|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Off-Topic » What are you reading ?

Default What are you reading ?

August 3rd, 2007, 17:22
You can download _A Study In Emerald_ as a PDF from Neil Gaiman's website: [ http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/…s/emerald.pdf/ ]. Legally. :-)
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#221

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

August 5th, 2007, 16:16
I'm reading Jim Butcher's Dresden books right now.
Gig is offline

Gig

Gig's Avatar
Watchdog

#222

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: I am a citizen of the now, with a commanding view of the soon-to-be.
Posts: 237

Default 

August 5th, 2007, 17:56
In regards to Lovecraft… I'm a big fan, have been for a long time, and I utterly love all that early 20th century weird fiction. Lovecraft, Blackwood, Derleth, C.A. Smith, R.E. Howard… Just fantastic. Once upon a time I ran a discussion list dedicated to that sort of thing. I disagree with PJ's assessment that the stories are badly written and only worth reading so you can catch the pop culture references. Lovecraft's prose is certainly a rich purple, but he does successfully convey the horror, mystery and overwhelming madness required for the tales. And the pop culture references we see now are so far removed from Lovecraft's intentions of his stories as to be utterly disconnected and meaningless.
Also, while Lovecraft is most known for his Cthulhu mythos, his other stories (and the bulk of his canon) are, I think, much better. And a lot of that mythos was actually realised by Lovecraft's friend and author August Derleth. Dertleth took it all after Lovecraft's death and put it into an organised codex of sorts and wrote a number of pastiches based on that content. Lovecraft himself never saw it all like that, it wasn't mean to be ordered and such.

Gaiman's A Study In Emerald isn't very good, surprisingly. He basically took Doyle's A Study In Scarlet and revamped it, with pretty poor results. Gaiman is largely much, much better than what he wrote in that story, but then I'm also a big fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I suppose with that story my expectations were just too high, the combination of three of my favourite authors just couldn't fulfill what I imagined

Gig - how are the Dresden books? I really liked the short-lived TV series.

Currently I'm reading The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, the second Dirk Gently book by Douglas Adams. I read both books when they came out (the first in 1987 - I bought my copy of the first book at a reading Adams did in Toronto and I got it signed) and I thought 20 years later is probably a good time to re-read them both.
Brilliant stuff, and better than Hitchhiker's.

Also reading The Enemy Of The World, a novelisation of the Doctor Who serial of the same name (2nd Doctor). Last summer I went into the local used book shop and they had stacks of the old novels (first through to fifth Doctor) so I bought them all. The funny thing is, I went in to sell books becasue we were moving into the house we had just bought and were trying to reduce the collection a bit. Didn't quite work out.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
Last edited by Gallifrey; August 5th, 2007 at 18:07.
Gallifrey is offline

Gallifrey

Gallifrey's Avatar
Keeper Of Traken

#223

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 658

Default 

August 5th, 2007, 18:22
I'm reading Alastair Reynolds. My fav hard scifi author.
I'm finishing "Pushing Ice" and next up would be "The Prefect" and the
"Galactic North" short story collection I bought recently.

Great stuff.
Zakhary is offline

Zakhary

Zakhary's Avatar
Noble Savage

#224

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: The Frozen North
Posts: 1,044

Default 

August 5th, 2007, 22:47
I'm currently reading

- "Neurosis & Human growth : The struggle for self-realization" by a Karen Horney
- "Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra", a small magazine-like printing about the ancient sky disc of Nebra.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#225

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 16,062

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 00:38
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
In regards to Lovecraft… I'm a big fan, have been for a long time, and I utterly love all that early 20th century weird fiction. Lovecraft, Blackwood, Derleth, C.A. Smith, R.E. Howard… Just fantastic. Once upon a time I ran a discussion list dedicated to that sort of thing. I disagree with PJ's assessment that the stories are badly written and only worth reading so you can catch the pop culture references. Lovecraft's prose is certainly a rich purple, but he does successfully convey the horror, mystery and overwhelming madness required for the tales. And the pop culture references we see now are so far removed from Lovecraft's intentions of his stories as to be utterly disconnected and meaningless.
Hardly *only* worth reading for the pop culture references — I didn't even say that. My problem with HPL's prose is precisely that it falls flat just at the worst possible moment — usually the build-ups are great, but just when things come to a head, he vomits out a huge puddle of adjectives, which pretty much ruins the atmosphere. So for me, he fails to convey the horror, mystery, etc. There are a few exceptions; The Color Out Of Space for example.

Compare with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is even a bit older: the subject matter is much more conventional, but that book is written so well it still scares the willies out of me. There, all the Gothic horror is in the story; the dry, almost matter-of-fact writing makes it that much more effective.

[QUOTE]Also, while Lovecraft is most known for his Cthulhu mythos, his other stories (and the bulk of his canon) are, I think, much better.

Which ones do you mean? It so happens that my favorite HPL story is not a Mythos one; it's "The Rats In The Walls," as it happens. But he really didn't write that many non-Mythos stories, other than the Dunsanian stuff (Dream-Quest of Ancient Kadath and so on), and I thought those were *really* lame.
Gaiman's A Study In Emerald isn't very good, surprisingly.
I believe you're in the minority with this opinion. I certainly enjoyed it a lot; IMO it's among his better short stories. But yes, he is a very uneven writer.

He basically took Doyle's A Study In Scarlet and revamped it, with pretty poor results. Gaiman is largely much, much better than what he wrote in that story, but then I'm also a big fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I suppose with that story my expectations were just too high, the combination of three of my favourite authors just couldn't fulfill what I imagined
That would explain it. I like the atmosphere in the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I'm not what you'd call a huge fan. (In fact, I like the BBC TV series with Jeremy Brett more than the actual stories.)

Currently I'm reading The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, the second Dirk Gently book by Douglas Adams. I read both books when they came out (the first in 1987 - I bought my copy of the first book at a reading Adams did in Toronto and I got it signed) and I thought 20 years later is probably a good time to re-read them both.
Brilliant stuff, and better than Hitchhiker's.
Funny thing, taste. I found TLDTTOTS pretty blah (liked Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency a lot, though, probably better than most of the HH's.)
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#226

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 00:40
I'm reading the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman and right now I'm at the "Amber Spyglass". It's just unusual and surprising enough to keep reading but I'm not blown away. It's a bit of a Frankensteinian mishmash with steampunk, quantum mechanics, religion and high fantasy rolled into a book caught between children's and adult level. My immersion gets stretched a bit too far on this one. Next up is "Down Under" by Bill Bryson (I like how that sounded ). "A small history of nearly everything" was the first book I read by him and I was completely blown away. Imagine a page-turner in the popular scientific literature. I think that's rare. Then I discovered more work by him and liked that too. Because I'm set to become a dad for the first time in september I alternate a bit between reading "pregnancy literature for men" and aformentioned stuff.
@Alrik: I actually haven't read anything by Karen Horney but she is a widely respected author in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. I'm surprised to see somebody here who reads her work. I rather would expect people to read Freud, Jung, Fromm, Eriksen or a more contemporary author like Yalom. Is it any good? Are you employed as therapist yourself?
slam23 is offline

slam23

slam23's Avatar
Tormented Planescaper

#227

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 101

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 01:26
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
My problem with HPL's prose is precisely that it falls flat just at the worst possible moment — usually the build-ups are great, but just when things come to a head, he vomits out a huge puddle of adjectives, which pretty much ruins the atmosphere. So for me, he fails to convey the horror, mystery, etc. There are a few exceptions; The Color Out Of Space for example.
Colour Out Of Space is brilliant, I agree. But I find that Lovecraft's prose style works for what he's trying to tell. He's not a great writer, and I'm not so sure his stories would work as well if he had been a trained author. His abundant use of adjectives works for me, because I feel it hits upon the chaotic state of mind the protagonists would be experiencing. Perhaps not those words in particular, but the excessiveness, for me, has a useful function.

Compare with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is even a bit older: the subject matter is much more conventional, but that book is written so well it still scares the willies out of me. There, all the Gothic horror is in the story; the dry, almost matter-of-fact writing makes it that much more effective.
See, I found Dracula to be more a slightly atmospheric drama than anything else, and I don't like Stoker's writing style. It comes across as trying to simply mimic the more established Victorian authors, and doesn't have a voice of it's own.

I believe you're in the minority with this opinion. I certainly enjoyed it a lot; IMO it's among his better short stories. But yes, he is a very uneven writer.
Emerald is perhaps Gaiman's worst short story. Pretty much everything he's ever written is better than that one. It falls flat in every regard, and Gaiman almost never falls flat. The problem there is that he essentially did a pastiche of Doyle, and so it wasn't his own imagination at work (not that everything he's written is utterly unique) and it's obvious he had difficulty in combining the fact-based nature of Doyle with the cosmic strangeness of Lovecraft. This is something he admits freely in his Introduction to the Fragile Things anthology.

That would explain it. I like the atmosphere in the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I'm not what you'd call a huge fan. (In fact, I like the BBC TV series with Jeremy Brett more than the actual stories.)
Those are excellent; Brett is the best screen Holmes there has ever been.

Funny thing, taste. I found TLDTTOTS pretty blah (liked Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency a lot, though, probably better than most of the HH's.)
I just started Teatime, and I remember pretty much nothing of it from 20 years ago. Holistic though was superb, and definitely better than Hitchhiker's. It's clear Adams put a lot more thought and effort into Holistic.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
Gallifrey is offline

Gallifrey

Gallifrey's Avatar
Keeper Of Traken

#228

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 658

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 01:50
I enjoy Adams in small doses. I've read all the SH books, seen the movies and most of the TV shows.
Just began Wizard's Ward by Deborah Hale.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#229

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,677
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 02:36
finally got a hold of a copy of kingdom come by jg ballard. about 2/3 thru it and i'm enjoying it more than his last book. on top of all his well known works it still amazes me that he's nearly eighty and still fashioning interesting stories and intriguing societial constructs.
curiously undead is offline

curiously undead

curiously undead's Avatar
tuned to a different freq

#230

Join Date: May 2007
Location: standing under everyone
Posts: 812

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 08:44
Lovecraft always is a good read for me. One of my favorites which I shall read again right now is The Tomb.
See you later ='.'=
xSamhainx is offline

xSamhainx

xSamhainx's Avatar
Paws of Doom

#231

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Diego, Ca
Posts: 4,702

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 10:34
… just bought the seventh and the last book in the Harry Potter series. I took a sick leave today so i would probably read some pages…
Remus is offline

Remus

Remus's Avatar
Antihero

#232

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 1,020

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 11:22
I'm reading Anna Karenina by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy and I enjoy it very much. Great book.

"Eternal Trust Survives The Soul"
Last edited by Artran; August 6th, 2007 at 11:32.
Artran is offline

Artran

Artran's Avatar
Watcher

#233

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 59

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 12:05
@Artran — no no no no NO. This is RPGWatch, you're not supposed to read actual *literature.* Now, be a good boy and pick up some pulp sci-fi or fantasy book, m'kay?

(Seriously, though — I never enjoyed Tolstoy that much. He's too damn conscious of his own greatness for his own good.)
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#234

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 12:36
I fell asleep trying to read War and Peace many years ago!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#235

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,677
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 12:46
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
@Artran — no no no no NO. This is RPGWatch, you're not supposed to read actual *literature.* Now, be a good boy and pick up some pulp sci-fi or fantasy book, m'kay?
Well then - one of my last fantasy books was Hour of Dragon by Howard. Actually I used to read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy in my teen years but nowadays I read those damn classic authors

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
(Seriously, though — I never enjoyed Tolstoy that much. He's too damn conscious of his own greatness for his own good.)
I have this feeling when I read Puschkin. But we must admitt: they ARE great arn't they?.

"Eternal Trust Survives The Soul"
Last edited by Artran; August 6th, 2007 at 13:48.
Artran is offline

Artran

Artran's Avatar
Watcher

#236

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 59

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 12:50
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
@Artran — no no no no NO. This is RPGWatch, you're not supposed to read actual *literature.* Now, be a good boy and pick up some pulp sci-fi or fantasy book, m'kay?
You didn't get upset when I wrote above that I'm actually reading a work on Neurosis ?

It's an older book, but friends who know some things about Psychology say that it is still a fair book - from a scientific point of view.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#237

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 16,062

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 13:38
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
@Artran — no no no no NO. This is RPGWatch, you're not supposed to read actual *literature.* Now, be a good boy and pick up some pulp sci-fi or fantasy book, m'kay?
Despite that being largely true, you will find examples to the contrary sprinkled throughout the list. Modern ones as well, such as Naipaul …

— Mike
txa1265 is offline

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#238

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,544

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 18:06
I am reading "Rise of a demon king" it has some reference to BaK, and RtK, by R. Feist… a bit sad his third game never got finished.

I've become too much of a freak reading fantasy now though.. I am finding some mistakes in his writings… and "logical" mistakes… the only series I never found one was WoT…. it is extremly impressive!
GothicGothicness is offline

GothicGothicness

GothicGothicness's Avatar
SasqWatch

#239

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,408

Default 

August 6th, 2007, 18:35
@Artran: Anna Karenina is a classic for a reason. Have you read any George Elliot or Thomas Hardy? Both similar to me, meaty and somber authors who really would like to believe that Life isn't the hell hole they are protraying but just can't dismiss reality to do so. Reading these books, I often lose my sense that it's our times that are a disaster and a tortuous mess of lost values and see the injustice and misery of that era as far worse.

RE:Lovecraft; I think he is over the top in the same way Poe can be. Both are masters of atmosphere and translators of the dark imagination beyond compare, but it's not in their nature to see the traps of overwriting a thing.I think it's a pretty common fault of those working in this genre.

Witness case in point, Stephen King, who I am currently reading.(Finished The Drawing of the Three yesterday.) This Dark Tower series is a real mish mash of genres—including Tolkein, spaghetti westerns and his usual personal take on Lovecraftian horrors. I'm not a huge fan of his work, but he also has a unique gift for illustrating and unclothing evil in the human heart. His immersion breaker is his occasional lapse into too extended a look through his self-pitying sense of being an outsider. I am enjoying the books though, as I like good high fantasy a lot better than mass-produced horror and so far that seems to be where they are bound.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
magerette is offline

magerette

magerette's Avatar
Hedgewitch

#240

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,929
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Off-Topic » What are you reading ?
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 03:45.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch