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> Books 2nd Edition, Foreword by m0r1arty
ipse dixit
post Dec 31 2008, 03:14 PM
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QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Dec 31 2008, 02:23 PM) *
Sean Williams

Is he a bit famous? He did the Force Unleashed novelisation. Nice guy.
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Jubei
post Dec 31 2008, 03:27 PM
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QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Dec 31 2008, 02:23 PM) *
I don't know where you get the 'cockney' from!
I meant Jason Statham in Dungeon Siege (the movie) in that he is a character who is a bit incongruous in a Fantasy setting, similar to how Morgans grit and noirish-ness may not sit so easily.

QUOTE (JJJ)
He has passed across my radar now and again, but I always have something else to read, and without a recommendation I have not ventured to put him at the top of the list. I will bear your comments in mind when I'm next looking though!
I would definately recommend. Try out a standalone to see if his writing suits you, but I'm sure it will. I always see his name next to Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks and Peter Hamilton but for some reason never read any of his books.

In fact, as others here seem to like that strand of new british Sci Fi as much as I do, here's a list of authors considered to embody the genre as taken from Wikipedia:

Iain M. Banks, Stephen Baxter, M. John Harrison, Alastair Reynolds, Paul J. McAuley, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton, and Justina Robson.

Also, authors included in a shot story anthology from 2007 on New Space Opera included (I've bolded the ones I've read, and I'd reccomend them all, and I've italicised the ones that are in the previous list as well, so there's plenty more authors there to explore)(I notice Paul McAuley makes both lists so you'll have to tell us if he's any good Adam):

Gwyneth Jone
Ian McDonald
Robert Reed
Paul J. McAuley
Greg Egan
Kage Baker
Peter F. Hamilton
Ken MacLeod
Tony Daniel
James Patrick Kelly
Alastair Reynolds
Mary Rosenblum
Stephen Baxter
Robert Silverberg
Gregory Benford
Walter Jon Williams
Nancy Kress
Dan Simmons

Also the anthology was endorsed by Charles Stross, Orson Scott Card and Joe Halderman, all authors I'd recommend as well/
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widowspider
post Dec 31 2008, 03:48 PM
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I ploughed my way through Ken Follett's World Without End during the Christmas trip to TX, and I really enjoyed it. It's actually a sequel to The Pillars of the Earth which I haven't read, but it works as a standalone book very well.

Set in the early 1300s in Kingsbridge, a small medieval city, it starts with a group of children witnessing a murder in the forest one day. Throughout the rest of their lives, their destiny is somehow shaped and influenced by that day and that action. The characters are wonderfully real - among them are the scheming Godwyn, who dreams of becoming prior of Kingsbridge Cathedral, then archbishop; his unscrupulous assistant Philemon; Caris, the modern woman stuck in a medieval time; Merthin, her long time on-again-off-again love; his brother Ralph, a violent and brutish character; and Gwenda, the landless peasant who dreams of bigger things for her family.

It's a huge book, and has a long and complex plot, but it hangs together beautifully and you never feel lost or confused. I think there are different protagonists for the reader depending on who the reader is; for me, it was all about Caris and her struggle with medieval attitudes about medicine and women, and her longing to be more than just a wife and possession of her husband. But I think many of the characters could be seen as the 'main' character, and that is where it can have a broad appeal.

In all, I highly recommend it, and will be getting the first book too.
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Raven
post Jan 9 2009, 12:25 AM
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JPod, by Douglas Coupland.



After reading Microserfs last year, I've had this sitting in my "to read" pile for a while, and it finally got its turn last week.

I can see why people are selling it as Microserfs 2.0 or Microserfs Plus, as it is essentially the same formula just updated for today's IT culture, but at the same time it is also a lot more surreal, and I'm not sure I really took to that aspect of it.

There is a lot to enjoy - some very insightful observations, and some great humour - but as the book went along I couldn't shake the feeling that Coupland was being a little to clever for is own good - especially when he starts to appear in the book himself.

I didn't dislike it, but it's not as good as I hoped it would be, I'd give it an uncertain 4 out of 5, where Microserfs was a solid 5 out of 5.
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Jimmay
post Jan 9 2009, 10:33 AM
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I'm currently re-reading Day of the Triffids for the first time since I was about 10. I'm pretty sure that the first time I read it I must have skipped over a lot of the wordy bits as there's no way I would have been able to understand, let alone appreciate a lot of the social commentary going on within it.

It's amazing that a book that's over 50 years old is so timeless, which I presume is deliberate. The only telling signs are the very strange attempts at pro-feminism which seem very 50's in their arguement and also one simple line which describes "a short avenue lined with elm trees". It's quite amusing to think that with all the effort that Wyndham clearly went to to ensure that his novel remains in an obscure time period a completely unprecedented event like Dutch Elm disease can place his book quite definitely before a particular moment in time.
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Raven
post Jan 13 2009, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Jimmay @ Jan 9 2009, 10:33 AM) *
I'm currently re-reading Day of the Triffids for the first time since I was about 10.


Good, isn't it?! (If you like it I'd recommend The Kraken Wakes as well, it's not as good as Triffids, but it is still a cracking story none the less!).

QUOTE
It's amazing that a book that's over 50 years old is so timeless, which I presume is deliberate. The only telling signs are the very strange attempts at pro-feminism which seem very 50's in their arguement and also one simple line which describes "a short avenue lined with elm trees".


It's solely the fault of the BBC version of Triffids that I can't imagine the story set at any other time in history than the 1980s, even the fifties are a stretch, although there are plenty of references to collecting coal from station yards etc!

The "Sex is my Adventure" part of the book hasn't aged well*, and whilst it is amusing to read in some ways, it's certainly my least favourite part of the book. Still, it wouldn't be a Wydham novel without some kind of comment on a woman's place in the world!

*Nor have the songs he includes either!
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Jimmay
post Jan 14 2009, 09:38 AM
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QUOTE (Raven @ Jan 13 2009, 07:58 PM) *
Good, isn't it?! (If you like it I'd recommend The Kraken Wakes as well, it's not as good as Triffids, but it is still a cracking story none the less!).



It's solely the fault of the BBC version of Triffids that I can't imagine the story set at any other time in history than the 1980s, even the fifties are a stretch, although there are plenty of references to collecting coal from station yards etc!

The "Sex is my Adventure" part of the book hasn't aged well*, and whilst it is amusing to read in some ways, it's certainly my least favourite part of the book. Still, it wouldn't be a Wydham novel without some kind of comment on a woman's place in the world!

*Nor have the songs he includes either!


I've never seen the 1980's BBC version actually so that wasn't a problem with me. He did mention horse and carts being around every now and again though. I shall have to check out The Kraken Wakes as I tried reading that when I was a kid as well but couldn't get into it, nor The Trouble With Lichen.

I've just started reading Post Office to see what Bukowski is like and so far it's a very easy read but I haven't read enough to pass any judgement yet.
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Raven
post Jan 14 2009, 10:30 AM
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QUOTE (Jimmay @ Jan 14 2009, 09:38 AM) *
I've never seen the 1980's BBC version actually so that wasn't a problem with me.


Oo! Watch it, it's very good adaptation (if a tad dated!).

QUOTE
I shall have to check out The Kraken Wakes as I tried reading that when I was a kid as well but couldn't get into it, nor The Trouble With Lichen.


I still need to read The Trouble With Lichen and The Chrysalids, both of which are on my list for this year (I didn't want to read them all at once!).
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Jubei
post Jan 14 2009, 10:33 AM
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I'm reading free ebooks at the moment, all legitimately published under creative commons agreements. I found one called Ventus by Karl Schroeder first, which was ok, and got me going. Then I tried Earthweb by Marc Steigler, which I gave up on quite quickly. Then read Down on the Farm by Charles Stross, I've read some of his books before and enjoyed them and this was a short (novellette?) on recurring lead Bob Howard called Down on the Farm.

Now I'm reading Blindsight by Peter Watts which was a 2007 Hugo nominee and very enjoyable so far. It's quite hard sci-fi and it seems to be building towards a horror story. 5 crew and a resurrected vampire for a commander, plus their sentient ship, investigating a myserious object that's appeared in the solar system. It's talked, it's threathened and the character who we are following as seen things out of the corner of his eye, bony things. It's a bit cliched but I'm certainly enjoying it so far.

If anyone is interested in getting some legitimate books for free this is a good resource. http://www.freesfonline.de/index.html There's a lot of shorts and novellas, but also a bunch of full novels as well. Just a pity they aren't categorised or rated at all, although you can browse by Award.

This post has been edited by Jubei: Jan 14 2009, 10:34 AM
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Jimmay
post Jan 14 2009, 10:38 AM
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QUOTE (Raven @ Jan 14 2009, 10:30 AM) *
I still need to read The Trouble With Lichen and The Chrysalids, both of which are on my list for this year (I didn't want to read them all at once!).


One of my Mum's favourite books is Chocky so I might give that a go at some point as well. Any opinion on it?
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Raven
post Jan 14 2009, 06:05 PM
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QUOTE (Jimmay @ Jan 14 2009, 10:38 AM) *
One of my Mum's favourite books is Chocky so I might give that a go at some point as well. Any opinion on it?


I do, as I read it last year!

Like all Wyndham, it has an interesting premise at its core, but I would have to say, of all of his books that I have read, this has probably dated the worst. The relationship the father has with his children is particularly amusing, he keeps referring to his son as "old man" and he has no time at all for his daughter, who is constantly being told to shut up!

Overall I'd say it was an interesting read, but it's not one of his best.
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Sostie
post Jan 16 2009, 09:38 AM
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Let The Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist

Vampire "child" moves into a Swedish suburb and befriends the young boy next door. There are some parts that are understandably not included in the film adaptation, and a few additional plot threads and a not as bloody finale as in the film. A pretty fine read and the big screen adaptation certainly does it justice.

Just started reading 17 by Bill Drummond. Has what has become one of my favourite opening lines in a book - I can feel a book coming on. You know, like, when you get the first inclinations you might need a shit.
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maian
post Jan 25 2009, 04:58 PM
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Over Christmas and the last few weeks, I've read George Pelecanos' DC Quartet (The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame The Devil). Fans of The Wire may recognise Pelecanos' name as being that of one of the chief writers on the show, and there is certainly something similar between the scope of that show and the aims of the Quartet. Each book takes place in Washington D.C. during a decade, starting with the 1940s, then going on to the 70s, 80s, and 90s, following the fortunes of the Karras family (father Pete in the first book, son Dimitri in the subsequent ones). Pelecanos' skill is in creating a sense of his city and the atmosphere of the eras in which the books are set; his use of music, in particular, is very effective and helps to place his work in a very specific time and place. Each of the books also has a compelling mix of sex and violence thrown into the mix, so whilst they are all interesting, they're still exciting and fun.

I also read Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, which was simultaneously an hilarious satire on attitudes towards those involved in the Nazi party and a sobering tale of the effect that the main character's actions have on his soul.
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curtinparloe
post Jan 25 2009, 07:38 PM
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Expecting Someone Taller - Tom Holt
Malcolm Fisher accidentally becomes Master of the World when he runs over a badger (actually Ingolf, last of the giants). Based loosely on German mythology (Wotan, Valkyries, Rhinedaughters, etc) and funny with it. I'll be looking around for some more of his stuff.
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Raven
post Feb 1 2009, 11:54 PM
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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami



Japanese author Haruki Murakami writes about running, writing and life in general.

There's something about Murakami I can't quite put my finger on.

His writing style is very lyrical - almost poetic - and to a point it doesn't seem to matter what he is writing about, it is just a joy to read his prose. Perhaps that explains how I came to read a book about running, something I have personally detested since I was forced to do cross country at school.

The book covers a two year period in Murakami's life, and mainly details his preparations for the 2005 New York Marathon, and then a triathlon in 2006. During the course of the book he also looks back over his running history and how it has affected his life and his writing.

Throughout, the book has a gentle, self deprecating sense of humour, and Murakami himself is incredibly modest when talking about his works, but the thing I liked most is that it has given me an insight into the mind of an author whose works I am only just beginning to discover, but am thoroughly enjoying.
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