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January 30th, 2009, 04:24
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
Don't know if I ever linked to this blog post of mine …

— Mike
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January 31st, 2009, 05:26
some crusader stuff is interesting, (prefer gnostic readings myself) but i enjoyed this intelectually challenging (for me at least) novel a number of years back and remember a few vivid scenes that could have been pened by dumas, poe or borges. plus as i just learned he (umberto eco) is a secular humanist and his book is actually a supposed debunking of the rediculousness of templar conspiracies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault%27s_Pendulum
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February 6th, 2009, 01:09
read most of coraline last night, after it sitting on the shelf for about a year after my wife picked it up from the thrift store for $1. its fairly entertaining and creative, and was a big fan of the movie stardust based on another book by neil gaiman. one of the reviewer's though kinda pissed upset me however as it stated "this may be the book to finally knock down alice and wonderland" or something to that effect. classics don't need to be replaced, and this book definately lacks the uniqueness and imagination of alice in wonderland though it does manage to borrow quite heavily from it.

will be reading this book this weekend or next after hearing a great interview by the writer a week or so ago. the book just came out this week and the author touched on the need for a paradigm shift to get back to the community mindset which i've been thinking of and wishing for a while now.

Agenda for a new economy- from phantom wealth to real wealth
http://www.amazon.com/Agenda-New-Eco…/dp/1605092894

phantom wealth are the perfect words that drive home the mess and reality that needs to be faced regardless of how we deal with the global economic crisises.
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February 11th, 2009, 23:55
recently started ken macleod's the stone canal. the political slant is interesting but so far it's been mostly superfluous ideology (i.e."You're missing several points here," Myra interjected, and went on to make them, her moral passion a mirror-image of mine. So I shifted my ground to another passion./ "I don't want a planned society anyway," I said. "It doesn't fit in with my plans.") and not really more than name dropping.

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…
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February 12th, 2009, 13:12
Recently finished Babel 17 which was quite enjoyable. Not something I've really seen addressed properly in science fiction often - the issue of language and communication. Not some ridiculous babelfish or universal translator or just a flat out noncholant pretence that it wouldn't be an issue because that makes the narrative easier, but some interesting thoughts about the fact that the language we use heavily influences the ways in which we think, beyond the capacity of any translator to relay.

Prose style & characters were a bit weak though.

Currently nearly finished Man Plus about a government attempt to surgically modify a man to live on the surface of mars unsuited to be able to establish a self sustaining colony. I wasn't massively drawn to it as a concept, but it's very well written, the mindset of the man being turned into a monster and the human still inside with all the emotional trauma is done well, I'd highly recommend it.

Again always funny to see the dated ideas, travel to mars, surgical modifications etc , but let's record everything on to tapes and have massive supercomputer machines rather than smaller processing units. For all that we've failed to reach the dizzying heights of control over gravity and space that early scientists dreamed of our powers to manage information have far outstripped early visionaries.
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February 13th, 2009, 12:33
I have to finish World War Z because I just grabbed The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko which just came out here. I do love the characterizations in World War Z … really enjoying it!

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February 13th, 2009, 12:40
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…
Have you read much by China Mieville? He's not really written anything that absolutely revolves around marxism but it's obviously a big part of his mind (he's published a book on marxism and international law and is a member of the socialist workers party here in the UK, the closest we have to a real marxist party) and it comes through a lot (IMO) in the dynamics of the world that he's built.

And they're absolutely superb books, the best fantasy author working today IMO. Not sci-fi though.

EDIT - really interesting reading some older sci-fi of late. The West vs Communism / cold war & nuclear holocaust mindset was obviously very prevalent then, trivial though it seems now.
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February 17th, 2009, 20:55
Originally Posted by Zakhary View Post
Almost finished reading the "Best of H.P. Lovecraft". In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

Next, I'm gonna go with "Dracula" by Bram Stoker.
Dracula is probably still the book that's most creeped me out, ever. The combination of utterly stodgy, matter-of-fact Victorian prose with, well, Dracula, really gets the suspension-of-disbelief thing going for me. Great book, and no film adaptation (or spin-off) I've seen comes close to it.
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February 17th, 2009, 21:52
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I have to finish World War Z because I just grabbed The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko which just came out here. I do love the characterizations in World War Z … really enjoying it!
I just started World War Z. Not too far in, but appears to be well written. This might not be a good idea though as I've had zombie dreams the last two nights.

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February 18th, 2009, 05:38
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I just started World War Z. Not too far in, but appears to be well written. This might not be a good idea though as I've had zombie dreams the last two nights.
I love the documentary narrative style, it is very refreshing.

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February 19th, 2009, 02:05
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Have you read much by China Mieville? He's not really written anything that absolutely revolves around marxism but it's obviously a big part of his mind (he's published a book on marxism and international law and is a member of the socialist workers party here in the UK, the closest we have to a real marxist party) and it comes through a lot (IMO) in the dynamics of the world that he's built.

And they're absolutely superb books, the best fantasy author working today IMO. Not sci-fi though.
sure, I've read perdido street station and thought there was a fair balance of exploring his politics but not at the expense of the story or the genre. Plus it managed to restore my interest in sci-fi/fantasy novels. Although, his writing still isn't on par with what I have in mind. I haven't really found any sci-fi/fantasy writers that really have that full literary approach filtering their science fiction or fantasy imaginations. Delany is another author who sometimes provides glimpses of what I'd like to see but so far it's no go.
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February 19th, 2009, 16:13
Originally Posted by spars View Post
sure, I've read perdido street station and thought there was a fair balance of exploring his politics but not at the expense of the story or the genre. Plus it managed to restore my interest in sci-fi/fantasy novels. Although, his writing still isn't on par with what I have in mind. I haven't really found any sci-fi/fantasy writers that really have that full literary approach filtering their science fiction or fantasy imaginations. Delany is another author who sometimes provides glimpses of what I'd like to see but so far it's no go.
The genre's certainly lacking a bit of that kind of thing. I'm struggling to think of anything else where politics (beyond the usual high fantasy king type shit that's so prevalent) really got much thought. I suppose Dune wasn't bad in some respects, the first one anyway, the economic & political power balances were quite integral to everything. And I suppose Iain M Banks Culture stuff puts a lot of thought into the political (or apolitical) aspects and the way in which it changes the whole culture and perspective.

Nothing that really takes real world political structures and theories into a second world setting though. Except i suppose Dune is kind of a futuristic feudal system and the Culture is benevolent anarchy.

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.
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February 19th, 2009, 16:50
I recently finished two fantasy novels I can highly recommend:

1. The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss

2. The darkness that comes before (Prince of Nothing Trilogy) by R. Scott Bakker

Bothe of them are really good and intersting stuff, rothfuss is mor standard fantasy but intelligently and especially well-written while the first book in the prince of nothing trilogy is not the standard fantasy clichee but nonetheless is very compelling….

But alas, the thing I most long for ist still not on the horizon…. Every day I check www.georgerrmartin.com for the announcement of "A dance with dragons" but is is still not to be seen……..poor me


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February 19th, 2009, 21:26
@Benedict and spar: have you tried Iain M Banks or Vernor Vinge? Quite a lot of interesting social & political constructs in both. Also thanks for your recommendations—sounds like some authors I need to try.

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February 20th, 2009, 12:55
Iain M Banks definitely, the player of games in particular has politics as an integral part of the plot.

Not tried Vernor Vinge though, I've added A Fire Upon the Deep to my amazon basket of stuff to buy Thank you for the recommendation, and you definitely need to try China Mieville if you haven't already.
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February 20th, 2009, 12:56
Originally Posted by spars View Post
Delany is another author who sometimes provides glimpses of what I'd like to see but so far it's no go.
Hah! Was just rummaging around to see what he'd done and I've only very recently finished Babel-17, didn't register the name at all. Anything else of his you'd particularly recommend?
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February 20th, 2009, 17:02
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Iain M Banks definitely, the player of games in particular has politics as an integral part of the plot.

Not tried Vernor Vinge though, I've added A Fire Upon the Deep to my amazon basket of stuff to buy Thank you for the recommendation, and you definitely need to try China Mieville if you haven't already.
Any particular place to start with Meiville? Perdido Street Station looks like his first book.( Nice to be compared to The Phantom Tollbooth when describing his book for kids. That was a great book.)

Hope you enjoy Vinge—he's a bit dated now, but I think the book you've picked is one of his best.

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February 20th, 2009, 19:20
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Any particular place to start with Meiville? Perdido Street Station looks like his first book.( Nice to be compared to The Phantom Tollbooth when describing his book for kids. That was a great book.)

Hope you enjoy Vinge—he's a bit dated now, but I think the book you've picked is one of his best.
I'd say Perdido Street Station is his best, I think King Rat was his first book but it's not quite in the same league (although nice having it all set in London). The Scar is also excellent, but Perdido Street Station is the stand out classic.

Not read the Phantom Tollbooth either, is it good kids fiction rather than harry potter type dross?
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February 20th, 2009, 19:42
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post

Not read the Phantom Tollbooth either, is it good kids fiction rather than harry potter type dross?
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

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February 20th, 2009, 19:48
I'm having trouble finishing Dracula because his literary style and constant zeitgeist of showing modern technology is geting tiring - it seems to distract from the story. I'll finish it though - I felt it started off well and his research is impeccable. Using the brooding mood of the Bronte sisters is almost a no brainer for this kind of story.

Right now I've been catching up on Terry Pratchet. I'm at lords and Ladies though I've never read or watched A Midsummer Night's Dream. Probably not important though as MacBeth isn't really for Wyrd Series.

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