What'cha Readin'?

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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4021  Postby Fallible » Apr 10, 2017 8:04 am

Thanks, wolfie, I'll bear that in mind.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4022  Postby surreptitious57 » Apr 11, 2017 3:10 pm

Inversions : 5
Player Of Games : 2
Feersum Endjinn : 5
Consider Phlebas : 9
Against A Dark Background : 5


Phlebas is easily one of the best novels that I
have ever read and it is on a par with these :


Hannibal : Thomas Harris
The Damnation Game : Clive Barker
Revelation Space : Alastair Reynolds
Something Happened : Joseph Heller
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo : Stieg Larsson
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4023  Postby Fallible » Apr 12, 2017 6:23 am

Ah, I would have had Weaveworld down has Clive Barker's best novel.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4024  Postby surreptitious57 » Apr 12, 2017 3:25 pm

I have read Weaveworld but am not a fan of fantasy per se preferring the realism of sci fi
instead. The more unrealistic a plot is the less I like it so I do not read any fantasy now. I
am also not a fan of steampunk because that is another genre I cannot take too seriously
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4025  Postby Macdoc » Apr 12, 2017 4:07 pm

ah but the imagery in Peridido Station is mind searing ....:D
It's his work by far.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4026  Postby NamelessFaceless » Apr 27, 2017 2:41 pm

I'm reading Elmer Gantry and I think it's awesome. Sinclair Lewis nailed it.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4027  Postby Macdoc » May 05, 2017 6:27 am

Image

Satisfying, engaging.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4028  Postby surreptitious57 » May 05, 2017 1:57 pm

Gave up Surface Detail after 159 pages. Too loose. Not tight enough. Currently only two sci fi authors make me want to read their entire back catalogue : Alastair Reynolds and Greg Egan. The rest are simply not in their league [ Peter Hamilton / Dan Simmons / China Mieville / Stephen Baxter / Greg Bear / Neil Gaiman / Neal Stephenson ] I have two by Nancy Kress which I have to read which I bought after reading her very profound short Beggars In Spain. I hope she can reproduce such quality in novel form and join the hallowed company of Reynolds and Egan. I am currently reading Farewell To Reality : How Fairytale Physics Betrays The Search For Scientific Truth by Jim Baggott. I think james would like him he says the same things he does
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4029  Postby Macdoc » May 05, 2017 9:16 pm

Pretty odd mix considering Mielville is hardly sci-fi at all.....it's steam punk.( very good ..Peridido Station is off the charts...

Try Kim Stanley Robinson, or David Brin or even Lois McMaster Bujold for imagination and wonderful space opera with a social punch.

Neither of your top picks are Hugo or Nebula winners for novels. There are a lot of good writers out there. :coffee:
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4030  Postby surreptitious57 » May 05, 2017 11:22 pm

Greg Egan won a Hugo in 1999 for his novella Oceanic but judges do not always get it right so who has or hasnt won an award is not necessarily a reliable indicator of talent. For example in 2002 Neil Gaiman won a Hugo for American Gods. Yet in 2000 Alastair Reynolds was not even shortlisted for his debut novel Revelation Space. Arguably the best space opera ever and one of the best hundred sci fi novels ever too. So his lack of a Hugo is therefore merely an oversight upon the part of the judges rather than any serious deficiency in his talent as a writer. He has consistently produced work of impeccable quality for the last seventeen years. His talent is therefore beyond question
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4031  Postby Fallible » May 05, 2017 11:27 pm

I'm sure this discussion was had before regarding 50 Shades of Grey . It looks like unimaginable dross to me, but millions enjoy it. I've read Man Booker Prize short listers and found them terrible. Appreciation of fiction is down to subjective preference, and awards won is not any guarantee that a book will be enjoyable.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4032  Postby surreptitious57 » May 06, 2017 12:54 am

I totally agree. However there has to be some consistency with regard to awards. Otherwise they are rendered meaningless Those who are on panels will be there because of their literary knowledge so would expect them to get it right most of the time. I think the Booker probably succeeds in that as it can launch the career of whoever wins it. Rushdie and Ishiguro and Kureishi and Winterson come to mind. I do not want to sound elitist but I would never read 50 Shades Of Grey. For this is a book written for people who never read books so I am not the target audience. I much rather read the telephone directory
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4033  Postby Macdoc » May 06, 2017 3:35 am

It's was a breakthrough book for soft erotica/bondage in mainstream fiction. Even the author was caught off guard.
Yes authors are overlooked on awards but nominations and awards can't be overlooked either.
...I did say no novel awards for the two mentioned. If you go through a reading list of the Hugo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Award_for_Best_Novel
, Nebula and BSF nominees and winners over the years, you'll have a very satisfying run. I just thought the blanket statement of virtues was over the top.
The major awards are not popularity contests...they are expert opinion .... and not always to everyones taste.

I don't enjoy Gene Wolfe all that much but he is highly regarded

He has also compiled a long list of nominations in years when he did not win, including sixteen Nebula award nominations and eight Hugo Award nominations.[35]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Wolfe
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4034  Postby Fallible » May 06, 2017 6:47 am

surreptitious57 wrote:I totally agree. However there has to be some consistency with regard to awards. Otherwise they are rendered meaningless Those who are on panels will be there because of their literary knowledge so would expect them to get it right most of the time. I think the Booker probably succeeds in that as it can launch the career of whoever wins it. Rushdie and Ishiguro and Kureishi and Winterson come to mind. I do not want to sound elitist but I would never read 50 Shades Of Grey. For this is a book written for people who never read books so I am not the target audience. I much rather read the telephone directory


I'd never read it either. It looks like shit. Have you read any Rushdie, by the way? It's like trying to eat 20 Jacobs cream crackers without a drink. I choose not to read him either, despite the awards, because I know I won't enjoy it. No amount of someone else's literary knowledge is going to impact on whether I enjoy a book or not. I will either share a judge's subjective view, or I will not.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4035  Postby Macdoc » May 06, 2017 11:29 am

Appreciation of fiction is down to subjective preference


It's not...there are objective standards to critique literature. There are lots of technically excellent books I do not enjoy reading and some semi-literate trash that I do.

Enjoyment IS subjective., understanding and appreciating good writing even if you do not end up enjoying it is a learned skill and one reason some guidance from awards is useful to parse the clutter.

There are good stories with poor writing, and good writing with a boring theme. Good story well written is the holy grail for writers and keeps readers turning pages well after bedtime.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4036  Postby Fallible » May 06, 2017 11:42 am

Substitute enjoyment for appreciation, because that's what I meant. I know about critiquing literature, I have a degree in it.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4037  Postby Pulsar » May 06, 2017 1:40 pm

Fallible wrote:Have you read any Rushdie, by the way? It's like trying to eat 20 Jacobs cream crackers without a drink.

Yep. I'm trying to get through the Satanic Verses, and it's driving me up the wall. I can't stand that stream-of-consciousness style of writing. I don't know if I'm going to finish it.
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4038  Postby Macdoc » May 06, 2017 2:36 pm

I didn't either ..I suspect many of the kudos were political and showing support for anti-Islam, anti-Iran rather that actual quality of prose or story ....look ...our token middle eastern for the Lit establishment.

Sort of " I read Khalil Gibran" badge of ecleticism for your library shelves. :roll:

A good thing with eBooks ....no one sees your library but you. :coffee:
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4039  Postby surreptitious57 » May 07, 2017 3:48 am

I will read anything long as the subject matter is interesting and the prose is tight. Where it is loose then I may not actually finish the book in question. I do not mind sub plots or metaphorical narratives long as I can understand them. But looseness
is a total no no for me. For it tells me the author did not invest enough time and energy in making the plot tight as it could be. Looseness and boring are the only reasons I will fail to finish a book. Although it is still relatively rare for this to happen
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Re: What'cha Readin'?

#4040  Postby crazyfitter » May 09, 2017 9:27 pm

Just coming to the end of Bettany Hughes marvellous book Istanbul, A Tale of three Cities. Its left me staggered at how little of European history I know. I'm glad I haven't read it as an academic there's just so much to digest.
A few tidbits. Constantinople developed by Greek speaking Romans as a second Rome to rule the eastern empire. It never had its own standing army but used mercinaries, including at one time Vikings who in previous years had invaded and sacked part of the city, arriving there by longboat and down the Danube.
It was a city that did a lot to develop the christian religion and church. Christian women couldn't leave their homes but still managed to become very powerful people and were responsible for the design and building of many churches and civic areas.
Eunuchs were also major players in both Constantinople and Istanbul. In both eras the city attracted and depended upon for growth and skills both immigrants and refugees.
The famed Janissaries of the Ottoman city were not just the poor and orphans brought to marshal exellence by the Sultans as I had always been led to believe but were largely christians and even pagans who, after they had been circumcised were allowed to practice whatever religion they chose. They became an arrogant elite and much detested.They were eventually allowed to trade and took part in all sorts of illicit activity throughout the empire including tax scams. They were responsible for the overthrow and execution of a Sultan and were themselves eventually overthrown and executed.
Harems feature a lot and the Sultans harems have been political powerhouses of some very astute women, again designing and building Mosques with there own substantial monies. One chief concubine was in regular communication with Queen Elizebeth1and they exchanged presents. At other times the girls and women there seemed to live a miserable life sitting about wondering which was getting them first, syphylis or smallpox.
During WW1 the Sykes-Picot agreement was made between British, French and Russian diplomats which carved the Ottoman Empire up for the European powers and gave Constantinople to Russia. The Bolshevik revolution scuppered that and brought the agreement to light. Apparentley this agreement features in modern day IS propaganda.
At the end of WW1 the British fleet sailed into Istanbul and was largely welcomed by the population who hoped it was an opportunity to get rid of the minority Turkish population. Suddenly pigs were given the name Mohammed among many other insults.

Still got a few chapters to go. Hope my brief precis wasn't boring !
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