bunch of fluff that would distract you.

[ Edited Tue Apr 30 2013, 12:25AM ]
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Wed Apr 10 2013, 06:25PM

Steam Alias: the hoblaster
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This is a great idea for a thread. I want to finally prove to everyone that I'm literate and not secretly a cadre of a thousand monkeys eventually turning random letter-typing into quasi-coherent thread replies.

Currently am reading: Book Three of the Genghis Khan "Conqueror" series and it's quite fantastic. Pretty cool semi-non-fictional look into a person I knew absolutely nothing about. Also I'm about halfway through Camus' The Stranger, which I picked up recently after realizing I had never read it. It's a quick read and makes me want to kill myself. =C If I can, I'll try to read two books in the same timeframe, especially if one is a slow read.

Books recently finished: Both books of the Kingkiller Chronicle: -- Well-written fantasy. Very compelling protagonist. Meanders here and there. Such a great first two books from a writer who has set the stage for a long and great career in fantasy.

Next up I will be reading non-fiction for a change. Dancing Wu Li Masters or People's History of the United States's_History_of_the_United_States , or maybe Roger Ebert's autobiography LIfe Itself because I've been reading his reviews and articles since I was a kid and it would be nice to reflect on a truly amazing life and career. THEN I'll pair that with a classic I've never read because I'm on a "classics" kick. Probably Candide by Voltaire or Dante's Inferno. Never read those in my life and I think that's way overdue.

I love to read. Recently moved right next door to a Barnes & Noble too. HIgh-five, nerds!

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Thu Apr 11 2013, 04:33AM

Steam Alias: Same as here (usually)
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Lex, if you've read Neuromancer and are jumping right to Gibson's later work without finishing The Sprawl Trilogy you're doing yourself a great disservice. Neuromancer might be the worst of the three, and it's one of my favorite books of all time.

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Thu Apr 11 2013, 05:23PM

Steam Alias: Natascha
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Probably one of the best suspense novelists of my time for sure, Greg Iles... The Bone Tree: Unwritten Laws is next on my list.. I've been waiting almost 3 years for this book, but unfortunately Greg was involved in a very serious car accident and almost lost his life. I have about another year until it will be finished, and ultimately turned into a two part series, but I'm happy to know that it will be.

His books are world famous, and I thoroughly enjoy them. Some are historical fiction and have unrelated characters, but many of the novels are tied together, but all unique and twisted stories of their own. Most of them take place in Natchez, MS and New Orleans, LA.

I have to say, if you are at all into thrillers or suspense novels you will definitely love his books. I can literally finish one of his books in a day if I am given the time, just because I can't put it down.

First.. The Quiet Game - Penn Cage, star of this novel, returns home to find his father being blackmailed by an ex-cop who was corrupt. He meets a journalist Caitlin Masters to investigate the blackmail and finds a history in the town he never knew about as a child. His whole family is trapped in a web of lies and betrayal.

Second.. Blood Memory - Cat is a forensic odontologist who specializes in bite marks on murder victims, which drives her to drinking. She starts having panic attacks, and while investigating a murder she passes out on the victim and is suspended from the FBI. She starts having nightmares, amidst a fight with her married lover, so she returns home to Natchez and finds herself investigating her fathers death, and discovers a secret that will change everything about the case in New Orleans. She will unlock horrors from her past that will ultimately unlock another mystery in Natchez.

Third.. Turning Angel - The Peyton Place phenomenon, in which a small town that once embraced a writer, turns on the writer for writing a novel about what the town believes to be its darkest secrets.. this novel speaks on the secret lives of high school girls having affairs with much older men, and this time, one comes up dead, and fingers are pointing to the best friend of Penn Cage, and he finds himself once again caught in the deception and betrayal.
Greg Isles uses the landmark statue The Turning Angel as a symbol. At night when cars drive by on Cemetery Road their headlights shine upon the monument and to some it's head appears to turn as their car passes by.

Mortal Fear, Dead Sleep, 24 hours, Sleep No More, Third Degree, The Devil's Punchbowl and The Footprints of God have their own stories, but are just as addicting. There is some disturbing content.. it is quite real, and that makes it all the more enjoyable.

Also noteworthy, 24 Hours was somewhat rewritten, and then turned in a movie called Trapped, which as any good reader knows, was WAYYY better as a novel. The movie was a B- at best, but I attribute it mostly to the director Don Roos who was probably an idiot, and even Iles has mixed feelings about the film.

If you enjoy historical fiction or books set in times of war, you will really enjoy Black Cross and Spandau Phoenix, as they are both set in World War II, and since he was born in Germany, his influence of WWII was quite unique on his inspiration for these two novels. Even though Black Cross was released after Spandau Phoenix, you should read Black Cross first, as its a prequel, but it deals with real-life themes and really gives you a unique perspective of the horrors that occurred in Germany during WWII..
Unfortunately I have a hard time dealing with war and violence, so I wasn't able to finish Spandau Phoenix and didn't buy Black Cross. Now that I'm a bit older, I might give it another go..

Aelus, I think you would really enjoy Footprints of God, if you enjoy fiction, as per our last conversation about The Last Question. Obviously its fiction, so its clearly far-fetched, but none-the-less, a very enjoyable read.

[ Edited Thu Apr 11 2013, 05:47PM ]
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Thu Apr 11 2013, 07:21PM

Steam Alias: lexicalpedant
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ProfessorJerk wrote ...

Lex, if you've read Neuromancer and are jumping right to Gibson's later work without finishing The Sprawl Trilogy you're doing yourself a great disservice. Neuromancer might be the worst of the three, and it's one of my favorite books of all time.

Whoa, did not realize it was part of a trilogy. I'm already half through the Matt Ruff book I started yesterday, so I'll queue those up next.

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Fri Apr 12 2013, 07:29PM

Steam Alias: lexicalpedant
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Updated main post to keep some organization intact.

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Sat Apr 20 2013, 09:11PM

Steam Alias: lexicalpedant
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Sun Apr 21 2013, 06:37AM

Steam Alias: WD!!! Drake
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lexicalpedant wrote ...

ProfessorJerk wrote ...

Lex, if you've read Neuromancer and are jumping right to Gibson's later work without finishing The Sprawl Trilogy you're doing yourself a great disservice. Neuromancer might be the worst of the three, and it's one of my favorite books of all time.

Whoa, did not realize it was part of a trilogy. I'm already half through the Matt Ruff book I started yesterday, so I'll queue those up next.

The first book is by far the best. The second, Found Zero, takes a while to work up into a story and the characters aren't as memorable. Same with the last: very slow and lack of direction. If you enjoy Gibson's style of writing and the universe you'll like the book just don't expect Neuromancer.

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Sun Apr 21 2013, 07:14AM

Steam Alias: [BONG] Caboose
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Fucking smert peeeple and your big fancy books you reads!

Most books I read are wrestling autobiographies or World of Warcraft novels. I have such an amazing choice of books I know. -1/10

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sudo kill -9
Sun Apr 21 2013, 09:19AM

Steam Alias: [BONG] sudo kill -9
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In my top 10 fantasy books of all time. This was her first novel, and she's currently working on the second sequel (been working on it for the past 5 years now :-\.)

Highly recommend.

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