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August 1st, 2013, 19:03
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
I read Spellfire years ago. Seem to remember that I really enjoyed the characters, especially the knights of myth drannor.
Absolutely! And that's what makes the first couple of books in the series so good.
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August 3rd, 2013, 13:15
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I bought the first one based on your recommendation, so if it sucks, I'm coming for you mister.

Currently working on Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore. Not bad stuff with a few really funny lines, but not really his best book (Fool was bust-a-gut funny to me). Still a hundred pages for it to take off (or crash and burn).
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August 3rd, 2013, 20:19
Excession, from Iain M. Banks' Culture universe. This is Space Opera at its finest.

I'm only a few chapters in and am loving every minute of it. Excession is about the Minds encountering a so-called Outside Context Problem, which made me want to play a 4X or Civilization game again. I love all the terminology Mr. Banks is using — the Culture ships have such cool names (like "Clear Air Turbulence" from Consider Phlebas). Awesome stuff.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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August 6th, 2013, 15:15
As of now perusing "Black Powder War" by Naomi Novik. Novik (who I additionally discovered was a programmer (!)on Nwnou ) succeeds in adding mythical beasts to a well known setting without making it buzzword dream (no mystery, undead, mythical beings et c).

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August 6th, 2013, 17:08
Finished "Snuff" by Terry Pratchett. His best work in several years. Now, admittedly, I'm an easy audience for some of the husband/wife humor, but that wasn't the only source of laughs in the book by a long stretch. Lots of fun and (as usual) some fairly insightful social commentary hiding in the weeds.

I'm still slogging thru my Chronicles of Amber compendium. Up to book 8 now. Gotta say, for stuff that's widely held up as tippy-toppy in the genre, I'm unimpressed. I'll still finish it off, but the lack of enthusiasm is showing. I read the first 3 books together. Took a single book break. Read the next 2 books. Single book break. Read book 6, followed by another break. Snuff was yet another break after book 7 and I'm strongly leaning toward picking another before wading into book 8.

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August 6th, 2013, 17:42
Just finished Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. The idea is interesting - not one I can summarise effectively, but it revolves around a bloke who falls into a space mcguffin with his dog, and can now see the past and the future, but who only materialises at his home once every 50 days, and then only for an hour. The story… well, goes nuts from there on in. The weak point of the book is that the characters are universally dislikable and disposable, but it skips along at a great pace through various wars and crazy aliens etc. I'm not quite sure if I'd recommend it - I quite enjoyed it, but I don't think it will be everyone's cup of tea.
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August 16th, 2013, 14:55
Originally Posted by Nameless one View Post
If you don't like it feel free to curse my name.
Your good name is safe. Enjoying the book a good bit. Funny, though- I'm 450 pages in (of 525 pages) and pretty much nothing has happened beyond introducing the characters and getting them to the same location, and yet I don't even mind it.

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August 19th, 2013, 15:16
Just finished "Blood song" by Antony Ryan.
Such a nice surprise. Highly suggested
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August 25th, 2013, 19:16
Still going through my Sci-Fi phase and arrived at Asimov. I haven't really read anything by him before, except for two short stories. Being a bit of a completist, I decided to follow a suggested reading order for his Robots & Empire works.

I, Robot — fun diversion in the form of a couple short stories that mostly concern Asimov's famous Three Laws of Robotics. I watched the movie bearing the same name originally, but fortunately, besides the name both really were quite different.

Foundation — I had heard so much about the trilogy. Liking it so far. The story seems to have aged rather well and I'm looking forward to reading more.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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August 25th, 2013, 21:08
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Foundation — I had heard so much about the trilogy. Liking it so far. The story seems to have aged rather well and I'm looking forward to reading more.
I had pushed this on my kids a few years ago, and my older son came back to it this summer and totally loves it. The thing I love about it is how it transcends whether or not the tech angle works and gets at the human aspects … and chaos theory and 'big data' and other stuff critical right now.

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August 25th, 2013, 22:05
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Foundation — I had heard so much about the trilogy. Liking it so far. The story seems to have aged rather well and I'm looking forward to reading more.
I just hope you're reading the orignal version and not the horrible, horrible translation by Bergner (an elderly version, but it's still out there somewhere). Fortunately I read the original version before I discovered this, er, gem on my father's shelf. Translator Bergner, well, I suppose he translated the Trilogy sentence by sentence as he obviously hadn't read the books to the end before starting to translate them. One translation error (or rarther, decision) was so serious it broke the story and Dr. Bergner had to fabricate a different ending to still make it all work, somehow.

If you absolutely have to read a German translation, make sure that you read the one by Heinz Nagel. He always did a great job with Asimov.

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August 29th, 2013, 20:55
Foundation is one of the earliest books I read and I loved it at the time. It really is an anachronism of of the young adult writer for young adult reader with just enough to make it charming. The 1980's sequels were good follow ups, showing Asimov mastery of writing, even in a style he hadn't written in in 50 years. There were some sequels written by the Killer B's that read like their own writer's novels rather than Asimov. Their doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for the subject except in the first one.



I finished Starship Troopers after finding the audiobook on Youtube. I did the right thing and bought the eBook. It was pretty good and I hear the movie has absolutely nothing to do with the book. So after that I picked up Stranger in a Strange land, which has about 4 sections to it which makes sense for a book written on and off over 20 years. It started out good but then it ended up being terrible. Its the gospel of the hippy movement and, though it recognizes the ideas have been tried for centuries it fails to predict its spectacular consequences and failure just like its predecessors, instead giving one sided justifications.

I just now finished A Scanner Darkly but Philip K Dick and this is the best novel I've ever written of his. This isn't the mind-numbing style of his earlier novels and I think its because its so real. Apparently, it was gut wrenching for him to write and his 5th wife had to really help him through it. I haven't seen the movie, but I hear its disappointing. Its a harsh book so its not for everyone.

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August 29th, 2013, 21:42
I read Starship Troopers some time back and found it pretty good, too. Stranger in a Strange Land I read about half-way in and then just stopped — couldn't get into it.

Finished Foundation, continuing with Foundation & Empire. A pity the stories are so short and lacking detail compared to what I'm used to now (Culture series!). Well, you could also call it short and sweet. The focus is different from "normal stories" and the subject matter itself is lots of fun!

@Jaz: Sounds awful. Luckily, I'm reading it in English.

With tight deadlines, it's not always possible for translators to read everything before they do the translation. And how should they know what happens in sequels if they are not out yet? The German translator for the Malazan Book of the Fallen also had to make decisions without knowing the full story, but from what I read he could at least ask the author about some things that were unclear.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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August 29th, 2013, 23:25
Asimov foundation stories are almost like mysteries in an interesting sci fi setting. It's fun to see if you can figure out the mystery before the protagonist does.
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August 30th, 2013, 20:57
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
With tight deadlines, it's not always possible for translators to read everything before they do the translation. And how should they know what happens in sequels if they are not out yet?
Schedules might be tight, but research is an integral part of translating. Mr Bergner renamed a character just because … I have no idea why. Perhaps he thought it was uncool, and it WAS uncool, and for a reason at that. His action had serious consequences for the end of the book the character first appeared in, so no sequel problem here. He might have called or written to the author to ask about the name, aye? But, oh well.

I'm really happy when there are translators like Nagel who manage to stay true to the word as long as it's possible and also stay true to the spirit of the original whenever a literal translation is impossible … no matter how good or bad the original text is. One of the later Asimov translators had a tendency to make her translations sound better than the original text. You might say she tried to show off her writing skills instead of her translating skills. I was not too fond of this method, either.

Whoever translated Karen Traviss' first 'Republic Commando' novel has been rather sloppy, I'm afraid. Not only did this person have a rather unique way to interpret German punctuation rules, he also did some literal translations of proverbs and other stuff that made it necessary to try and translate whole passages back to the original languages to get a grasp of what they originally said. The same was true for the person who translated the sequel to 'The Mote in God's Eye' - it was nearly unreadable in German due to heavy use of Babelfish, I'd say.

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August 30th, 2013, 22:34
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Mr Bergner renamed a character just because … I have no idea why. Perhaps he thought it was uncool, and it WAS uncool, and for a reason at that. His action had serious consequences for the end of the book the character first appeared in, so no sequel problem here. .
OK, now I am intrigued … what did he do?

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August 31st, 2013, 02:11
"Nagel" means "nail" in German language, by the way.

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August 31st, 2013, 08:11
Well … he exchanged 'Mule' for 'Fuchs', meaning 'Fox'. The Mule was smart, no doubt about it, but he had chosen his name for a special reason, so the translator had to change dialogs in the revelation scene … which still made made very little sense. Like Thrasher said, Asimov basically wrote very accessible mystery stories, and this was a mystery that would have left me sitting there with three question marks over my head (hadn't I read the original first).

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August 31st, 2013, 10:58
The Mule part is where I'm in right now, and the character does have me intrigued. Otherwise, yes, I guess good translation is an art in itself.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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August 31st, 2013, 13:20
The Mule isn't a symbol for being smart in the German language. It is aymbol for a beast of burden, for an animal that can transport goods.

A similar thing is true for the Jackal : In Germany (and probably in other countries as well), people aren't aware that the Jackal is a symbol for proudness in african cultures. An echo of it can be found in Peter Gabriel's song "Come, talk to me" : "… the jackal, proud and tight …"

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