Good books you have read or are reading.

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#41 FullAuto

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 12:30 AM

Pratchett is a damn good writer.  The Watch books (Guards, Guards, Men at Arms, etc) are the best of a great lot.

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#42 NKF

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:29 AM

If you get The Colour of Magic you have to get The Light Fantastic. Those two have to be read together or you'll go beyond mad and out the other side finding out what happens after the cliffhanger. Being one of the first works in the series, it will be a bit rougher comparedt o later works but is no less entertaining.

It's hard to recommend any one, but perhaps try Guards! Guards!, Witches Abroad, Reaper Man, Hogfather and maybe the stand-alone Small Gods. The more recent books like Going Postal would be good too. That should give you a fair sampling of the various themes (Guards, Witches, Wizards, Death, etc).

While most books are stand-alone (bar a few of Rincewind's stories) there is continuity in the books and characters grow and the world gets more modernised.

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#43 The Veteran

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:12 AM

How boring and technology dependent am I? I've not read any fiction for at least a few years now! Last 4 books I read have all been bookumentaries and all follow a similar pattern. I now know everything there is to know about pirates the world over, battleships the world over, the battle of trafalgar and Titanic.

I'm reading The Titanic Experience now which is interestingly different in that it has removable facsimile documents like boarding passes, inventories, telegrams, weather reports and all sorts. I think I've know every rivet of the Titanic and her fateful adventure since we had to write a creative account of her maiden voyage in year 9 english. I just fell in love with her and I had to read my piece to the class because I'd spent so much time on it :laugh:

When I do sit down with fiction it's invariably Mr Pratchett, a very popular man in these forums it seems. My first Discworld story was bought for me by my godparents at a very young age in fact but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. So it went away for a good few years but when I came back to it with a slightly expanded vocabulary I immediately fell in love with it.

For those who haven't already experienced the rest of Terry's work (shame on you) I'd highly recommend Truckers, Diggers and Wings. It's a great little trilogy and it's not quite such heavy reading as some of the discworld novels either so good for a casual read!
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#44 FullAuto

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:46 PM

I find his earliest stuff (TCOM, TLF) to be the weakest.  His writing isn't as good, the Discworld isn't yet a coherent setting, the characters don't have a lot of depth...but when you read them, move on, and look back, it's an absolutely superb journey.

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#45 The Veteran

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:21 AM

I'm not sure I agree. While both Pratchett and the Discworld has seen constant improvement over the course of it's lifetime I still love the first ones and it was essentially those 2 books that captured my interest in the rest of them.

I guess when the first book was written he wasn't really expecting to do a whole series of books in this setting so he didn't feel the need to think in depth about the planet right from the start. Same can be said for the people who live there and everything else. Perhaps he was just intending it to be those 2 books as if memory serves me they're the only 2 parter he's ever made.

Just a thought :laugh:
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Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#46 Pete

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:20 AM

I think during his earlier books he still had a full-time job if memory serves.

*grabs random early Discworld book off shelf* Oooh! Wyrd Sisters! :laugh:

In fact, the short bio you'll find in the front of the earlier books states that it was 1987 before he started writing them full-time, and I recall reading somewhere that he realised he was really onto something when writing Mort.

I do like the fact that throughout the series he's never forgotten where it all started. In his latest - "I Shall Wear Midnight" in fact ties in with a character from a very early book, though I won't say which.

(Incidentally, anyone put off by the fact that the "Educated Maurice" and Tiffany Aching series of books are supposedly for younger readers should read them anyway - Pratchett's idea of writing for younger readers is writing the same as he always does and letting the publishers stick a badge on the books suggesting it's for a younger audience - he doesn't dumb them down one bit and they're the stuff of nightmares in places, quite literally).

And if you want something a little more realistic that always reminds me a bit of Moving Pictures (it's the cave for some reson) then read Nation. Not set on Discworld, just a slightly different parallel Earth but no less enjoyable.
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#47 The Veteran

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:09 AM

I seem to recall seeing one of the other books he did, maybe a Tiffany one as I remember a sleeved hardback with an image of a girl on a black background... I didn't realise they were Discworld books when I saw them so never paid them much attention. Haven't bought any books for myself in a long time though so remember my birthday this year guys :laugh:
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#48 FullAuto

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:19 AM

Here's something interesting I saw over on Charles Stross' blog:

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Charlie, what is the % of females among Science Fiction authors? My guess is a lot less than 55%.

Funny you should ask this ...

Among SF and Fantasy authors, the percentage of females is 55%.

Among SF authors, it's around 45%, if I remember the survey correctly.

Among hard SF authors, it's lower ... but, per discussions in a forum for working SF/F novelists, a lot more women want to write hard SF: it's just that their publishers steer them away from it "because hard SF readers won't read books by women". Although around 40-45% of hard SF readers are women ...

Would not have guessed that at all!

P.S.  Anything by Stross is excellent.

While you're browsing for books by him and deciding whether to buy them (do so) read Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, because it's great.

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#49 Azrael Strife

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 05:37 PM

Has anyone read the Chronicles of Narnia? is it for kids or can be also read by adults like, say, Harry Potter?
It picked my interest since Richard Garriott (Lord British from Ultima games) said it was one of its inspirations for the series.
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Posted 28 August 2011 - 05:43 PM

I'd say it's meant for children but it can be enjoyed by adults.  The Christian overtones are rather overpowering for me these days, but they are a classic for a reason.

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 12:10 PM

Been reading a lot, but the best lately have been graphic novels.

Nemesis, by Mark Millar (Kick Ass) is a pretty good one, fairly short but very dynamic, which wonders what if a Bruce Wayne type chap was evil?  You then have a Batman-level villain, and that's exactly what happens here.  In some ways it exposes just how ridiculous superheroes are, their inhuman levels of skill, determination, foresight etc.  It's a great read.

I Kill Giants is an indie comic entirely removed from superheroes, and it made me cry.  I was careful not to drip any on the pages, of course, but its a wonderful tale about a young misfit and her attempts at giant killing with her magic warhammer, plus the usual ins and outs of school and family life.  Superb, 10/10, sad but very beautiful and human.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft is by Joe Hill and is pretty good.  I'm not too fussed about the art or the colouring, but there's some good lettering work, and the story is interesting.  Some very innocent fantasy stuff mixed with the darkest and cruelest bits of reality jabbing through.  I've just bought the first book, looking at buying the next three today.  That good.

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#52 Sgt. Strike

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:41 AM

I'm reading, right now, one of the Starfist series on my e-reader, I can't remember which one off the top of my head. I'm also reading Watch on the Rhine, John Ringo and Tom Krantman. They are both good individual writers, but teaming up, great, and I'm reading Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I saw the first season already, but the book does follow along, and gives a little more depth to the show. Good reads are the Vampie earth series by E.E. Knight, Mass Effect series by Drew Karpshyn, anything by both Barb and J.C. Hendee, and, of course the Honorverse by David Webber.
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#53 silencer_pl

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 08:39 AM

I've mostly read Forgotten Realms books. Any story written by R.A. Salvatore about Drizzt Do'Urden is great, also books from Elaine Cunnigham are great - specialy 'Daughter of the Drow' trilogy swept me away and Evermeet: Lands of the Elfs. Also Ed Greenwood is nice to read.

Mass Effect series are also good - light and nice to read. I've also read the cycle of the dragons about the Dragonlance - Dragons of spring, summer, autmun and winter, and Twins Trilogy.

Toy Wars from Ziemiański the author of Achaja - don't know if it has foreign distributions but if yes - the story here is superb. Lot's  of modern language but not to such a degree like in Bulletstorm.

From no Sci-Fi, Fantasy I recommend - Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield - bit of fiction story but its great.
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#54 Space Voyager

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 01:15 PM

I've been reading Songs of Fire and Ice series for the last few months. First two felt incredibly good, then things started dragging and dragging. I'm reading the fourth book now and I'm convinced the whole series could be condensed into two or three books. Right now it seems as though R.R. Martin means to continue with the story forever. People die, new people arrive into the never ending story.

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:42 PM

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From no Sci-Fi, Fantasy I recommend - Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield - bit of fiction story but its great.

I quite enjoyed that!

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Right now it seems as though R.R. Martin means to continue with the story forever.

An accusation that has been levelled at Martin, Terry Brooks, etc, is that they fell in love with Tolkien's stuff, never got enough of it, and simply want to do their own never-ending version.  If you can't fit it into a trilogy, you're probably suffering from diarrhoea of the brain, and even writers who only do trilogies need their heads looking at.

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#56 Sgt. Strike

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:36 AM

The thing is, I read a ton of fantasy and sci-fi. But I stick with what I know. Martin is a good, but long writer. Terry Brooks is a good writer, but also a little on the long side. Robert Jordan is another one. In all of the books published before his death, Jordan said he would write until the day they nailed his coffin shut. And actually he did write until he died. Had he lived longer, he would have done more, and even did a dark parallel to the Wheel of Time series. And you can also add E.E. Knight to the list as well. But he does keep things short and easy to follow, as well as grab your attention and keeps it. I also like the fact that at times he does a reminiscing with the main character, and folds it all into everything. Anyway, good writers can do trilogies, and you are pretty much done. Others, they can do more, and still you are hooked until they are done, or you are. r.A. Salvatore's Drizzt books are pretty much trilogies that you can pick up one set of, read it, and be done. But he does hook you into the world, and you need to either go back or go forward. Brent Weeks has one great trilogy out, and he is writing another series, I think, that is different from the trilogy he has out. I've not read the new stuff, yet. I will sooner or later.
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Posted 06 November 2011 - 02:23 PM

Permanence, by Karl Schroeder.  Peter Watts mentioned it in Blindsight's excellent afterword, so I picked it up.  A good look at differing methods of space travel and the societies that they create, the possible inferiority of intelligent sentient tool-users to other species, and why over a long enough timescale, no species may survive, no matter how advanced.  Fascinating.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.  If you're an 80s child, this book will ring a lot of bells, but unfortunately Cline is a writer only in the most literal sense of the word.  He's just not very good, and action, emotional scenes, etc are made pedestrian by his lack of skill.  A shame, because the plot about finding secrets in a life-consuming online game, and the way it influences real life, is quite good.

Erfworld - the finest comic about turn-based gaming ever.


#58 Space Voyager

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:50 AM

View PostFullAuto, on 4th November 2011, 12:42am, said:

An accusation that has been levelled at Martin, Terry Brooks, etc, is that they fell in love with Tolkien's stuff, never got enough of it, and simply want to do their own never-ending version.
  
:( WHAT?! Had I known that sooner I wouldn't have started reading!!! Last I heard was that Martin means to end the story at 7 books and that almost made me stop reading in the middle of third one. Before that I thought the 4pack my brother bought me from Amazon was it and I thought I was getting somewhere.

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If you can't fit it into a trilogy, you're probably suffering from diarrhoea of the brain, and even writers who only do trilogies need their heads looking at.
MOST true.

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:27 PM

Reamde (not a typo) from Neal Stephenson.  Really damn good, it's the first novel in ages that ricochets back and forth around the globe and the reasons for this happening don't feel like a flimsy excuse just to have exotic settings.  It kicks off with a robbery in an online game (okay, Stross got there first with Halting State) and rapidly gains depth and scope.  Good prose, well-plotted, a cast you give a shit about, and some right arse-kicking.  1,000+ pages, so in the event you don't like it, it makes a satisfying thrown missile.

Erfworld - the finest comic about turn-based gaming ever.


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Posted 10 February 2012 - 10:49 PM

Just ran through two books by Chris Knopf, The Last Refuge and Two Time. Both bloody good novels, with one of the best protagonists I've met in ages.  They're mysteries, or at least investigative stories, but Sam Acquillo isn't a copper or PI or coroner or reporter.  He's a retired engineer whose life went fairly wrong, he's divorced and hardly speaks to his daughter, no close friends or family, and he lives on a modest property he inherited in a rich area.  He spends his time drinking (he sometimes starts in the morning, which is excellent), trains sporadically due to boxing when he was younger, and occasionally does a bit of manual labour.  His life is kind of shit but also kind of ideal, in that he doesn't do anything he doesn't want to do.  He's in his early fifties, so he's still active and strong but is also well aware of his limitations.

He's very well rounded, one of those characters who seems real.  He drinks, but he's not the bitter alcoholic stereotype.  He doesn't investigate crimes every five minutes.  He can have a fight but he's not invincible.  He doesn't reconcile with his daughter over a course of cheese and sentiment biscuits.  He doesn't attract women like shit attracts flies.  His career as an engineer informs his view of the world (e.g. he tends to see problems in an engineering context, he approaches problems methodically, thinks about factors and variables, systems and processes).

Great pair of books.

Erfworld - the finest comic about turn-based gaming ever.






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