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February 23rd, 2009, 02:58
Just finished Terry Goodkind's Confessor.

It was better than his last book, he didn't seem to repeat himself over and over again, until the very end of the book. Plus I just don't understand some of the things that happened at the end or the reasoning behind them. It seemed he got lost in tryin to get his moral message across that he forgot how to tie the story together.

I still think he is a great author but truth be told I didn't like anything he wrote past The Naked Empire. Chainfire and beyond is either too confusing or too much is repeated. How many times did Kahlan have to go missing in the Sword of Truth series? Couldn't he think of something else towards the end? And his wizard's rules which I always liked and always made sense in a cool sorta way, seemed to dissapear after The Naked Empire. The Rule in this book was the most dissapointing of all. It's like he wasn't even trying anymore.

To sum it up Terry Goodkind great author up to The Naked Empire. You could go ahead and skip the rest if you wanted, believe me you won't be missing much.

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February 23rd, 2009, 12:54
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Definitely for the intelligent child and parent. One of my son's favorites(he was in the pre-Harry Potter era—and also a big Tolkein fan like his mater)—and very rich in the English language.
Here's the wiki
The Phantom Tollbooth
Looks great! Nice to see the Alice in Wonderland comparisons, I read Alice in Wonderland a while ago after it got mentioned a bit in a Robert Anton Wilson book, and reading it as an adult with some experience with psychedelics it took on a whole different light . . . . I think the allegations that Carroll used Ergot (the natural substance from which LSD was derived) were probably spot on, along with his massive cannabis habit.

With all the really great children's books out there I'd be disappointed if my children didn't grow up to become readers.
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February 23rd, 2009, 16:03
Originally Posted by spars View Post
it'd be exciting to read some sci-fi where there was more serious theory being discussed or characters arguing the politico-historical relevance of real events in a meaningful way. I'm not a marxist but I would jump on some sci-fi that expressed the conflicts of marxist dialectics. Suitably bore others to tears but if some marxist sci-fi could be written in a literary format similar to dostoyevsky…
Spars, found an old interview with China Mieville discussing fantasy & socialism that I thought might be of interest to you, also has a list of ten recommended sci fi / fantasy novels with embedded political messages that might be of interest from a socialist perspective. link

Snip:

JN: Why has fantasy literature so often appeared to be conservative with a small 'c'?
China: The quick answer to why fantasy looks so conservative is that for a long time a huge amount of it has been. If you look at stereotypical 'epic' or 'high' fantasy, you're talking about a genre set in magical worlds with some pretty vile ideas. They tend to be based on feudalism lite: the idea, for example, that if there's a problem with the ruler of the kingdom it's because he's a bad king, as opposed to a king. If the peasants are visible, they're likely to be good simple folk rather than downtrodden wretches (except if it's a bad kingdom…). Strong men protect curvaceous women. Superheroic protagonists stamp their will on history like characters in Nietzschean wet dreams, but at the same time things are determined by fate rather than social agency. Social threats are pathological, invading from outside rather than being born from within. Morality is absolute, with characters—and often whole races—lining up to fall into pigeonholes with 'good' and 'evil' written on them.

Although an awful lot of books do fit that stereotype to various degrees, it's important to remember that you're not talking about fantasy in general here, but about a particular historical stream within it—a stream which has got massive since the 1960s. You also have to remember that many works within that tradition question or undermine its more conservative aspects. However, it is true that the hold of that conservatism is strong in the genre, and it's also true that that particular post-Tolkien stream is what most people these days mean when they talk about 'fantasy'.
Last edited by Benedict; February 23rd, 2009 at 16:14.
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February 24th, 2009, 07:07
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Not on a political bent but have you read anything by Jeff Vandermeer? About the only fantasy writer who ever really seems to give much thought to the arts and cultural scene in a fantasy world. City of Saints & Madmen & Shriek particularly.
yeah, that was the first author I looked into after reading china's perdido street and was sort of bored with it halfway through. I had a nice second edition copy but something else was more interesting at the time.. I think that may of been naguib mahfouz actually.. at any rate, I remember being ill focused while reading it and may benefit from another attempt.

It's apparent to me that I should look into banks' culture series and le guin's left hand of darkness/ the dispossessed and maybe give ken mcleod another chance. I've been told one of the latter's science fictions contained this little gem, "After we abolished capitalism and the primitivists died out… "

About delany though, I've only read dhalgren, they fly at ciron, and the short story collection driftglass. I think they all sort of have different intentions or at least different forms for expressing intention or I recommend all three but not all three together. Plus, it's been some time since I've read driftglass so it's not really fair… I would read triton and tales of neveryon, probably starting tomorrow, if I had them.
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February 24th, 2009, 12:13
Originally Posted by spars View Post
About delany though, I've only read dhalgren, they fly at ciron, and the short story collection driftglass. .
I'll give those a go then, Babel-17 was definitely above average so he's earned another read of something else.

On Jeff Vandermeer I found him hard to get into a bit at first but once I got into the mindset I absolutely loved it, he's really tried to do something different, especially with City of Saints & Madmen. Although some of the things are bit hard to read.
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February 24th, 2009, 12:19
Just read Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle. It's a "graphic novel" about the year he spent in Burma with his wife (a doctor working for Doctors without Borders) and young son. I liked it a lot.
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February 24th, 2009, 13:50
Anyone interested in real scifi should check out the
"Revelation Space" books by Alastair Reynolds.


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February 24th, 2009, 14:15
Just finished a Michael Frayn book . . . . can't remember which one, not as good as The Tin Men by him though which is a hugely underappreciated novel that everyone should read.

I've got Dr Neruda's Cure for Evil in my bag at the moment that I'll be cracking open on the way home tonight
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February 24th, 2009, 15:03
I continue to be amazed that Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy doesn't even get a mention in these discussions. Am I missing something? I don't generally read sci-fi, so perhaps my experience is too limited to properly judge.

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February 24th, 2009, 22:07
Others have done it better!! ERB is the 'classic' Martian series.

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February 24th, 2009, 22:12
Too much school atm. Made a exam about the atom today, have to write a review on an article about Darwin until tomorrow then next week I have two exams, one on critical thinking in history as well as perspectives on history, the other on the justice system. The week after that I have an exam on the environment.

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February 25th, 2009, 05:13
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
I'll give those a go then, Babel-17 was definitely above average so he's earned another read of something else.
Have to say though, that seems a motley selection of delany. They Fly at Ciron was actually his first novel, and it reads thus, but it didn't get it's own printing that satisfied delany until the early nineties (after many revisions it seems). He supplies this background for the introduction to the paperback. While dhalgren is considered by some to be his magnum opus - it certainly has this particular feel. His literary conciousness appears much 'higher' here for sure. The stories of Driftglass all sort of fall in between these two works.

Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I continue to be amazed that Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy doesn't even get a mention in these discussions. Am I missing something? I don't generally read sci-fi, so perhaps my experience is too limited to properly judge.
Sure, I've heard much about Robinson too. I haven't read any as of yet though. Typically, I lose interest in hard sci-fi rather fast and this what I hear often about KSM. Certainly I'd like to read his novella sized work as I'm not desiring delving into anything more.
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February 25th, 2009, 13:59
W00t! My brother has found a publisher for his third book

I suspect he's lying about the content though.
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February 25th, 2009, 13:59
Originally Posted by spars View Post
dhalgren is considered by some to be his magnum opus -
Cool, sounds like the best one to have a go at then I thought Babel-17 had aged better than a lot of sci-fi from that era.
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February 26th, 2009, 07:21
I was never able to finish Dhalgren, but some of his shorter stuff was brilliant.

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February 27th, 2009, 00:11
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Spars, found an old interview with China Mieville discussing fantasy & socialism that I thought might be of interest to you, also has a list of ten recommended sci fi / fantasy novels with embedded political messages that might be of interest from a socialist perspective. link
Hey, I appreciate this. I find myself agreeing with him in regards to Tolkien and can appreciate his attempt to make distinctions when speaking of escapism. It seems apparent he recognizes a certain complexity there.

His list at the bottom reminds me of another list I've seen of his with similar intentions but expanded to fifty works. here
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February 27th, 2009, 13:42
Originally Posted by spars View Post
Hey, I appreciate this. I find myself agreeing with him in regards to Tolkien and can appreciate his attempt to make distinctions when speaking of escapism. It seems apparent he recognizes a certain complexity there.

His list at the bottom reminds me of another list I've seen of his with similar intentions but expanded to fifty works. here
I think a few writers have put the boot into tolkien as well, my brother's blog has another couple of links (moorcock & Morgan).

Excellent list One jumping out there that I'm surprised I didn't mention earlier - Gormenghast. There was a good documentary on BBC4 about fantasy & its history and it highlighted two very distinct strands of fantasy, Tolkien influenced & Mervyn Peake influenced, had some good interviews with authors talking about their influences and Gormenghast was a hugely significant work. Never got the mainstream appeal of tolkien (and indeed the works that followed it have never done as well as the "high fantasy" stuff), but a truly fantastic book that got widespread appreciation.
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March 5th, 2009, 20:32
Just finished Swamp Thing, volumes 1-6, lent to me by a friend. I thought they were OK, although not of the same caliber as Sandman or even Lucifer — Alan Moore has less range and tends to repeat himself.

He also lent me Moore's Voice of the Fire. I tried getting into that, but have thus far failed. It reminds me of the later work of Michael Moorcock, except that it's even more opaque. I'll give it a couple more tries before deciding if it's for me or not.
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March 6th, 2009, 11:34
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Just finished Swamp Thing, volumes 1-6, lent to me by a friend. I thought they were OK, although not of the same caliber as Sandman or even Lucifer — Alan Moore has less range and tends to repeat himself.

He also lent me Moore's Voice of the Fire. I tried getting into that, but have thus far failed. It reminds me of the later work of Michael Moorcock, except that it's even more opaque. I'll give it a couple more tries before deciding if it's for me or not.
Above average for the medium but nothing really special. I don't know if you'd like any of Grant Morrison's work but I thought a lot of that was quite good, particularly Doom Patrol and The Invisibles. Along with Garth Ennis for Hellblazer or Preacher.

Not read Lucifer, or even heard of the writers, is it any good?

On the alan moore note, who's looking forward to the Watchmen movie?
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March 6th, 2009, 12:48
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
On the alan moore note, who's looking forward to the Watchmen movie?
I'm hearing it should be called 'WatchMEH'.

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