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  #11401  
Old 01-02-2017, 02:57 PM
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The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
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  #11402  
Old 01-02-2017, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosewood View Post
Not sure how far you've gotten with it by now, D. For myself I can say that "she"-the-universal-pronoun fell into the background maybe 1/3 of the way into the first book, and as the second and third books went along I noticed that Leckie provided enough description of most of the characters that I could form a decent picture of them and gender was a side thought, if it was pertinent at all (pretty much never). A fun effect.
About a third of the way through. Really liking it. So you recommend the following books?

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Originally Posted by keele864 View Post
If you like Ann Leckie, I suspect you would like the late Iain M. Banks as well. Similar progressive space opera, though with more of an edge to it. Use of Weapons is the only one I've read so far, and it took a little while to get going, but the payoff is incredible.
Banks was actually among the recommendations my friends made, so he's on my list!

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Originally Posted by Mightyblue View Post
Oh, man, that is the least of the Thomas Covenant books' problems.
I have seen the Thomas Covenant books listed on "best" fantasy lists frequently, but I've never heard anyone say they actually like them.
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  #11403  
Old 01-02-2017, 06:43 PM
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That's more an artifact of the times they were written/published in, they were big serious fantasy in something of a Tolkien-ien mold (on face value, anyway) . The first books were published when pulpier adventure fantasies like the Belgariad (which is still the opposite of brief) were very popular. The Thomas Covenant books are all Serious Literature and Serious Fantasy, and critics of all eras tend to prefer those over other works. This is not helped by the books themselves, which generally follow probably one of the greatest jackasses ever committed to paper.
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  #11404  
Old 01-02-2017, 06:52 PM
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Finished Charles Burns' Last Look (AKA, the X'ed Out trilogy omnibus).

It's interesting because I think for the most part, the metaphorical stuff isn't all that hard to figure out but at the same time, I feel like the "what really happened" (or at least the world that more resembles our own) and it's relationship to the Bizarro Tin Tin world is pretty fascinating. Despite comparisons in the book itself to David Lynch, I think it's less a "what does it all mean" kind of story but does require a lot of digesting of emotional digesting of what happened.

The art is gorgeous. It's interesting, because even when he isn't drawing the Tin Tin stuff, his style feels really clean (and flawless) in a way that makes it even more unsettling when gross shit happens.

I don't know how often I'll revisit it or if I know anyone who would want to borrow it, but I'll probably be keeping this book close for a while. Definitely a strong recommendation.
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  #11405  
Old 01-02-2017, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyblue View Post
That's more an artifact of the times they were written/published in, they were big serious fantasy in something of a Tolkien-ien mold (on face value, anyway) . The first books were published when pulpier adventure fantasies like the Belgariad (which is still the opposite of brief) were very popular. The Thomas Covenant books are all Serious Literature and Serious Fantasy, and critics of all eras tend to prefer those over other works. This is not helped by the books themselves, which generally follow probably one of the greatest jackasses ever committed to paper.
I was actually digging the first few chapters, with the bitter, angry Covenant in our world. It's just that after the shift happens it's all just a bunch of bad fantasy names, and the only agency the main character's shown at all is to horrifically rape someone. The hook seemed alright, but meh.
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  #11406  
Old 01-03-2017, 03:28 AM
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Yeah, not a fan of the first trilogy. Not sure if the second is worth it. His sci fi Gap series seems intriguing though
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  #11407  
Old 01-04-2017, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Peach View Post
the only agency the main character's shown at all
Yeah, I'd been meaning to read it for a while, decided to buy the first volume, reached that point, and went nooooope. Never reading the series.
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  #11408  
Old 01-05-2017, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
I have seen the Thomas Covenant books listed on "best" fantasy lists frequently, but I've never heard anyone say they actually like them.
I have, but it turned out he was wrong. Give up now while you still can!
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  #11409  
Old 01-05-2017, 10:24 AM
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Thing is, both Lord Fowl's Bane and Sword of Shannara were published in 1977, and both were seen as the first inheritors to Tolkien high fantasy. And while Brooks set best-seller lists on fire, Donaldson was seen as the more deep and um... literary (for lack of a better word) of the two. That reputation stuck and so you see Thomas Covenant show up on Best Fantasy lists even when it's a product of a time that doesn't really work anymore.
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  #11410  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:08 AM
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I read all six (6!) of the Thomas Covenant books that were published at that time (there are even more now) because of a boy I had a crush on in high school. I also read the Gap series for the same reason.

Do not read these books.

They are only "literary" in the sense that he uses a lot of obscure vocabulary words, some of which I literally could not find definitions for in an era before the internet was as exhaustive as it is now without using the OED at our public library. (And also common words I didn't know because I was 15 or whatever. I remember for sure I learned both "abdicate" and "abnegate" from those books, among many others. So, I'm sure they helped raise my ACT/SAT scores.)

If you think the portrayal of sexual violence in Thomas Covenant is bad, the Gap series is even worse. There are multiple viewpoints here rather than one protagonist, and part of it is that one of most central female protagonists is given basically a long term sci-fi-date-rape-drug, then raped an impregnated by the most central male protagonist, who is like bad boy anti-hero rapist Han Solo. Bad boy anti-hero rapist Han Solo gets to become a cyborg. This is, by the way, the Good Rapist in the story, who has been framed (not for rape--he did the rape) and eventually rescues our protagonist.. There is also another rapist, who is the Bad Rapist. Lots of these books are the female protagonist being caught alone in a space ship with the Good Han Solo Rapist Who Becomes a Cool Cyborg, or with The Bad Rapist.

Last edited by estragon; 01-05-2017 at 11:26 AM.
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  #11411  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:17 AM
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I mean it's not hard to be more literary than Brooks but I don't think Donaldson would have gained noterity if it hadn't been a time/place thing.
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  #11412  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
I mean it's not hard to be more literary than Brooks but I don't think Donaldson would have gained noterity if it hadn't been a time/place thing.
Oh, to be clear, I wasn't trying to disagree with you. You said "literary (for lack of a better word)," so I imagine we're more or less on the same page. I was just trying to add more information.
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  #11413  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:41 AM
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No I didn't think you were disagreeing or anything. I just wanted to clarify.
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  #11414  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estragon View Post
I read all six (6!) of the Thomas Covenant books that were published at that time
Holy balls, it says here he ended up doing TEN of them?
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  #11415  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:49 AM
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Yeah, he did a sequel series in the '00s I want to say?
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  #11416  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:56 AM
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thomas covenant's equivalent to lotr's rohan (the horse people) are literally called "ramen"
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  #11417  
Old 01-05-2017, 11:59 AM
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Rohan was the place. The Rohirrim were the people.

*pushes up glasses*
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  #11418  
Old 01-05-2017, 12:15 PM
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So should they be called the Ramenmen then
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  #11419  
Old 01-05-2017, 02:21 PM
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Yeah, I switched over to John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades.

I just listened to an extremely excellent episode of the War Nerd Podcast about right-wing politics - particularly facism - in science fiction. This should be an interesting read in that context. Scalzi's a big lefty, yet Old Man's War was unabashed military sci-fi, and not evidently anti-war either, except for the Covandu, maybe. I've heard that isn't case with the other books in the series, though?
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  #11420  
Old 01-05-2017, 02:27 PM
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The Old Man's War series is kind of a serial view of a semi-facist and definitely authoritarian human society slowly losing both the wars it fights and its national hegemony. The human colonial government tries to paint most of the alien species as warmongering conquerors after the few precious planets humanity's managed to settle, but you find out pretty quickly that a lot of these wars, and some other inter-species conflicts, were created by human black ops or supported by them.

The human government's been doing this for so long that a bunch of species form a galactic federation with the sole aim of putting a stop to human dickishness.
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  #11421  
Old 01-05-2017, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Thing is, both Lord Fowl's Bane and Sword of Shannara were published in 1977, and both were seen as the first inheritors to Tolkien high fantasy.
Shannara is also trash.
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  #11422  
Old 01-05-2017, 04:23 PM
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I didn't mean to imply it wasn't.
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  #11423  
Old 01-05-2017, 07:23 PM
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I just want to make sure no one makes the mistake of thinking it's good.
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  #11424  
Old 01-05-2017, 07:24 PM
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Covenant is at least trash in a faintly more interesting way than Shannara, though, which is some of the most oatmeal-served-cold-with-no-raisins trash ever composed.
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  #11425  
Old 01-05-2017, 07:27 PM
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I'm reading the new Tad Williams book, The Heart of What Was Lost, a short story sequel to his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. It's the story of a siege told from both sides of the conflict, and is just phenomenally done. Dark, harrowing, and probably the most emotional and conflicting book he's written. Totally love it. If you've never read his books, this also functions as a stand alone story.

Also, i got invited today to be a Beta reader for the next Brandon Sanderson mega novel!
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  #11426  
Old 01-06-2017, 06:10 AM
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I'm reading Wuthering Heights. I really like the prose? I don't think it would fly today but it's interesting.
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  #11427  
Old 01-06-2017, 08:44 AM
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Started in on A Perfect Union of Contrary Things last night, the Maynard James Keenan autobiography. Not entirely sure I dig the writing style but it looks pretty breezy so I'll probably stick with it.
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  #11428  
Old 01-06-2017, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
About a third of the way through. Really liking it. So you recommend the following books?
Each of the following two books is different from the first, and in my opinion, they're good! Though Justice remains my favorite.

Quote:
I have seen the Thomas Covenant books listed on "best" fantasy lists frequently, but I've never heard anyone say they actually like them.
As someone who wasn't able to get through a particular scene about 100 pages into the first book, I'd suggest you pass. Makes me wonder what else was out there in the '70s that could take that series' place on those lists!
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  #11429  
Old 01-06-2017, 04:14 PM
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There's always Flux & Anchor, I suppose...
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  #11430  
Old 01-06-2017, 04:15 PM
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And I've finished Cibola Burn which, honestly, I think I may have liked the most of the series. Starts off with a smaller scale, more personal conflict between settlers on a new planet and the research and mining company that actually has the land-rights to the place, and it does a pretty good job of pointing out how both sides have pretty solid arguments... riiiiiight up until everything goes right to hell courtesy of the wrong people getting 'sploded.

And then the planet turns out to actually not be a planet and is doing its damnedest to kill everything nearby. And also someone shot a Cthulhu-bullet into it.

The gradual, and ridiculous, escalation of problems alone would have made it a pretty fun book, but for once the characters personalities all started come out beyond the pretty standard "Angry Guy", "Relaxed Guy", "Smart Girl" and "Malcom Reynolds" that defined them so far.

Anyway, still feeling space shippy, so I guess I'll read one of Pterrys lesser known, first published works The Dark Side Of the Sun
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