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

  1. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    "Sandkings" is great, I agree.

    I may have mentioned this before, but I really like Martin's Wild Cards series better than his Tale of Ice and Fire, which I honestly could never get into (though the TV series is a bit more accessible).
    /edit note the above website doesn't seem to be maintained anymore -- one below seems to be better
    Warning though, the above websites do contain spoilers so try to resist exploring them too deeply if you intend to read the books (which I do highly recommend).

    Also, there is a Wild Cards movie in the works:

    Wild Cards, btw, is VERY loosely based on an ongoing game of Champions (the paper and pencil RPG) which Martin and some friends (also writers) had been playing years ago. At least some of the characters are based on characters that some of the writers created in that ongoing game.
  2. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    You liked Tolkien's fictional filibuster novel? :eek:

    I swear I enjoy watching literal filibusters on CSPAN more than hearing a fictional one like The Silmarillion.
  3. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I had a friend when I was a teenager who thought everything and anything Tolkien was, by definition, faultless. I read the Silmarllion on his recommendation, and it was as dry as a desert. It was like reading the average history textbook by the typical historian, but without the redeeming quality of actual relevance.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved the ring trilogy and the hobbit. But I got the impression that The Silmarillion was not intended to actually ever be read.
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  4. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    I've read through the Silmarillion and liked it /smug
  5. DragonOfTime

    DragonOfTime Member

    You are of course correct to be shocked, I'm shocked that I forgot it myself. It is of course absolutely marvelous. I blame lack of sleep.
    Mr_Strange likes this.
  6. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I finished volume 6, First Shift - Legacy, and it's also really good. It looks like Howey is working on at least 3 more volumes right now. Volume 6 takes place long before the events in volumes 1-5, but it ends kind of where volume 5 ends, but from a totally different perspective. In any case, it explains a whole lot about the silos and their origins (you definitely want to read this starting with volume 1, don't start with the prequel, since it will spoil a lot of the mystery).

    Anyway, Volume 6 alternates between two connected stories, one set in 2051-2052, another in 2110. and the best twist is left for the epilogue.

    Since volume 1 is available both FREE and excellent, there's really no excuse to avoid it, other than illiteracy (and if so, whoever is reading this to you can read that to you as well).

    /edit Oops, sorry. I'm not sure if its free if you only have a kindle reader on your PC or other device -- you may not be able to obtain it with the free reader.
    /edit correction, it looks like you CAN get this for free to read on your PC:
    • Read the first chapter of a book before you decide whether to buy it.
    • Read thousands of free books with a Kindle App, including popular classics like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, and Treasure Island.
  7. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Member

    Manga I've been keeping up with

    Nozoki Ana - basically a dude gets entrapped in a relationship with his neighbor, who is this crazy girl who plays a "peeping" game with him that becomes increasingly sexual and's ridiculous

    Gantz - It's really hard to explain what Gantz is about. I am a bit disappointed with the latest chapters, as it goes more and more into this obscure "meaning of life the universe and everything" storyline

    I am a Hero - Zombie apocalypse manga that centers around a washed up wannabe mangaka (manga artist) and how he matures over time through surviving various crises. It's really creepy in a psychological way..worth reading for anyone who likes that sort of thing
  8. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    OK, so, I don't read much fiction anymore. When I did, it was David Brin's Earth (best book ever) and the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (all of them). The Death Gate Cycle and Xanth. Steel Beach and the Gap Into series.

    But nowadays, I read non-fiction, and I read a lot of it. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to rediscover the amazement of learning that most things you think are, in fact, wrong by reading:

    • Nurture Shock
    • Freakonomics
    • Trust Us! We're Experts!
    • Debt: The First 5,000 Years
    • The 4-Hour Workweek
    • Good Calories, Bad Calories
    • Mindfulness
    • Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)
    • Blink
    • Outliers
    I swear to all that I hold dear that if you read even half of these books, your perspective on some significant areas of modern thought will change radically. Especially Trust Us and Mistakes Were Made. Holy crap, nothing has made me question the value of my family's traditional Libertarian perspective more than those two books. You don't even realize the degree to which the world around you is a carefully-crafted illusion built by powerful people and corporations until you read those two books...and shit yourself.
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  9. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    I could and may make a thread about the illusions of this world that are easiest to see, but it would invariably lead some to bitterly argue against anything I say. Take for example the fact that here in Texas, the summer has no more than a dozen days with any measurable amount of rain, but in a drought, the weather forecasts *ALWAYS* have rain three days ahead.

    People do not want truth. They want happy illusions. I am fine with that. But I really wish there was an option to tune out the illusions altogether and see the horrible world as it is.

    I fully expect someone to argue that the weather forecasts do *NOT* do this. But the "truth" is updated daily into a total fabrication. From there the forecasts are correct more than half the time, but if that were the case, we would not have had a drought.

    I could go on, but this is hardly a book, so I will stop before I provoke a "believer". :)

    BTW, The Cake is a Lie.
    Essence likes this.
  10. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Making my way slowly, but surely, through the first volume (British edition; it's split in two) of GRRM's A Dance With Dragons.
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  11. Loren

    Loren Member

    Yes. People also like to have small things to worry about, to better help them stay blinded to the large issues at hand.

    I am not a meteorologist, but weather forecasts are all trying to make sense of something which is inherently chaotic. It will quite frequently be completely wrong up to the point where he/she is giving the current conditions. With our flawed computer simulations, I would be willing to bet they have difficulty correctly modeling a sustained drought and heat wave.

    The cake is not a lie:
    It was totally in the basement of the facility; you just decided to not assume the party escort submission position.

    To rerail the thread again, when I read, I like cheap sci-fi / fantast trade paperbacks. I try to sift most of my real information out of the internet, so I usually want lighter reading when I am in a situation to use paper media.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  12. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I read a lot of everything -- but talking about non-fiction, I'd recommend the following:

    "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (Adventures of a Curious Character)" -- it's the first part of the autobiography of Richard Feynman (he died before he finished the second part, so that's mostly written by one of his coauthors, and it shows). I'm a bit biased about it, since I've met the guy (he was a professor at Caltech while I was a student there).

    "Brightsided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America" by Barbara Ehrenreich -- She writes about the tyranny of the positive thinking movement. She wrote the book after she recovered from Breast Cancer, and she talks a lot about the history of the positive thinking movement, a lot of the problems and myths regarding positive thinking, and some of the people behind the movement (including one or two who've abandoned the movement).

    "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer -- Michael Shermer, unfortunately, is not always the best writer, but this is his best, most accessible book, by far.
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  13. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    This is not a recommendation, exactly, because I just got the book and won't be starting it until I finish what I'm already reading (Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather, if you were curious). The book I'm talking about is the latest Dresden Files book, "Cold Days" by Jim Butcher. The early reviewers have already given it high marks, so I'm looking forward to reading it. I just wanted to post this since I know that we have some fellow Dresden fans on these forums.

    BTW, Atopia Chronicles is not bad either. I haven't finished it yet, though, and I can't recommend it as much as any of the other titles I've mentioned here. It's an interesting story with interesting ideas about computer-augmented reality, but told in an unusual way, which doesn't work as well as I think the author thought it would. Atopia refers to an independent floating city off the coast of a United States which has been in decline. Check out the description here:
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  14. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    FYI: I did finish "The Complete Atopia Chronicles", and it's not bad, BUT a little misleading, because the story is not actually complete. But I suppose that the next part may not take place on Atopia, so it may oddly turn out to be accurate. There is an end though, just not a final end. I think I'd give the novel 4 or 5 stars IF it were a hundred pages shorter, with less repetition. But it's still worth reading.

    I'm already several chapters into Dresden. I'm not sure where the story is going, but I can say with certainty that where it starts is very unlike any of the other novels (if you read the previous one, you'll understand why -- saying that the changes in Harry's life are big, doesn't even begin to describe it).
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  15. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I did finish reading Jim Butcher's "Cold Days", and it's a really good Dresden book, very enjoyable. I won't give any spoilers (But I am tempted to lol). If you liked "The Dresden Files" or his other books, then you should definitely check it out. The first book in the series is "Storm Front", or you can take a look at the short-lived television series loosely based on the books:

    I haven't decided yet what I'll be reading next, but if it's any good, I'll post it here.
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  16. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I just finished reading the 7th book in the Wool series, and it was just as good or better than the previous ones. I can't repeat too often just how much regard i have for this series.

    The 7th book picks up some time after the end of book 6. It's very difficult to give you a summary of this book without telling you things about the series that are supposed to come as revelations along the way, but I will repeat a summary of the series as a whole.

    Wool is a series of novels each of which tells a series of linked stories concerning a dystopian society in which people live underground in a silo, unable to leave because the outside world is poisonous. People who commit crimes are sentenced to leave the silo to clean the sensors that the silo uses to monitor the outside world. They are given a single piece of steel wool to do so (hence, the title).

    Books 1 through 5 concern the silo, revealing it in all of its gory details, what life is like in the silo, and what happens when people start to learn things about it that they were never meant to know. Books 6 through 8 concern (among other things), how and the why it came to be. There are mysteries to be solved, the chiefest of which is 'why'. Were the people responsible for creating the silo evil or humanity's saviors? Or both? Book 7 SEEMS, at least on the surface, to have answered the remaining questions about why, but knowing the author, I can't help but feel that the 'wool' has been pulled over our eyes yet again.

    The author, Hugh Howie mentions towards the end that books 6, 7, and 8 are to be a trilogy (it was clear that book 6 was prequel).

    Anyway, to be more specific, here's a listing of the actual titles of the individual 'books' in the series. I didn't want to link to the Wikipedia article, since that has spoilers that would ruin the experience for anyone who hasn't read more than the first 1 or 2 'books' in the series.
    1. Wool (July 30, 2011)
    2. Wool: Proper Gauge (November 30, 2011)
    3. Wool: Casting Off (December 11, 2011)
    4. Wool: The Unraveling (December 26, 2011)
    5. Wool: The Stranded (January 25, 2012)
    6. First Shift - Legacy (April 14, 2012)
    7. Second Shift - Order (November 12, 2012)
    8. Third Shift (Forthcoming)
    9. Dust (Forthcoming)
    Volumes 1 is available for FREE here: If you don't have a Kindle, you can always download Amazon's free e-reader here:

    Also, volumes 1-5 are available in a single 'book', "Wool Omnibus Edition"

    Again, if you have any doubts, at least check out the first volume in the series. I'd guarantee your money back if not satisfied, except that it's free.
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  17. Createx

    Createx Member

    Freakonomics is amazing, and the second one, Super Freakonomics, is just as good. I also highly recommend "The Undercover Economist". It's drier and not as funny, and the author really, really loves his free market. He is much more extreme in that than the authors of Freakonomics, but it offered very interesting insights into the thinking of free market advocators, as well as generally being eye-opening.
    I also got gifted "C" by Thomas McCarthy for christmas. It was actually a mistake by my granny since I wanted Cormac McCarthy, but oh well. Very interesting book about a man growing up on the verge of the 20th century, with the advent of the wireless, the first World War etc... It tethered out too much in the end, and the sequences are kind of unlinked, but very much worth a read.
    I also finished China Mievielle's The Scar, brilliant book. Might be my favourite Bas-Lag book actually, since it's much more subtle than Iron Council and not as linear as Perdido Street Station. It also contains tons of new weird creatures in best Mieville style. Probably my favourite living author :)
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  18. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I have a China Mieville story...
    It was the Worldcon where Perdido Street Station was up for best novel. I was in an elevator with my friend who I've frequently gone to these conventions with. Also in the elevator is China Mieville and Hal Clement. Anyway, I had told my ditsy friend this story about how I had purchased Perdido STreet STation, then lost the book. (ok, maybe I'm a bit ditsy also lol) so I hadn't read it by voting time (and still hadn't read it by the time of the convention).

    So my friend, notices this young man's name tag and says "Oh, you're up for a Hugo. Congratulations."
    He's very nice and says thanks. But my friend has to say more, of course.
    He says to me "Didn't you say you voted for it?"

    To which, I of course had to say no... I hadn't even read it... To China Mieville... (Of course, my friend hadn't read it yet either but he failed to mention that).

    China leaves the elevator, and he keeps babbling on and on and Hal Clement (aka Harry Stubbs -- Hal Clement is his pen name) is there so politely listening to him babble, and at one point he makes some comment about how great it is that you run into these famous people at the conventions and they are just like normal people... And Hal Clement is just politely smiling and agreeing.

    After we left the elevator, I had to remind my friend of who it was he was just babbling to...

    It made me feel just a little less awful about the scene with China.
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  19. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    BTW, I never did finish reading Perdido Street STation (I couldn't get through the book, honestly, after restarting it like 3 times I just gave up).

    And Hal Clement is not a very prolific writer, but he's most well known for writing one of the great all-time classics of hard science fiction "A Mission of Gravity". He was (until he retired) a full-time high school science teacher, and only a part-time writer. "A Mission of Gravity" is a book that I do strongly recommend.
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  20. Createx

    Createx Member

    You really, really should, the book descends into full madness and brilliance later on :) Or try The Scar, which is slightly less weird, but equally wonderful and has inspired some items in DoD :)
    I'll check out A Mission of Gravity, I love good hard SciFi. Sadly too many get lost in Technobabble :/
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