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    What are you reading?

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      Non-dune discussion

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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Serkanner » 08 Mar 2017 10:05

    Freakzilla wrote:
    Omphalos wrote: ...and AFAIK Freak remains un-incarcerated.

    It's amazing how you can make regular payments for years and then they just decide to fuck with your life all of a sudden for kicks.


    I have been a champion screwing myself over this way. It is only since my break-up three years ago (women are indeed very expensive to keep) that I have straightened things out and am even able to save some money.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 18 Mar 2017 22:00

    Just took a look at 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pretty much felt like the same thing as the movie, with things explained a little more. Enjoyable, fast read that actually reminded me a lot of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker, the more I thought about it.

    Up next is Discourses by the Greco-Roman philosopher Epictetus!
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Freakzilla » 19 Mar 2017 08:00

    Sandwurm88 wrote:Just took a look at 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pretty much felt like the same thing as the movie, with things explained a little more. Enjoyable, fast read that actually reminded me a lot of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker, the more I thought about it.

    Up next is Discourses by the Greco-Roman philosopher Epictetus!


    That's because it was a novelization of the screenplay.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 19 Mar 2017 16:44

    :lol: That would explain it... I thought for some reason the movie was based on the book. Turns out Clarke and Kubrick kinda worked on them at the same time, with the novel being released a few months after the movie.
    I think the movie was a bit better, but I'd still recommend the book.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Freakzilla » 20 Mar 2017 05:33

    Sandwurm88 wrote::lol: That would explain it... I thought for some reason the movie was based on the book. Turns out Clarke and Kubrick kinda worked on them at the same time, with the novel being released a few months after the movie.
    I think the movie was a bit better, but I'd still recommend the book.


    I read the book before I saw the movie and I'm really glad I did because I'd have had no idea what was going on with the movie. 2001 was very artistically done but I liked 2010 better.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby SadisticCynic » 21 Mar 2017 18:45

    I've read Pride and Prejudice recently. That was great! Austen's sarcasm levels are out of control. :)

    Now I'm on to The White Plague by Herbert. Very weird seeing Irish place names in a novel somehow...
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Freakzilla » 22 Mar 2017 06:06

    SadisticCynic wrote:...Now I'm on to The White Plague by Herbert. Very weird seeing Irish place names in a novel somehow...


    I just read that recently! I think it's one of FH's better non-Dune books.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby SadisticCynic » 01 May 2017 19:22

    I finally got to the end of The White Plague. That was pretty good most of the way through, although it could be a little dry at times, particularly starting off.

    He's asking questions that I've found myself asking recently, that scientists rarely seem to concern themselves with the possible social and cultural effects of their research. The political intrigue was pretty great as well, and the difficulty of assigning blame once a few hundred years of tit for tat have gone by.

    Weird thing: There's been a revived interest in The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, and I've seen questions along the lines of how could such a horrible society come about. I don't really remember much about the plot of that one now, but I'd guess White Plague could fit as an example of how to get there.

    Anyway, started on Villette by Charlotte Bronte.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Naib » 02 May 2017 10:06

    SadisticCynic wrote:I finally got to the end of The White Plague. That was pretty good most of the way through, although it could be a little dry at times, particularly starting off.

    He's asking questions that I've found myself asking recently, that scientists rarely seem to concern themselves with the possible social and cultural effects of their research. The political intrigue was pretty great as well, and the difficulty of assigning blame once a few hundred years of tit for tat have gone by.

    Weird thing: There's been a revived interest in The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, and I've seen questions along the lines of how could such a horrible society come about. I don't really remember much about the plot of that one now, but I'd guess White Plague could fit as an example of how to get there.

    Anyway, started on Villette by Charlotte Bronte.


    I read The White Plague when in came out in 1982 and a couple of times since. While the technology used to create the virus was piffle, I was fascinated by his methods of researching and developing the virus, and the means by which he spread it. I found it so interesting it very heavily influenced me to study biochemistry at uni.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Omphalos » 02 May 2017 11:10

    SadisticCynic wrote:I finally got to the end of The White Plague. That was pretty good most of the way through, although it could be a little dry at times, particularly starting off.

    He's asking questions that I've found myself asking recently, that scientists rarely seem to concern themselves with the possible social and cultural effects of their research. The political intrigue was pretty great as well, and the difficulty of assigning blame once a few hundred years of tit for tat have gone by.

    Weird thing: There's been a revived interest in The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, and I've seen questions along the lines of how could such a horrible society come about. I don't really remember much about the plot of that one now, but I'd guess White Plague could fit as an example of how to get there.

    Anyway, started on Villette by Charlotte Bronte.


    Overall I liked that book, but I thought Herbert kind of half-assed it in parts. for instance, I never got a true, deep understanding of how O'Day could do what he did in the first place. I get that he was torn up about his family, but to take that and go kill every woman on the planet? Come on. Who the fuck does that? Has there ever been a reaction that strong? Just kill yourself.

    I did do a review of it. http://www.omphalosbookreviews.com/inde ... ews/info/3
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Eyes High » 04 May 2017 17:46

    Dead Men Do Tell Tales. By William R. Maples, Ph.D and Michael Browning.
    What fear is there in the night?
    Nothing, but that which is in our own imaginations.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Omphalos » 08 May 2017 09:58

    I forgot to bring a book from home on my last trip to Bozeman, so I bought a Stephen King book called End of Watch at the airport. Not bad, but it is beneath his abilities. Its book #3 in a loosely connected trilogy about a serial killer. Apparently in the last book (which I have not read) the killer was struck on the head and left permanently impaired. I am about half way through the third and apparently some psychologist at the institution the killer is in has devised a formula that lets the killer do his dirty deeds from a distance, and with mental powers. Not the best SK I have ever read, and it for some reason lacks the detailed descriptions of the town and its inhabitants that he is famous for. It's OK.

    I also picked up a copy of Robert McCammon's Swan Song from Amazon. I read it back in the late 80's when it came out, and I remember loving it. I think it was a bit of south-coast weird set after a nuclear war. I have a vague recollection of a mutant who has a third arm right in the center of his chest. The arm is pretty weak, but he holds a derringer in it and uses it to get the drop on bad guys. Although, I might be confusing that with another McCammon book.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 28 May 2017 16:34

    I'm taking a bit of a break from SF to read the Iliad and the Odyssey. After that, at some point I'm gonna be checking out Pavane by Keith Roberts and Inverted World by Christopher Priest.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 29 May 2017 09:34

    Sandwurm88 wrote:I'm taking a bit of a break from SF to read the Iliad and the Odyssey.


    Which translator?
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 29 May 2017 14:14

    Fagles/Knox was what my local library had. I've heard Lattimore, Pope, and Fitzgerald are all great as well.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby SadisticCynic » 29 May 2017 18:58

    I remember reading Homer back in high school. Really enjoyed it, even if I couldn't place the proper context and background knowledge.

    Naib wrote:
    SadisticCynic wrote:I finally got to the end of The White Plague. That was pretty good most of the way through, although it could be a little dry at times, particularly starting off.

    He's asking questions that I've found myself asking recently, that scientists rarely seem to concern themselves with the possible social and cultural effects of their research. The political intrigue was pretty great as well, and the difficulty of assigning blame once a few hundred years of tit for tat have gone by.

    Weird thing: There's been a revived interest in The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, and I've seen questions along the lines of how could such a horrible society come about. I don't really remember much about the plot of that one now, but I'd guess White Plague could fit as an example of how to get there.

    Anyway, started on Villette by Charlotte Bronte.


    I read The White Plague when in came out in 1982 and a couple of times since. While the technology used to create the virus was piffle, I was fascinated by his methods of researching and developing the virus, and the means by which he spread it. I found it so interesting it very heavily influenced me to study biochemistry at uni.


    You didn't make any new diseases though, right? :shifty: Herbert seems to have some pretty dodgy attempts at hard explanations of the science. Destination: Void comes to mind...
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Naib » 30 May 2017 10:20

    SadisticCynic wrote:I remember reading Homer back in high school. Really enjoyed it, even if I couldn't place the proper context and background knowledge.

    Naib wrote:
    SadisticCynic wrote:I finally got to the end of The White Plague. That was pretty good most of the way through, although it could be a little dry at times, particularly starting off.

    He's asking questions that I've found myself asking recently, that scientists rarely seem to concern themselves with the possible social and cultural effects of their research. The political intrigue was pretty great as well, and the difficulty of assigning blame once a few hundred years of tit for tat have gone by.

    Weird thing: There's been a revived interest in The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, and I've seen questions along the lines of how could such a horrible society come about. I don't really remember much about the plot of that one now, but I'd guess White Plague could fit as an example of how to get there.

    Anyway, started on Villette by Charlotte Bronte.


    I read The White Plague when in came out in 1982 and a couple of times since. While the technology used to create the virus was piffle, I was fascinated by his methods of researching and developing the virus, and the means by which he spread it. I found it so interesting it very heavily influenced me to study biochemistry at uni.


    You didn't make any new diseases though, right? :shifty: Herbert seems to have some pretty dodgy attempts at hard explanations of the science. Destination: Void comes to mind...


    Not intentionally, no. My curries can be quite lethal though... :D
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Omphalos » 30 May 2017 10:49

    Sandwurm88 wrote:After that, at some point I'm gonna be checking out Pavane by Keith Roberts and Inverted World by Christopher Priest.


    Heady stuff, that is. I am always up for some Christopher Priest. I think he is totally underrated. But Pavane it took me a few times to get through. I remember at first I hated it, then for a while I liked it, now the thought of reading it again bores me to tears.

    After you read Pavane you should give a shot to The Alteration, by Kingsley Amis. Interesting books to compare and contrast.

    I forgot, are you majoring in literature?
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 30 May 2017 14:36

    Right now I'm trying to get through some non-fiction to the tune of de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Hopefully I'll finish it it soon so I can move on to something more fun like the Narnia series for a re-read.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 31 May 2017 14:17

    Yeah, I'm about halfway through an M.A. in literature right now. I've heard The Alteration is good, so that's on the agenda at some point --alternate history is a really interesting subgenre that I haven't delved all that deeply into. I've read Man in the High Castle, which was pretty good, although I don't remember it too much; Lest Darkness Fall which was also pretty good; Bring the Jubilee, which was surprisingly excellent (it was really hard to find, even on Amazon).

    As for my turning to the Iliad and the Odyssey, it's part of a kind of backlash-against-the-backlash. A trend nowadays in English departments is to eschew the traditional "Western Canon" and turn towards obscure works by African, Caribbean, South American authors. These works are often fine for what they are, but I don't think enough departments really even start with that foundation of great Western works anymore --the supposed monolith that everyone is lashing out against exists only as a nebulous cloud that represents all that is white, male, conservative, etc. and not as actual concrete individual works that people have read and studied closely. I thought it would be worthwhile to actually read a lot of these works that some of my professors enjoy disparaging, because I think they're more worthwhile (from what I've seen) than a lot of the stuff that is foisted upon us in modern day English departments. Also, in my experience, the "Western Canon" is far from a bunch of white guys agreeing with each other...

    So I'll be rereading:
    The Iliad
    Six of Shakespeare's major tragedies (Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra)
    Paradise Lost

    And reading for the first time:
    The Odyssey
    The Aeneid
    The Canterbury Tales
    The Divine Comedy
    Faust
    The Pentateuch
    The Gospels (never read them "cover to cover")
    The Koran

    And maybe a few others before I inevitably turn back to SF.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Omphalos » 01 Jun 2017 10:39

    If it were me reading that list, I would have to divide that stuff up and read it in pieces. Just too much philosophizin' to do all one after another.

    I agree with you on the approach. I don't find myself able to really get down on all fours with eastern writers. Im in my late 40's, and Ive been around the world a few times, but I always feel like I am missing some underlying assumption that would aid in understanding, especially when I read some African and near east writers. And I have never really delved into the far east stuff, save for folks like Murikami, who are writing fiction in a blended fashion.

    Bring the Jubilee was one of my favorite books, and I have read a TON of alternate history. I do not like his stuff now, but Harry Turtledove was the guy who got me started on alternate history. That and apocalyptic fiction fill my shelves. But if I could make another suggestion: Greener than you Think, also by Ward Moore. Really, really good, under-rated, and even harder to find. It's a bit opaque. It's clearly satire, and I think it's a bit of post-war finger wagging, but there's more to it than that. Oh, and Lot, and Lot's Daughter, but the same author. Good luck finding a copy, as that's his most obscure title, but good. It was the text from which the movie Panic in Year Zero was derived. Guess I love Ward Moore.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby SadisticCynic » 15 Jun 2017 18:44

    Dear God, Charlotte Bronte is so damn good! Why haven't I read her earlier?

    I also started Parable of the Sower by Butler. Can't wait to dig into more of Octavia's wonderful ideas. :D


    On the non-fiction side I started This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein on climate change and capitalism. I liked her previous two books, and I'm liking this one.

    Looking over the last few comments, I need to start using this thread as a serious resource for reading ideas. For that 'to read' list that just gets ever longer...
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Naib » 19 Jun 2017 10:21

    I've been keeping it light for the moment and rereading the wonderful Horace Rumpole series by Sir John Mortimer. If you are unfamiliar with the Old Bailey Hack then I suggest you give him a go. The books are quite short and are a real treat. The first is Rumpole of the Bailey.

    Then of course there is the television series with Leo McKern playing the role of Rumpole.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby SadisticCynic » 11 Jul 2017 12:42

    Short little article on Octavia Butler:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/ ... -the-story
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Postby Omphalos » 12 Jul 2017 14:13

    Nice article. thanks!

    I am sure I have given you this link before, but if not there is more stuff here:

    http://tau.solahpmo.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=268

    enjoy!
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