Good books you have read or are reading.

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#1 FullAuto

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 11:25 PM

Crossed, by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows.

Okay, we're all familiar with the worldwide plague that turns infected into ravening horrors, right? Been quite popular since 28 Days Later came out. Crossed is another one of those, except there's a difference. The infected aren't stupid. They're not mindless, and the infection seems to increase their capacity for evil. Yet they don't retain all of their mental capacity, either. So you now have a world mostly populated with creatively murderous evil bastards, and the few humans left alive are in even more trouble than your usual survivors.

I wasn't that enthusiastic, when I started reading it. Being a bit of a fan of this little horror sub-genre, I thought it was played out and used up, nothing left to do, nowhere left to go, nothing left to see. I was wrong. Mainly, what happens in these cases is the disease makes animals out of humans. The Crossed are much, much worse, thanks to their capacity for rape, torture, cannibalism, maiming, murder, torture, rape, maiming, torture and rape. They often indulge in all of these at the same time, on the same victim. Needless to say, it's a bit strong right from the off, and although I consider myself inured to violence, there is a scene or two that shocked me.

It's a quite inventive (even if the only invention is in the different ways people are killed) series, and as always with Ennis, contains more than one inappropriate laugh, and yet manages to feel very bleak throughout. Harsh, but good stuff.

Read the first issue for free, all nice and legal.

Trade Paperback.

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#2 Azrael Strife

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 02:23 AM

Interesting book!

I'm reading Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko.
In our world, along with us, live the Others, humans with supernatural abilities. Among them you can find your typical horror movie monsters like Vampires, Werewolves, Shapeshifters, Magicians, Warlocks, etc. The Others must choose a side when they find out their real nature: the Light or the Dark.
To oversee the Others, the Watches were created. The Night Watch deals with the Dark Ones who come out at night, they are agents of the Light. In the opposite side, the Day Watch is composed by Dark Ones, to keep an eye on the Light Ones who go out during the day.
The story focuses on a mid-level Night Watch agent, who finds himself in the midst of a Day Watch plot to tip the balance between Light (Good) and Dark (Evil) and bring forth another war between both sides.

Highly recommendable, it's a saga composed by four books: Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch and Last Watch.

Also I recommend, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I believe most of your english-speakers may have read it already, or at the very least heard about it, but it doesn't come over these parts so I had to order it from Amazon. Very funny and well written book :cool:
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#3 Thorondor

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 02:53 PM

Criminal: The Deluxe Edition (Hardcover)

Ed Brubaker (Author) and Sean Phillips (Illustrator) teamed up to deliver this Eisner and Harvey Award-Winning series. This oversized edition collects three issues that, as the title implies, revolves around criminals, their motivation and their wake.

It's not cheap in any sense of the word, and the quality of this production is unmistakable; from the thick paper it's printed on to what's printed on the paper.

Inside you'll find three stories that are all different in their own special way and yet still sharing something that interconnects them - life, crime, family and others. It offers an unapologetic and unforgiving showing of how untidy real life is. There is no preaching and yet you always feel like you're walking away with something worth learning.

The illustration work is noir-tinged, as are the stories, in a style that may not be to everyone's mainstream taste. Then again, it's not meant to.

::

Regardless, I daresay once you start reading you'll never look back. Highly recommended.

#4 FullAuto

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:06 PM

If Criminal is three trades, then that's not a bad price at all!  Bought.

I've read the books and seen the films of Lukyanenko's Watch series, not too shabby overall.  And Hitchhiker's Guide, here in the UK at least, is a seminal work and regarded as a classic.  :cool:

The Road, and Blood Meridian, both by Cormac McCarthy.

The Road is a post-apocalyptic tale, and Blood Meridian is about Indian hunters in the American West.  Both are violent, lyrical, haunting and in some ways, beautiful.  Two absolutely excellent books, either one of which could be a writer's masterpiece.

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#5 Azrael Strife

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 02:11 AM

Has any of you read the X-Com novel? is it worth reading?
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#6 Thorondor

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:49 AM

@AS: haven't read it. Zombie might help you there, as he has it. I believe he said it was a decent enough read, though nothing 'out of this world'... :(

::

@FA: on a diet of grim & grimmer, I see... :cool:

#7 Space Voyager

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:10 PM

Read Matter, reading The Use of Weapons, both Iain M. Banks. Great read, both.

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 02:56 PM

Banks' The Player of Games is a must for any strategy gamer.  :cool:

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#9 Azrael Strife

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 03:28 AM

Reading The Orc King, first book of the Transitions Trilogy, by R.A. Salvatore. Somehow I feel like Salvatore's just bored with Drizzt, the Hunter's Blades Trilogy was actually the first Salvatore Forgotten Realms trilogy that bored me, even if it was a world shaping trilogy that narrated a fundamental change in the political divisions of the world of Toril.

Night Watch was awesome and thrilling, already ordered the other 3 books, along with The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, can't wait to read them :cool:
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Posted 19 May 2010 - 07:00 PM

We, by John Dickinson.

What happens when you take someone who has lived their entire adult life plugged into a worldwide network that renders speech redundant because it allows a complex form of communication that borders on pure empathy, as well as providing information to every question they can conceive, unplug them, and shoot them to a tiny observation base eight light years distant, populated by just three other people?  An engrossing book about society, communication, what it means to be a person, individuality, oh you name it.

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#11 Thorondor

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 07:48 PM

Brief hijack:

Quote

(...) intended to study and shape the future of the web, including the development of semantic web technology, designed to make the internet more intelligent in terms of what people expect from it (...)
::

'We' just lack funding... :cool:

#12 FullAuto

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:43 PM

Bah, bloody tories.

War Without Garlands, by Robert Kershaw.  The best account I've read of Operation Barbarossa, why it succeeded so hugely, and why it ultimately failed.  Kershaw touches briefly on the Soviet side of things, but mainly focuses on the Germans, and what they did wrong, not just in the strategic, operational and tactical sense, but also in the moral, political and ideological, which came to influence and degrade their effectiveness.  Although perhaps not as wide ranging as some works of military history, Kershaw examines the campaign in detail, the work is well referenced, and he uses many primary sources, primarily diaries and letters, which adds a personal feel to it.  Excellent.

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#13 Azrael Strife

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:00 AM

Finished reading "The Orc King", it actually picks up at the middle, quite decent. Also finished today "The Pirate King", now this one has a bit more of thrill, plus some thought-lost characters appears in a very nostalgic fashion, and we see yet more world-changing events, with the deaths of some very important (and likeable :cool:) characters, and the reappearance of some villains that actually surprised me. Looking forward to the last book, The Ghost King :( Though I feel like even more characters will die, especially since there are many humans and the trilogy spans 20 years.

In the following days I should get my Amazon shipment with Day Watch (and the rest of the series), and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Can't wait! In the meantime, I have "Promise of the Witch King" (kings galore!), book 2 of the Sellswords Trilogy. Unfortunately it seems to happen before the Pirate King, so I already know a few of the events that will happen :(
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#14 FullAuto

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 07:23 PM

ManyBooks has thousands of books that you can read for free, one of which is Blindsight by Peter Watts, a hard sci-fi work about first contact which, I'm glad to say, is yet another rather fresh take on it.

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#15 Thorondor

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:50 PM

Thanks for pointing out ManyBooks, FA. ;)

As it happens, upon browsing there, I chanced upon a rather unusual book that I braved to read. It is titled "After London" (or Wild England).

I shall say, perhaps by virtue of it having been published in 1885, that it does not follow the conventions we are used to in terms of attempting to grab the reader outright.

Far from it, it requires in fact some determination to endeavour going through the first handful of chapters where the setting in which the plot is to take place is described with great attention to detail - from the natural state of the world and how it may have came to be so, to the intricacies of the prevailing social customs where still they have some hold.

The protagonist won't fit easily into any concept of common heroics you might harbour, but whilst simply being humane and rather flustered at some of his own ineptitudes and inadequacies, he nonetheless perseveres in his attempt to see the world for what it is.

Adventurous discovery is hard in coming, and when you're finally enjoying it, the book abruptly comes to an end.

::

There are surely easier, more enjoyable reads, but in its non-ostentatious authenticity, which does not bluntly try to sway you, I haven't come to regret having read it.

*adds one more notch to the post-apoc chest*

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 07:35 PM

The Death of Grass is another apocalyptic masterpiece you should definitely check out, Thor.  Nothing to do with gardening, honest.

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#17 Thorondor

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:21 PM

More innards to peck?

::

Thanks for regurgitating.

#18 chiasaur11

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 12:06 AM

Anyone else read John Steakley's Armor?

Good military SF. And it has casualty rates to make X-Com blush.

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 12:43 AM

Read it and Vampire$ recently, kept me quite amused!

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#20 Azrael Strife

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 08:03 PM

Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch and Last Watch are all wonderful books, Last Watch was a very satisfying end to an excellent saga.

On the other hand, I am finding The Restaurant at the End of the Universe to be slightly boring. The hillarious wackiness that was hallmark of the first book is reduced and is not nearly as effective in this one, it almost feels like a regular sci-fi book with some attempts at being funny.
I do find, however, Marvin to still be a really funny character.
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