Books

User avatar
mharr
Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:54 am
Location: UK

Re: Books

Postby mharr » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:32 am

All 64 Animorphs books in narrative reading order: https://rjalker.tumblr.com/post/1782864 ... oper-order

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:55 am

Okay, question about Dark Tower that I've put entirely too much thought into:

There's a passage in the first "Shuffle" chapter in The Drawing of the Three that says they're traveling north, and the east is on their left. This is repeated several times.

Is that just a mistake that King made repeatedly and his editor didn't catch? (My thinking: he is from Maine, so naturally he would picture the beach on your right and the land on your left when you're facing north.) Or is it deliberate and there's some kind of acknowledgement of it sometime later on in the series? (Like, Roland's post-apocalyptic world could be one where the magnetic poles have flipped; something like that.)

I'm thinking this is probably just me overthinking a mistake (remember that time I noticed Lily and James come out of Harry's wand in the wrong order at the end of my first-edition copy of Goblet of Fire?). But I'm curious enough to ask.

Niku
Posts: 1252
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Books

Postby Niku » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:46 am

it's a left-handed world
Image

User avatar
nosimpleway
Posts: 2915
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:31 pm

Re: Books

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:24 pm

They spell "famine" with seven letters, too.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:24 pm

Niku wrote:it's a left-handed world

Oh, like Twilight Princess on the Wii.

nosimpleway wrote:They spell "famine" with seven letters, too.

I mean I guess "they just call the directions different things" kinda works, but...the geography sure seems to indicate that they're traveling up something very much like the west coast of North America. (Giant venomous amphibious lobsters notwithstanding.) Given the lie of the land, I don't think traveling toward the equator makes since, which means that regardless of what they call the compass directions, the mountains should be on the right and the ocean should be on the left.

Unless, as Niku suggests, you call left "right" and right "left", which doesn't feel like a serious answer so much as the sort of thing someone would submit for a No-Prize.

...but yeah if this is never addressed again then clearly I'm just way overthinking a mistake.

User avatar
beatbandito
Posts: 3138
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:04 am

Re: Books

Postby beatbandito » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:23 pm

I could've sworn Thad started an audiobook specific thread, but I didn't see it.

Does anyone know a good source for audiobook credits? I heard a bit of Fifty Shades and Christian's voice is so fucking familiar, but I can only find the narrator / Anna's name.
Image

User avatar
Mothra
Woah Dangsaurus
Posts: 3578
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:12 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Mothra » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:53 pm

Decided to get around to reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, since I’ve had the book for like over a decade, when an old roommate left it behind. Also looked intriguing.

So it starts really good. It was written in 1974 by a guy that went through the Vietnam War, and the entire book is basically about that experience. A war is started with an alien race nobody has seen, the first half of the book is spent training in exo-suits, then they actually travel to a planet and wipe out a village. The government/military is presented as being pretty evil, drafting everyone of value into the army and using a form of hypnosis to put troops into a murderous frenzy before the start of combat. There’s also some interesting stuff about time dilation, and the way in which they are sometimes fighting enemies from their past, and sometimes fighting enemies from a decade in the future, with technology that’s advanced accordingly.

UH THEN?? THEY GET BACK TO EARTH and it’s the far-flung year of 2020. Due to the time dilation, they’ve only been out at war for two years, but back on earth, thirty-something years has passed. Haldeman is going for a “troops return from world to find themselves utterly alienated culturally” kind of thing, and on the base level that works, but god, the details are a little wild.

So immediately we’re told that the population grew absurdly large in the 30 years he’s been gone, to the tune of like 13 billion. Then 4 billion died in the Ration Wars, when there wasn’t enough food to go around and wars were fought to feed everyone. Once that was over, calories became the new currency system (which I kinda liked), and farming’s kind of the only job that matters, so all space everywhere is made up of farms - there are no forests or national parks or anything. Also, it’s impossible to find jobs, since there’s way more jobs than people, so there’s a huge black market for buying other people’s jobs, with the arbiter getting a cut. So far, beyond the crazy population spike, that isn’t unbelievable - The Expanse has a similar situation with everyone on Earth on a UBI due to the lack of jobs.

So the thing is, though, the homosexual population is exploded in the last few decades, leading to a thing called “homolife,” which, is just being gay. As the book progresses, it becomes clear that homolife is in fact intentionally being driven by the government as a means of population control. So, people in the book just become gay, either willingly or without explanation, until by the book’s end the vast majority of Earth’s population is gay, and the protagonist is THE LAST STRAIGHT STANDING, spat upon by the gays in this hellish topsy-turvey future dystopia. They call his kind “breeders.”

So um!!! There’s a few problematic ideas being tossed about there. Feels like the kind of thing TVTropers would love to death.

Don’t know if I’m going to finish it. Basically he’s re-enlisted because he has no other options in this Earth gone mad, so, I guess we’re back to the grind. And I do like the war side of the book, so, might be worth it.

There was one bit I liked from the super-bleak Earth section, which reminded me of Garrick’s speech about Cardassia at the end of DS9:

The main thing that was wrong was that everything seemed to have gotten just a little worse, or at best remained the same. You would have predicted a least a few facets of everyday life would improve markedly in twenty-two years. Her father contented the War was behind it all: any person who showed a shred of talent was sucked up by UNEF; the very best fell to the Elite Conscription Act and wound up being cannon fodder.

It was hard not to agree with him. Wars in the past often accelerated social reform, provided technological benefits, even sparked artistic activity. This one, however, seemed tailor-made to provide none of these positive by-products. Such improvements as had been made on late-twentieth-century technology were – like tachyon bombs and warships two kilometers long – at best, interesting developments of things that only required the synergy of money and existing engineering techniques. Social reform? The world was technically under martial law.

User avatar
mharr
Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:54 am
Location: UK

Re: Books

Postby mharr » Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:41 am

Rational Wiki types seem to have a habit of being entertaining novelists. Unsong: an alternate history urban fantasy in which Apollo 8 is destroyed on impact with the crystal sphere of the Moon and the true names of God become effective Kabbalistic spells overnight. Very strong Robert Rankin vibes.

Scott Alexander wrote:It was then, at 7:38 PM, that the red phone started ringing. He considered not picking it up, but at least it would be differently confusing.

To his surprise, the voice on the other end now spoke perfect English.

“HELLO PRESIDENT NIXON. THIS IS THE ARCHANGEL URIEL. I APOLOGIZE FOR RECENT DISRUPTIONS. THE MACHINERY OF THE UNIVERSE HAS BEEN SEVERELY DAMAGED. I AM WORKING TO CONTAIN THE EFFECTS, BUT AT THIS POINT MY POWER IS LIMITED BECAUSE I AM STILL MOSTLY METAPHORICAL. PLEASE INFORM EVERYONE THAT I REGRET THE INCONVENIENCE. AS COMPENSATION FOR YOUR TROUBLE, I HAVE GIVEN EVERY HUMAN THE ABILITY TO PLAY THE PIANO.”

“Wait just a moment here,” said Nixon. “Wait just an [expletive deleted] moment!”

No response.

The head of the Weather Bureau stared at the president shouting into a toy red telephone used as a prop for reporters and visibly unconnected to any phone line.

“Excuse me just a minute,” said the president.

“Of course,” said the bureaucrat.

President Nixon stepped out of the Oval Office and walked downstairs. He went down the corridor connecting the West Wing to the White House proper and entered the East Room, where Franklin Roosevelt’s great Steinway piano stood on the hardwood floor.

He sat down on the piano bench and performed a flawless rendition of Bach’s Concerto I in D Minor.

“[expletive deleted],” said the president.


http://unsongbook.com
https://unsong.libsyn.com
(Audio version still working slowly through book one. Female voices utterly terrible, as is tradition.)

User avatar
Friday
Posts: 4198
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:40 pm
Location: A user of Sosuns

Re: Books

Postby Friday » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:32 pm

So the thing is, though, the homosexual population is exploded in the last few decades, leading to a thing called “homolife,” which, is just being gay.


This is the best sentence anyone will ever write
ImageImageImage

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:44 pm

Charles Stross has posted the thousand words he'd written of a zombie apocalypse novel that he won't be finishing now because of COVID-19.

I was planning a pandemic zombie disaster novel in which people behaved like human beings, rather than psychotic, heavily armed doomsday preppers. My zombie plague differs from most: it's a viral encephalitis, possibly an odd strain of influenza, which leaves a percentage of its victims with Cotard's Delusion, also known as walking corpse syndrome. The affected person holds a delusional belief that they're dead, or putrefying, or don't exist, or they're in hell. (It's associated with parietal lobe lesions and can also be induced by some drug metabolites: as a consequence of viral encephalitis it would be weird, but possibly no weirder than Encephalitis lethargica.) How does a society deal with a pandemic that leaves 1% of the population permanently convinced that they're dead? Well ...

I had a plot all worked out. TLDR: deep brain stimulation via implant. Rapidly leading to rental plans—because in our grim meathook privatised-medicine future the medical devices company who are first-to-market realize that charging people a monthly plan to feel like they're alive is a good revenue stream—but this is followed by hackers cracking the DRM on the cryptocoin-funded brain implants. The device manufacturer goes bankrupt, and their intellectual property rights are bought out by a Mafia-like operation who employ stringers to go around uploading malware to the implants of zombies who've stopped paying the rent, permanently bricking them. Our protagonist is a zombie detective: the actual story opens when a murder victim walks into a police station to complain that they've been killed.


For those who've read Halting State and/or Rule 34, it would have been part of that same loose series, but each book, and this fragment, is standalone, so you don't need to know anything about those other books before reading this.

It's a rough rough draft; at one point Charlie accidentally switches from second- to first-person narration and then back again. Second-person is hard to write.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:00 pm

Postal by Brock Wilbur & Nathan Rabin is out at Boss Fight Books. I haven't read it but their podcast episode about it piqued my interest. Here's the blurb:

In 1997, game studio Running With Scissors released its debut title, Postal, an isometric shooter aimed at shocking an imagined pearl-clutching public. The game was crass, gory, and dumb—all of which might have been forgivable if the game had been any fun to play.

Postal gained enough notoriety from riding the wave of public outrage to warrant a sequel. And DLC. And a remake. And, perhaps most surprising of all, a Golden-Raspberry-winning feature film adaptation directed by the infamous Uwe Boll.

In this thoughtful and hilarious tag-team performance, Brock Wilbur & Nathan Rabin probe the fascinatingly troubled game and film for what each can tell us about shock culture & mass shootings, interviewing the RWS team and even Boll himself for answers. Like it or not, Postal is the franchise that won't die—no matter how many molotov cocktails you throw at it.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:59 pm

Rabin excerpts the book: The World Is Murderously Unfair: An Except from the New Book Postal, From Me and Brock Wilbur

Rabin comes at Postal from a direction that won't surprise you if you're familiar with his work: he humanizes Uwe Boll, sympathizes with him, and even expresses affection for him and his work, while still acknowledging the flaws of both the films and their filmmaker (and yes, he makes fun of Boll for challenging his critics to box him, and notes sardonically that punching people does not actually make his movies any better).

Rabin seems to genuinely like Postal. I've never seen it, but I've often found myself agreeing with Nathan that a universally-reviled movie is in fact a Secret Success (he and I both think Freddy Got Fingered is actually good, so evaluate our opinions in this light).

The only Boll movie I've ever seen is House of the Dead. It wasn't a good movie but it was an enjoyably bad one. I gather from what Rabin says in the excerpt that the difference between Postal and Boll's earlier movies was that he actually cared about what he was doing; he had the same contempt for the source material as always, but (1) that's okay because the source material is Postal and (2) he made a movie that he really connected with and cared passionately about.

I find Boll fascinating, in the way that Neil Breen and Tommy Wiseau and Coleman Francis and Ed Wood are fascinating. I don't know that I could bring myself to like him in the way that Nathan Rabin seems to, but I do like stories about weirdos chasing their dreams despite their lack of talent.

User avatar
Friday
Posts: 4198
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:40 pm
Location: A user of Sosuns

Re: Books

Postby Friday » Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:55 pm

As part of a publicity stunt for Postal, Uwe Boll released a video claiming that he is "the only genius in the whole fucking [movie] business" and that other directors such as Michael Bay and Eli Roth are "fucking retards".


hahahahahaha
ImageImageImage

User avatar
MarsDragon
Posts: 548
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:30 pm

Re: Books

Postby MarsDragon » Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:02 pm

I've been reading a lot of books lately.

The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis: The best book to read during a pandemic.

The Ancien Regime and the Revolution, by Alexis de Tocqueville: How much do you care about 18th century French government? Really good if you do.

Vanishing Fleece, by Clara Parkes: A breezy look at an industry that's been destroyed over the past few decades. Don't wear synthetics.

The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga, by Jimmy Maher: Amazing technical breakdown of the Amiga and why it was so important, as well as why it died. Suffers a bit from the fact that all the multimedia demos referred to are now broken by virtue of being Flash files. Still, fascinating if you want to know exactly how the Boing and Juggler demos work behind the scenes.

FF.Dot: It's an artbook of Final Fantasy pixel art. You already know if you want it from that sentence.

I decided to do a full re-read of every Discworld book in 2020 because I finally got all of them in order on one shelf. I'm up to Reaper Man.

The Color of Magic: It's the weakest of the lot, like everyone always says. It's only worth it if you're a completionist or you really like parodies of popular 80s fantasy. Outside of that it's just...mediocre. Not bad, but certainly not good. The only book I had trouble forcing myself through.

The Light Fantastic: What The Color of Magic should've been. It's still not to the later highs of the series, but Pratchett found his authorial voice and the main story is pretty fun. Probably the furthest back it's worth starting with.

Equal Rites: Weird proto-Discworld. Taken on its own it's not bad and shows where the series is going later, but it's like a rough draft.

Mort: Death finally starts becoming Discworld Death, even though he's not quite there yet. Mostly interesting to see where Susan came from later.

Sourcery: It takes Pratchett forever to figure out what he wants to do with magic. This is another fumbling attempt, and it's not bad, but it's the most skippable of the early books.

Wyrd Sisters: And this is where Pratchett hits his stride. It's good.

Pyramids: Suffers from one problem: Small Gods does the same themes much better later.

Guards, Guards!: It's good. But you already knew that.

Eric: I hear this was originally an illustrated book. That would make sense. Without the illustrations it's another fumbling attempt to figure out what to do with Rincewind.

Moving Pictures: This is about where everything about the Unseen University finally takes shape. The cast is all here, and while it's basically another Dungeon Dimensions book, it's pretty fun about it. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same problem as Pyramids: a later book does it better. In the sad case of Moving Pictures, it's the very next book.

Reaper Man: It's good. But you already knew that.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:06 am

Friday wrote:
As part of a publicity stunt for Postal, Uwe Boll released a video claiming that he is "the only genius in the whole fucking [movie] business" and that other directors such as Michael Bay and Eli Roth are "fucking retards".


hahahahahaha

It really is fascinating just how much he gives the game away with those two specific choices. The guy who makes schlocky movies with overqualified casts based on licensed properties, and the guy who makes hyperviolent, boundary-pushing horror movies.

Boll's not mad at Bay and Roth because of their lack of talent -- he's mad at them because they've had success that's wildly disproportionate to their talent. The way he sees it, they're doing the same shit he is, but they're popular and influential and he's mocked and derided. That's what he's so mad about. He wants to be Eli Roth, and if he can't be Eli Roth, the influential provocateur, he'll settle for being Michael Bay, the extremely successful cranker-outer of mindless two-hour toy commercials. He's tried both; he's failed at both; how come those guys get to succeed while he fails?

To a certain extent, I do think it's luck that separates guys like them from guys like him. I don't know what Uwe Boll would do with a Michael Bay budget; I suspect he'd make a film that's a lot less technically competent but maybe more fun to watch, and his scripts aren't any worse than Bay's.

I can't compare him to Eli Roth because I've never actually seen an Eli Roth movie. I liked him in Inglourious Basterds.

But yeah, that's something that's so prominent in the excerpt Rabin posted that it's in the title ("The World Is Murderously Unfair"): Uwe Boll is motivated by anger that the world is unfair.

And while I don't buy the premise that Uwe Boll has gotten a raw deal -- most people don't got to direct Ben fucking Kingsley, dude, especially if the two most recent films on their resume look anything like House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark -- I can relate to the sentiment that Michael Bay being one of the most successful filmmakers in the world is evidence that there's something fundamentally wrong with society and the systems that underpin it.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Fri May 01, 2020 9:19 pm

I finally got around to taking Kirby: King of Comics down off my shelf and reading it. (I've had it for years but the thing's a doorstop; I figured welp, now that I'm not going anywhere for awhile, and there won't be any new comics for a few more weeks, I might as well.)

This isn't the Kirby biography that Evanier's been working on all these years; that's still unfinished. This is a beautiful coffee table book. The prose hits the major points of Kirby's life and career, but it doesn't have space for a lot of detail and I didn't really learn anything new (aside from a few specific anecdotes I hadn't heard before). That said, it's good prose; Evanier's a great raconteur and Kirby is his favorite subject.

The real highlight, though, is the art, and the crown jewel is Street Code, a ten-page autobiographical comic Kirby drew late in his life. Evanier notes that Jack's eyesight was going and the work isn't up to his former standards, but all the same it's jaw-dropping. The detail Kirby puts into the New York of his childhood is something else, something different from the New York he drew in Fantastic Four and so many other comics; there's a breathtaking two-page spread that, Evanier notes, Jack's wife Roz framed and hung on the wall. It ends a little abruptly; it seems that Kirby planned to follow it up with more autobiographical comics but never did.

That's the best thing in there, but there's some other really lovely art, as big as you'll ever see it in a book that's not one of those giant Artist's Editions.

As for Kirby's life story, well, it'll make you mad, and sad, as will pretty much any book that deals with the history of comic books. You know the gist -- he invented much of the language of comic books as we know it, plus so many of Marvel's best-known superheroes that it's easier to list the ones he didn't create or co-create; Stan Lee got all the credit and millions of dollars, Jack got a modest page rate.

Evanier is pretty clearly in Kirby's corner, but he's also fair -- he tells Stan's side of the story too, and he's quick to point out when he believes Kirby is misremembering or exaggerating.

Evanier does end the book noting the successes of Kirby's later years -- DC (specifically, Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz) made sure he got royalties for Darkseid and the New Gods; once he left comics and got into animation, he finally got good pay, health benefits, and respect from management; and once people started holding comic conventions, he got a sense of how truly respected and admired he was by the fandom and the next generation of creators. (He also insisted that one day, San Diego Comic-Con would take over the entire city, and that it wouldn't just be comics anymore, it would be movie studios who had figured out that they could make a lot of money adapting comics. He didn't live long enough to see the lucrative Marvel franchises based largely on his characters, but he did live long enough to see Burton's Batman movies kick off the superhero craze of the early '90s.)

I've got a hardback edition that was published before the Marvel v Kirby settlement, and I know the paperback's got new material but I'm not sure how new it is -- but I do know that Mark frequently notes on his blog that as far as he's concerned, Marvel has finally given Kirby the credit, and his family the compensation, that he wanted all those years, and while it's a shame he didn't live to see it, if he were here he would consider it a happy ending.

I think the book's well worth reading no matter what your interest in Kirby. Even if you've only got a passing familiarity with comics and you only know Captain America and the X-Men and Iron Man and the Hulk and Darkseid and Ant-Man and the Wasp and Groot and Black Panther and the Fantastic Four and Nick Fury and Doctor Doom and the Demon and OMAC and Granny Goodness and the Guardian and the DNAliens and Thor and Loki and Boom Tubes and the Red Skull and Terrible Turpin and Kamandi and Galactus and the Silver Surfer from TV and movies, Kirby was a fascinating dude and Evanier's an entertaining, breezy storyteller. And if you're already a Kirby fan and know everything Mark's going to tell you, this book's still worth it for the wonderful oversized art.

User avatar
Thad
Posts: 8347
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:05 am
Location: 1611 Uranus Avenue
Contact:

Re: Books

Postby Thad » Thu May 07, 2020 5:48 pm

Coronavirus: Gollum actor Serkis to raise cash by reading entire Hobbit live online

There's a GoFundMe to raise donations for charity.

So many of us are struggling in isolation during the lockdown. While times are tough, I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written, a 12 hour armchair marathon across Middle Earth whilst raising money for two amazing charities which are doing extraordinary work right now to help those most in need in the UK: Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together.

Starting at 10am on Friday 8th May BST (5am EST, 2am PST), I’ll be embarking on a marathon reading of The Hobbit - from cover to cover, there and back again. The entire book. A Hobbitathon!


So a little early for those of us in the States, but it's not like I was planning on sitting through the whole 12 hours in one go anyway.

User avatar
Mongrel
Posts: 14853
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:28 pm
Location: Canadumb

Re: Books

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:24 pm

Image
Image

User avatar
Büge
Posts: 3715
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:56 pm

Re: Books

Postby Büge » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:44 am

Image


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest