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> Books 2nd Edition, Foreword by m0r1arty
Jubei
post Mar 25 2008, 10:02 AM
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Just finished Matter. An enjoyable Culture romp, with a particularly sad ending, and a particularly dull epilogue. Normally the epilogues are where Banks ignores the 'hold information back from the reader' rule and reveals all in a few pages, but this one was... not so interesting. Up to that point though the book (and the character in the eiplogue) had been rivetting.
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Jessopjessopjess...
post Mar 25 2008, 10:11 AM
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QUOTE (Jubei @ Mar 25 2008, 11:02 AM)
Just finished Matter.  An enjoyable Culture romp, with a particularly sad ending, and a particularly dull epilogue.  Normally the epilogues are where Banks ignores the 'hold information back from the reader' rule and reveals all in a few pages, but this one was... not so interesting.  Up to that point though the book (and the character in the eiplogue) had been rivetting.
*

I'm still working my way through this, and have found my interest wains every so often. The cutting between story threads really upsets the pace and flow; each time we swap to another set of characters it takes a while to adjust. And it feels padded out at times, like Banks is making a concerted effort to create something 'epic', a Tolkien space-opera. I'll finish soon enough but I'm much more excited about Al Reynolds's 'House of Suns', due next month.
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Jubei
post Mar 25 2008, 10:41 AM
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QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Mar 25 2008, 10:11 AM)
like Banks is making a concerted effort to create something 'epic', a Tolkien space-opera.
*

It certainly isn't anything on that scale at all. Taken on it's own. I suppose he does chuck a fair bit of Culture and pre-Cultre history in this one, which if you take the Culture books as a whole could mean he's fleshing out the canon.
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Jimmay
post Mar 25 2008, 11:02 AM
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I finished reading the Vesuvius Club over the Easter Weekend and thought it was a decent mystery sleuthing book. I might give the second one a go at some point but I've finally gotten hold of a copy of Slaughterhouse 5 which I've wanted to read since I read and subsequently fell in love with Sirens of Titan over Christmas so it will have to wait.
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Outatime
post Mar 25 2008, 11:10 AM
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QUOTE (Jimmay @ Mar 25 2008, 11:02 AM)
I finished reading the Vesuvius Club over the Easter Weekend and thought it was a decent mystery sleuthing book.  I might give the second one a go at some point
*


I didn't think the second one was anywhere near as good. I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to anyone. If you do read it (or if anyone else has) I'd be interested to hear what you think of it.
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rebelstar
post Mar 25 2008, 11:35 AM
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QUOTE (Jubei @ Mar 25 2008, 11:02 AM)
Just finished Matter.  An enjoyable Culture romp, with a particularly sad ending, and a particularly dull epilogue.  Normally the epilogues are where Banks ignores the 'hold information back from the reader' rule and reveals all in a few pages, but this one was... not so interesting.  Up to that point though the book (and the character in the eiplogue) had been rivetting.
*


I enjoyed it, although it certainly isn't up there with his best stuff. I did dig out Consider Phelbas for a re-read afterwards, mind you - I don't think I've read that for about 15 years.

Talking of Iain (not M.) Banks, I've got The Steep Approach to Garbadale in my reading pile, after I'm done with The Flat Earth News.
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Chapman Baxter
post Mar 25 2008, 11:56 AM
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QUOTE (rebelstar @ Mar 25 2008, 11:35 AM)
Talking of Iain (not M.) Banks, I've got The Steep Approach to Garbadale
*


I've just bought that - looks very similar to Crow Road (probably my favourite Banks).
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Jessopjessopjess...
post Mar 25 2008, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE (rebelstar @ Mar 25 2008, 12:35 PM)
The Steep Approach to Garbadale
*

It's pretty good, if a little meandering at times.
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rabbit57i
post Mar 25 2008, 03:18 PM
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QUOTE (rabbit57i @ Mar 14 2008, 09:53 AM)
Right now I'm reading Yes Man by Danny Wallace & I don't know if I should continue or just chuck it. I'm finding a lot of it really stupid. He's insulting our intelligence to think that we would believe that he's really that naive.

However, the book is really well written and very entertaining. And the chapter I read last night actually made me laugh quite a few times. I would be a great book if it was fiction, but to try & pass it off as Non- is the problem.
*


So I finished this and I am glad I didn't give up. I found out that the problem with the whole first half of the book is that there is no conflict. It's just elaborate tales of the (fairly stupid) things he does in the name of Yes. Finally about halfway through, there are a few conflicts and decisions, etc. It becomes a lot more personal and a lot more interesting.
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ipse dixit
post Mar 25 2008, 03:30 PM
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I read Stardust last week, which was fun.

Now I'm reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which a friend has lent me. With Oscar, a young geeky Dominican growing up in New Jersey, as its focus, it flits about on its timeline of the history of his family and the way the 'fuku' (an alleged ancient curse) has played a damning part in all their (love) lives. Littered with Spanish words and phrases, footnotes giving mini lessons in DR history, and plenty of geeky nods (the opening quote is from Fantastic Four: "Of what import are brief, nameless lives...to Galactus??"). Enjoyable so far.

EtA ^ author is Junot Diaz.

This post has been edited by ipse dixit: Mar 25 2008, 03:31 PM
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curtinparloe
post Mar 25 2008, 04:47 PM
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QUOTE (ipse dixit @ Mar 25 2008, 03:30 PM)
Now I'm reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which a friend has lent me.
*


It's on my wishlist, but I'm way too skint right now.
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Starscream`s Gho...
post Mar 26 2008, 01:13 PM
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(If graphic novels don't count as books, feel free to move this...)

DC - The New Frontier - Darwyn Cooke

Sometimes a comic comes along that is so beautifully written, so well crafted, that I fall in love with it. About a year ago, some lovely people (on here) introduced me to Alan Moore's Watchmen - brilliant stuff, even though I was initially resistant (mainly because I'm not a fan of Moore the man).

DC: The New Frontier is an Elseworlds work, set in an alternate universe. Like Watchmen, it works off the premise that most costumed heroes are now outlawed, McCarthy and Nixon deeming them 'un-American'. Most give up the hero business, some (Superman and Wonder Woman) sign up to work for the US government, and some decide 'screw it, no-one's telling us what to do' (Batman).

Now, threats are taken care of by the Blackhawks and Sea Devils, covert operatives comprised of normal humans, with Supes and Diana fighting the wars in 'Nam and Korea.

Sadly, a threat to Earth has come that they cannot take care of. This, along with a strange visitor from Mars, is set to change the world forever...

The New Frontier is not only wonderfully written, it's beautifully illustrated, the stylised artwork of the 50's and 60's it's obvious inspiration. The care and love for the subject matter (which is surprisingly adult in tone, with civil rights, McCarthyism and even race murder on the agenda) is present in every frame.

The heroes depicted in the book are often morally ambiguous, Wonder Woman in particular, who decides that training Vietnamese women to kill the soldiers that slaughtered their children is the right thing to do, against Superman's wishes.

Batman is a bastard; that's as it should be, after all, his is a mission of revenge, it shouldn't be taken lightly, as is often the case in comics.

The light relief comes from J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, brought to Earth by mistake, he has to find his way in a world he finds odd in many ways. A highlight comes when he watches a B-Movie flick, 'Invasion of the Martians'. While the Earthers recoil in horror and disgust at the movie monster, J'onn genuinely believes that this must be a comedy; after all, the effects are terrible, and Martians don't look like that.

It's a work of genius, that every comic book fan should read.
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monkeyman
post Mar 26 2008, 01:17 PM
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That sounds pretty damn awesome.
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rabbit57i
post Mar 26 2008, 07:38 PM
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

This is the story of a 15 year old autistic boy that starts off when he finds his neighbor's dog dead. I found this quite interesting in places because of some of the things that the character says that I can total identify with. The author is very skillful in understanding how autistic people think.
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maian
post Mar 27 2008, 08:53 AM
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Finished Carrie by Stephen King last night and very enjoyable it was as well. A bit rougher round the edges than some of his other books but the strength of the story and King's fluent language is still very engaging, particularly once he gets to Prom Night, which is a lot more violent than the version depicted in the (also great) Brian DePalma film. The framing device was also quite interesting and reminded me of World War Z.
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