What are you reading?

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SadisticCynic
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 15 Aug 2017 07:05

Yes, you have but I had forgotten about it!

Very cool to see videos of Octavia speaking. She seems like one of those people it would be awesome to have known.

I finished the Parable novels. Brutal reading, but I think probably the best of what I've read so far. Kindred is still on the list though, and it's apparently the famous one.


Now I have a copy of Erewhon by Samuel Butler. I remember Chig talking about this one, way back in ye olden dayes.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 22 Aug 2017 10:51

There's a Dune connection with that one too. Someone theorized that is where the name in the Butlerian Jihad came from.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 17 Sep 2017 18:23

Omphalos wrote:There's a Dune connection with that one too. Someone theorized that is where the name in the Butlerian Jihad came from.


I think that makes a lot of sense. The whole sections titled The Book of the Machines are pretty great, covering transhumanism, A.I., consciousness, "the extended phenotype" and a whole list of other very modern topics all the way back in 1872. That said apart from the really philosophical parts I found it a little dull plot wise. I might have missed some connections though; there's an awful lot of nice social commentary some of which is definitely ironic, but I expect some of it fits the time when the novel was written better.

After that I've started reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.


I finished A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky, and now I've started No Is Not Enough by Klein. On a real anti-establishment streak, I guess.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 18 Sep 2017 15:18

SadisticCynic wrote:
Omphalos wrote:There's a Dune connection with that one too. Someone theorized that is where the name in the Butlerian Jihad came from.


I think that makes a lot of sense. The whole sections titled The Book of the Machines are pretty great, covering transhumanism, A.I., consciousness, "the extended phenotype" and a whole list of other very modern topics all the way back in 1872. That said apart from the really philosophical parts I found it a little dull plot wise. I might have missed some connections though; there's an awful lot of nice social commentary some of which is definitely ironic, but I expect some of it fits the time when the novel was written better.

After that I've started reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.


I finished A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky, and now I've started No Is Not Enough by Klein. On a real anti-establishment streak, I guess.


Most utopian novels are boring as hell, IMHO.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Serkanner » 19 Sep 2017 16:53

I have started my second reading of "A song of ice and fire". Which is a bit painful because it is a series I shared, both reading and watching, very closely with Laura, my ex, but it is worth it.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 22 Sep 2017 09:17

Serkanner wrote:I have started my second reading of "A song of ice and fire". Which is a bit painful because it is a series I shared, both reading and watching, very closely with Laura, my ex, but it is worth it.


Doorstopper-sized fantasy novels have always put me off, but I want to read this series someday.

Maybe when I am retired and have the attention span to get through it.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 25 Sep 2017 17:21

Omphalos wrote:Maybe when I am retired and have the attention span to get through it.


Careful, those two things may be mutually exclusive! :shock:
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 26 Sep 2017 09:27

SadisticCynic wrote:
Omphalos wrote:Maybe when I am retired and have the attention span to get through it.


Careful, those two things may be mutually exclusive! :shock:


Ill still have my mind for at least a few years after I retire. I hope.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 24 Oct 2017 16:40

Recently got through Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens and Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. Both great reads, but I wish I'd come across the Hitchens one much earlier in life.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Hunchback Jack » 24 Oct 2017 21:16

Homage to Catalonia is fantastic. One of the best account of war in the Twentieth Century, in my opinion.

I'm currently reading Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King. I'm about half-way through. An interesting premise, but very slow. There are repetitive scenes of more-or less the same thing happening to different characters, without expanding on the underlying ideas. I know it easy to say "it needs a better editor", but ... it needs a better editor.

Omph, I see you recently read End of Watch. Of the three books in that trilogy, that's probably the weakest. The other two don't have any supernatural element to them, either, and they are the better for it.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby distrans » 07 Dec 2017 11:46

i though Gibson fell off noticeable after the sprawl trilogy
quit reading him a a bit after iduro

ran into a copy of 'pattern recognition' and am finding it quite good
hes getting the verbose just right

admittedly the protagonist suffers an advanced case of what I got

allergic response to marketing

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 08 Dec 2017 15:20

distrans wrote:i though Gibson fell off noticeable after the sprawl trilogy
quit reading him a a bit after iduro

ran into a copy of 'pattern recognition' and am finding it quite good
hes getting the verbose just right

admittedly the protagonist suffers an advanced case of what I got

allergic response to marketing


I'd say after Sprawl, Blue Ant is my favourite work of Gibson's. The allergy to marketing really resonated with me.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Serkanner » 09 Dec 2017 04:49

Cloud Atlas
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 09 Dec 2017 18:54

Got through a few nice science books: Climbing Mount Improbable and The Language Instinct by Dawkins and Steven Pinker respectively. Possibly a little dated but still great reads. In particular I've never tried anything regarding Chomskyian linguistics. Neat.

Now I'm on Philosophical Letters by Voltaire (great writer!) and Anathem by Stephenson.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 11 Dec 2017 11:55

Serkanner wrote:Cloud Atlas


I just saw that movie. I enjoyed it. I will need to go back and watch it again though. I have a feeling it is one of those flicks that gets better each time it's watched.

Felt like a move Robin Williams should have been in.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Serkanner » 11 Dec 2017 16:45

Omphalos wrote:
Serkanner wrote:Cloud Atlas


I just saw that movie. I enjoyed it. I will need to go back and watch it again though. I have a feeling it is one of those flicks that gets better each time it's watched.

Felt like a move Robin Williams should have been in.


As usual the book is better than the movie.
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Freakzilla » 21 Mar 2018 20:01

Ready Player One
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Naib » 22 Mar 2018 08:27

Freakzilla wrote:Ready Player One


Fun read if you grew up in the 70s-80s, but I wonder how younger readers feel about it?

Don't bother with the follow up book Armada. Similar to RPO, but not nearly as good.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Freakzilla » 22 Mar 2018 17:32

Naib wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Ready Player One


Fun read if you grew up in the 70s-80s, but I wonder how younger readers feel about it?

Don't bother with the follow up book Armada. Similar to RPO, but not nearly as good.


I did! Born in '71.

My son (16) has already read it. He said he didn't getmost of the references but liked it anyway.

Thanks for the warning. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, looking forward to the movie.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 23 Mar 2018 04:42

Freakzilla wrote:
Naib wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Ready Player One


Fun read if you grew up in the 70s-80s, but I wonder how younger readers feel about it?

Don't bother with the follow up book Armada. Similar to RPO, but not nearly as good.


I did! Born in '71.

My son (16) has already read it. He said he didn't getmost of the references but liked it anyway.

Thanks for the warning. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, looking forward to the movie.


Maybe I'll pick it up at some point then. I'd heard conflicting things; some said it was awful, some said it was amazing.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Naib » 23 Mar 2018 05:58

SadisticCynic wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Naib wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Ready Player One


Fun read if you grew up in the 70s-80s, but I wonder how younger readers feel about it?

Don't bother with the follow up book Armada. Similar to RPO, but not nearly as good.


I did! Born in '71.

My son (16) has already read it. He said he didn't getmost of the references but liked it anyway.

Thanks for the warning. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, looking forward to the movie.


Maybe I'll pick it up at some point then. I'd heard conflicting things; some said it was awful, some said it was amazing.


It's a love letter to 80s pop and nerd culture. So if you knew who E. Gary Gygax was in the 70s/80s, chances are you'll enjoy the book.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 23 Mar 2018 10:55

Naib wrote:It's a love letter to 80s pop and nerd culture.


This is pretty much why I never picked it up. Makes it sound like nostalgia is its biggest selling feature, and since cutting-edge culture is so annoyingly soused with nostalgia, I resisted picking it up.

Anyway, my attitude with most novels is "if it's good, it'll be good in 20 years, once the hoopla has died away completely, and I can enjoy it with nothing between me and the page."

Naib wrote:So if you knew who E. Gary Gygax was in the 70s/80s, chances are you'll enjoy the book.


I came for the Orcs. I stayed for the blow.

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Freakzilla » 23 Mar 2018 15:34

The writing isn't FH of course but it's OK and the story is good. But yeah, the '80s references are very thick and nearly essential to enjoying it.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 23 Mar 2018 18:40

I was born in '91, so a lot of that might go over my head. We'll see, I have a large enough pile to get through as it is.

Trying to keep up a decent pace this year. So far:

Kindred, by O. Butler. I wasn't as blown away as with her other works, but this was still amazing. I think this is the first slave narrative I've had the chance to read.

Shirley, by C. Brontë. God, I love her writing so much, yet nobody ever mentions this or Villette. Either Jane Eyre is overrated or it's really going to blow my mind once I get to it.

Crecy, by Warren Ellis. Same guy as Transmetropolitan. Short and sweet, but I liked it. Written from the point of view of an English longbowman, set on 'the day chivalry died' according to a historian friend of mine.

The Way of All Flesh, by S. Butler, (of Erewhon fame, round these parts). This is a vastly superior piece of writing I think. It has a lot to resonate with me, regarding narcissist religious parents and the far too slow loss of faith and it's consequences.

The Way the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker. As brilliant as expected, he takes his thesis from The Language Instinct, that a module in the brain for dealing with language should be understood in Darwinian terms, to its logical conclusion i.e. the whole brain should be viewed in this way. Even though the book is 20 years old, it's refreshing to me to have a challenge to the rather dull claim that everything about humans is 'cultural'.

I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai. Pretty simply written, but quite a life story for someone who's just in their teens. I hope she keeps managing to accomplish things, rather than fade into obscurity. We need more visible people with her kind of empathy and reasonableness, particularly Muslim women.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 26 Mar 2018 09:50

SadisticCynic wrote:Kindred, by O. Butler. I wasn't as blown away as with her other works, but this was still amazing. I think this is the first slave narrative I've had the chance to read.


That's the one with time-travel, right? Until I look at Wikipedia and remind myself, I always confuse this one and that stand-alone vampire/romance book she did. The title "Kindred" reminds me of a vampire game my brother and I used to play, I suppose.

I think I heard Joe Haldeman say at a convention once that novel was why she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. I see that you liked it, but what did you think was lacking in it?


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