Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Createx, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I agree. The first 3 books were excellent, the second 3 were not as good, but still well-worth reading, imho. But yes, they kind of devolved. Part of the problem was that they were getting far too dark.

    I did read one of the more recent ones and it was decent -- not great but decent. My problem is that I LOVED some of the original characters, and a lot of them have either gotten old and gone into retirement or died or simply are no longer the focus of the stories. I DO understand that one of the original characters (one of my favorites -- "The Sleeper", aka Croyd Crenson) plays a part in the latest book. Since he sleeps for many months at a time and goes through frequent metamorphoses, it stands to reason that he wouldn't age normally (if at all).

    My favorite characters included Fortunato, Captain Trips (and company), "The Great and Powerful Turtle", Yeoman, Modular Man, even 'Golden Boy' (aka Jack Braun), Poppinjay, Quasiman, Father Squid, etc. Even loved Dino Boy or whatever he called himself -- the little kid who could turn himself into a miniature dinosaur (Martin still can't get over the public's reaction to what happened to Dino Boy -- he keeps saying 'B...b...but he was just a minor character!!").

    One historical piece of trivia that I think is interesting -- when they were writing the early books (long before 9/11), they decided that they didn't like the World Trade Center so in the alternate history, they were never built. Instead of the WTC, you have Jetboy's tomb which in the series, is a very important NYC landmark.
  2. LionsDen

    LionsDen Member

    Yeah, many of my favorites as well. I also really like the guy that could cut off his finger and jam the stump into a car ignition and control the car. If I remember correctly, that was just a small story but I really liked the idea.
  3. Createx

    Createx Member

    I'm very much in a reading mood right now, yesterday I got the new book by John Niven (The Second Coming) and finished it that night. Yes, I do have problems with sleeplesness :D
    And I just ordered the first Wild Card book, Titus Groan and Riddley Walker and King Rat by China Mieville. Till Titus and Riddley arrive (coming from the UK) I'll have long finished the other ones :D
  4. Darkmere

    Darkmere Member

    I'll just chime in to support Simmons' Hyperion, every Discworld book ever, and Ringworld.

    And I'll add for completion, H.P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary, the Dresden Files books, Stephen King's Dark Tower series (til near the end, anyway), and a scathing four thumbs down for Foucault's Pendulum.
  5. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I should add *almost* every novel (and some of the short stories) by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I got hooked on him years ago, when I was in College, and have enjoyed (almost) everything he's written. My favorites of his include "Mother Night", "Cat's Cradle", "Breakfast of Champions", and "Slaughterhouse 5".

    BTW, the movie version of "Mother Night", while not nearly as good as the book, is still worth seeing, as is the movie version of "Slaughterhouse 5".

    There were two specials on PBS of note that may also be of interest if you can dig them up. The first was called "Prometheus 5, or Between Time and Timbucktu", which was a really excellent film that was loosely based on a combination of a lot of Vonnegut's works (plus they published the screenplay in book form -- I owned a copy once upon a time, but I read it so frequently that it literally fell completely apart). There occasionally has been rumors of it being released on DVD -- we'll see. The highlight of it (for me) were "Bob and Ray" who were hilarious in it.

    The second was a special done for PBS, I BELIEVE on the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII, where both Vonnegut and Joseph Heller were interviewed and honored. Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5", and Heller's "Catch 22" were voted the two greatest novels about WWII ever written.

    And since I mentioned it, "Catch 22" is excellent as well. It includes scenes that range from absolutely hilarious in a "laughing so hard I started to choke" kind of way, and then also has scenes of tragic insanity. The movie version of it is not bad either. But, of course, it's no where near as good as the book.
  6. banjo2E

    banjo2E Member

    Everything ever written by Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, and Terry Pratchett.

    Jacqueline Carey's not half-bad either, but be prepared to receive indulgent looks from anyone who's heard the name.
  7. Createx

    Createx Member

    Oh yeah, Vonnegut is awesome :) Though I enjoyed Slaughterhouse 5 way more than I did breakfast of Champions...
    I might head to the library later on and see what I can find there, as soon as I finish my SF - short story anthology I'm reading right now :)
    Will check out everything else in due time :D
  8. Frelus

    Frelus Member

    My favourites:
    The Bartimaeus Trilogy plus prequel. The humor is simply great, and the story is nice, too. It is a story about an alternate-universe world, where the ruling class in any society of even minor power is usually composed of magicians. These magicians have no own powers, but bind demons to do their will. This story is about the demon Bartimaeus and his exploits in a (seemingly) modern England. The prequel is set in Salomon's times, containing Salomon himself, too.
    The Dresden Files. Currently waiting for my money to buy the seventh book. Kind of mystery/fantasy genre, the main character being a wizard in modern Chicago, earning money as a detective and... It's hard to explain, because there is so much in it ;)
    Skulduggery Pleasant, I just love mixes between fantasy, mystery and detectives (See Dresden Files ;)). This would be kind of like Dresden Files for younger people (teens etc.)
    The Complete Sherlock Holmes. (Hope I do not have to explain this)
    These are the ones I can think of right now...
  9. LionsDen

    LionsDen Member

    Robert Aspirin is another good author, especially if you like the giggles. :) His Myth series is great. Esther Friesner is another good author for fun.
  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    As long as we are talking humor, I have to recommend "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The Antichrist has been born but somehow has been 'misplaced'. It's very funny, definitely reminiscent in some ways to "The Omen". I'm not a big fan of Terry Pratchett, but this book is very funny.
  11. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Oh and back to Vonnegut: one thing I've noticed about Vonnegut readers is that one big bone of contention seems to be his first novel "The Sirens of Titan". I personally love the book, but even though it's his first novel, I would never recommend that anyone start with it since it may be a bit too strange for the average person. I also think his novel "Player Piano" is very underrated, and very atypical. Unlike a lot of his works, it is very straight-forward and in many ways, very traditional. It's definitely science fiction, although odds are you will not find it in the science fiction section.

    Vonnegut very much thought of himself as an author first, and a science fiction author second -- he actually attended a lot of science fiction conventions in his early days. HOWEVER, he hated for his books to be classified as science fiction because, in his words, "I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled 'science fiction' ever since, and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.". He really was not taken seriously as an author so long as his books had the science fiction label on them. But a whole lot of what he wrote, even he would classify as science fiction. But he wanted to be taken seriously, and without the label on him, he was.

    TheJadedMieu and OmniNegro like this.
  12. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I'd recommend it, but only the first half. I liked the undead lady in it (Molly?) but after the first half the book *really* went downhill. It's been a while since I read it, but I just remember being really disappointed with how it turned out towards the end.

    Books I really liked? Huh... that's a hard one.

    Like everyone else here (seemingly, anyway), I'm a bit genre fan. My shelves are full of fantasy and sci-fi, with a selection of Stephen King novels for good measure. I'm not a big fan of Sir Terry Pratchett, either. I find his books to be wildly inconsistent in quality, so whilst you may find a great book by him, it'll be surrounded by a number of much poorer books. For that reason alone I can't really say I'm a fan.

    Um... I dunno where to start.
  13. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    Let's start of by saying I'm very widely read in sci-fi and fantasy, and I'm going to skip repeating already named authors.

    Here's some of my absolute favorites:

    Robin Hobb: Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Soldier's Son series, and more(but I've read those).
    Steven Erikson: Tale of the Malazans: Book of the Fallen. Long series, very gritty, many paralels can be made to George RR Martin.
    J. V. Jones: The Book of Words.

    Alastair Reynolds: Pushing Ice, Revelation Space series, and others. Hard sci-fi.
    Ian M Banks: Culture books. High tech space opera.
    Charles Stross: Halting State. About a bank robbery in an MMO done by orcs in a near future setting.
    William Gibson: You can't have a thread like this and not mention the "Father" of cyberpunk.

    Sci-fi & Fantasy mix:
    C. S. Friedman: Coldfire trilogy.

    Modern Fantasy:
    Larry Correia: Monster Hunter International series, and others. Reads like action movies. Written by a gun enthusiast and B movie afficinado. Pokes fun at fantasy and B movies. His vampires are really monsters, with no redeeming features. His elves live in a trailer park.

    Historican Fiction:
    Conn Iggulden: Emperor series about Julius Ceasar and Conqueror series about Genghis Khan.
    William Duggan: The Great Thirst. About a hero of a sub-saharan tribe in 19th century south africa, at the time of the boer wars.

    John Ringo: Posleen war. Because it may be pulp, but the first 4-5 books are great, and had me in stitches several times, especially the 3rd book in the series.
  14. LionsDen

    LionsDen Member

    I should probably mention Kelley Armstrong. Her first book Bitten I didn't like too much but I found some of the others at a book sale for a quarter each and decided to give her another try. I am glad I did because the following books in that series were very good. It's about werewolves for the first part of the series and branches out quickly from there. I really recommend this series if you like that type of book.
  15. Unicycles

    Unicycles Member

    I've been forcing myself to get through a book every 2 weeks, so I'm definitely going to come by this thread later on when my bookcase is running dry!

    Anyway, gotta say the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series is pretty damn amazing. I find the humour very similar to that which is found in DoD.
    mining likes this.
  16. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I should recommend some really good non-fiction books that I've enjoyed reading:

    "Bright-sided" by Barbara Ehrenbach -- this is book written by a cancer survivor about the 'tyranny' and insanity of the positive thinking movement. Among other things, it gives some very good reasons for not being quite so positive as others would like you to be.

    "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer -- Shermer writes an excellent monthly column for "Scientific American", and also is the editor in chief of "Skeptic" magazine. This book is an analysis of how people come to have strange beliefs in all sorts of things, including conspiracies, ghosts, and so on. I've read other books he's written, but imho, this is his best.

    "The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story" by Richard Preston -- this is the true (although dramatized) story about an Ebola outbreak in Virginia. It may contain some exaggeration, but it's still a great read.

    "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" (2-volumes: Maus I --"My Father Bleeds History", and Maus II -- "And Here my Troubles Began") by Art Spiegelman -- this is NOT a graphic novel -- it is graphic non-fiction. Art Spiegelman was a cartoonist who's dad survived the Holocaust. He interviewed his father and recorded his story in cartoon format. Among other awards, the book won a Pulitzer prize.
  17. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I must confess to being a hardcore geek... but H2G2 does nothing for me now. I've only read the full series (at the time - 5 books) once, many years ago, but I tried again and I just couldn't. I think Adams' stories work better as productions. I also tried the first Dirk Gently book last year and it was, for me, dire.

    Last night I continued with my flirtation with the classics and started Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination. Too early to say what I think, though.
  18. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Alfred Bester is great. You should check out Bester's "The Demolished Man" when you are done.

    I also kind of agree about Hithchikers to some extent -- the first book is great, the second is decent, and the third is so-so. And they don't live up that well to repeated readings. I read them when I was younger, and tried to reread them recently, but couldn't get through them. I still have never been able to finish the last one or two books in the series as I tend to get bored by then.
    mining and Zombie Dachshund like this.
  19. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I'm waaaay behind on the classics. The Demolished Man, for now, will likely have to wait. Still have Brave New World, Foundation, Dune and The War of the Worlds to go, and that's not counting everything else on my shelves.
  20. Unicycles

    Unicycles Member

    That's a real shame. This is my first read through then and I'm finding it all so refreshing from the glum stuff I tend to read. I'll confess to only being introduced to Adams through the most recent movie though. I've never looked into the radio show or original production.

    Edit: ninja'd. Regarding the above, Brave New World is a really interesting book. It's up there in my favourites along with 1984. The two are rather different, however.