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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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What books are you reading?

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03 Feb 2022 22:51 - 03 Feb 2022 22:54 #330409 by Dr. Mabuse

RobertB wrote: Joe Abercrombie's Age of Madness trilogy. If you like Joe Abercrombie, it's more of the same. Luckily I do.


As do I. I blew through those books. Loved them.

Really enjoy the Black Company books, I finished the first trilogy last summer and am trying to hunt down first edition copies of SHADOW GAMES and THE SILVER SPIKE to accompany my 1st ed of DREAMS OF STEEL.
Last edit: 03 Feb 2022 22:54 by Dr. Mabuse.
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03 Feb 2022 22:59 #330410 by dysjunct
The Education of Little Tree. A good yarn, but …

It was published as a “true story” of a boy raised during the depression by his Cherokee grandparents. Lots of coming of age stuff, with learning to live in harmony with the land, as modernity slowly asserts itself and the old ways become a distant memory.

AND THEN (ominous chord) the author was revealed to not only not be Cherokee, but to be a KKK member who probably wrote the line for George Wallace “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” The thought is that he wrote the book as some kind of penance. But he concealed his identity and never apologized for his earlier work in maintaining jim crow.

So the author’s an asshole, but the book is still good, but it’s also fiction. So I dunno.

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04 Feb 2022 17:03 - 04 Feb 2022 17:07 #330453 by Shellhead

Dr. Mabuse wrote:

RobertB wrote: Joe Abercrombie's Age of Madness trilogy. If you like Joe Abercrombie, it's more of the same. Luckily I do.


As do I. I blew through those books. Loved them.

Really enjoy the Black Company books, I finished the first trilogy last summer and am trying to hunt down first edition copies of SHADOW GAMES and THE SILVER SPIKE to accompany my 1st ed of DREAMS OF STEEL.


The Silver Spike is excellent. Shadow Games starts out okay, but leads to the introduction of too many new characters, which might have been tolerable if they didn't all stick around for so long. The whole series stumbles into a quaqmire called Dejagore, bottoming out with the incoherent ramblings of Murgen in Bleak Seasons. The series recovers in She is the Darkness, except there are still too many named characters running around. Soldiers Live is an okay stopping point if Cook never gets around to completing A Pitiless Rain. I have not read Port of Shadows and would like to, as that goes back to more interesting times when the Company was still in the North.
Last edit: 04 Feb 2022 17:07 by Shellhead.
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04 Feb 2022 17:07 #330454 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic What books are you reading?
I read THE FIFTH SEASON and the other N. K. Jemison titles in that series and they're pretty good. The middle one suffers from A FEAST FOR CROWS (GRR Martin) issues as there's no one to root for. Everyone is kind of shitty and we're rooting for the least shitty? Or the one that's taken the longest time off from being shitty? I got through it.

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04 Feb 2022 19:52 #330458 by DarthJoJo
I respect the world building and prose of The Fifth Season, but it’s so unremittingly bleak that I couldn’t be bothered to look up the rest of the trilogy. And that final line reads like a joke.
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05 Feb 2022 00:19 #330463 by KingPut
Replied by KingPut on topic What books are you reading?
Enjoying The Blade Itself series by Joe Abercrombie joeabercrombie.com/books/the-blade-itself/
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05 Feb 2022 13:22 #330471 by jason10mm

KingPut wrote: Enjoying The Blade Itself series by Joe Abercrombie joeabercrombie.com/books/the-blade-itself/


I would love to see a live action or even animated version just to see how they try to depict Glotka and dan luther since they have such distinct traits.

Logan I assume will just be Jason Mamoa.

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12 Feb 2022 09:58 #330714 by Sagrilarus
Just finished the audio version of Merchanter’s Luck. Hard core science fiction, and excellent fiction period. There is just so much character development that simply isn’t present with other fiction titles I get recommended to me. Not meaning to be overly pejorative but I’m of the opinion that women are better fiction writers because their characters’ motivations and actions are richer and more unified. Not the biggest sample space, just a personal observation. The author has a very complicated character in this one and his actions, driven by his history, are smack dab in the middle of the plot. The two can’t be disentangled.

This is CJ Cherryh, who I bumped into 20+ years ago for the first time and was impressed. These days I’m much more interested in non-fiction but this series is a fine exception to the rule. Really good listening. Rimrunners is next, and I think the company producing these has license for the entire run. That would be something.
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13 Feb 2022 08:18 #330731 by DarthJoJo
Got an itch to explore some classics lately, the sort of stories that are so imprinted on the national consciousness through generations of retelling that the source is barely recognizable. So I started with Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, perhaps not so important for how we remember it today but how it inspired a generation of writers that we do still care about.

It wouldn't be published today. Princess doesn't really make a strong mark on any of the sort of things we respect about writing today. There's barely a plot. John Carter finds himself on Mars and just kind of wanders around for a few weeks, being captured and escaping captivity several times over, falling in love, losing his love and uniting the greatest army Mars had ever seen to save his love. Stuff just kind of happens, and set pieces including a day of gladiator battles that could easily serve as the climax to a season of television are elided over in a single page.

Our hero is a perfect man. Brave enough to literally confront hundreds of enemies on his own and strong enough to survive those battles. He's compassionate to animals, taming and earning their loyalty through kindness. He inspires loyalty in the best people he meets and hatred in the worst. Every other character follows this same path: either they're the very image of virtue or despicable, conniving sneaks.

Burroughs' writing comes off best in the world building, though that may be too strong a term. There are millennia of history on Mars, but he spends little time laying the foundations for the enmity between the red and green men of Mars or between the cities of Helium and Zodanga. Perhaps it would be better to call it world imagery. The visions of Carter and the green men slinking through cities of incredible architecture and immense frescoes, whose origins and means of creation are long lost is striking.

Then there's the racism. Carter only finds himself on Mars after falling asleep in a cave while hiding from hundreds of pursuing Indians. Why are they hunting him? Because they are vicious warriors, who had just finished torturing and murdering his fellow gold prospector. No humanity, just hungry wolves that can use rifles and ride horses. Normally I would just roll on from this, it's crude and cruel and wrong but, unfortunately, not unusual.

But then Carter falls in with the green men of Mars. Even if you take Burroughs' description of the Indians as wholly accurate, his green men are still objectively worse. They have no songs or stories, they are locked in perpetual warfare with pretty much everyone else on Mars, they will smash the unprotected eggs of their enemies, the only way they know to tame their mounts is beatings, and the only way to advance in society is to murder your superior. Love, erotic or familial, is essentially unknown to them. Conceiving and rearing children is just a means of continuing the race.

And yet Carter has empathy for them. He finds the humanity within them, fights alongside them, treats the green men of Mars as people, and they respond in kind. Does he really not see what he's writing here?

It's one thing to fall in with cruel stereotypes that are older than you. It's another to be look beyond those stereotypes with your invented people just pages later. It's frustrating.
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13 Feb 2022 08:56 - 13 Feb 2022 08:57 #330732 by Sagrilarus
John Carter is pre-golden age and that world-exploring aspect was a major feature of science fiction at the time. I do not recall overt racism from when I read it 15 years back short of the 2-dimensional level of culture exposition that you would find in fiction of that day. I may need to bring this up on my Kindle again. It's public domain so it's free.

To some extent you're reading a history book as well as a novel when you reach back that far. The state of the art was very different; it reflects the culture.
Last edit: 13 Feb 2022 08:57 by Sagrilarus.
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13 Feb 2022 11:57 #330735 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic What books are you reading?
There are 11 books in that series.

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13 Feb 2022 18:12 #330742 by jason10mm
If you keep reading you can choose to see all sorts of nefarious shit in the Mars novels. Each "human" race is a monotone color, there are yellow men at the poles, black men pirating from the moons, and white men in there somewhere, fallen rulers IIRC.

Anyway, I don't think Burroughs was writing from a racist place at all, he was more interested in the culture conflict of his epitome viriginian male (later a cousin as well) with various apescts of fictional cultures designed to highlight why the American way is the best way. Stand up to tyranny, fight for the woman you love, be courageous, be honorable, never quit.

With a lens from today you can make a lot of racial comparisons based on the color alone but I think they were chosen more for their stark contrast on the artwork and ease of description.

The books are fun to read if only because they move quickly, have lots of action, and do go to weird places at times. It's a whimsical male fantasy, while there are, IMHO, some nice female characters there, they don't conform to the template required today so they wouldn't be admired as much.

But really, who DOESNT want to ride the Martian desert, rifle in hand, sword on hip, six legged saber tooth dog lizard thing at your heel, ready to fight the hordes for the person you love?

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13 Feb 2022 21:07 #330744 by quozl
Replied by quozl on topic What books are you reading?
The 5th book (Chessmen) is where things start to get really weird. The 11th book isn't a novel, just two different stories in one book. Just so don't you get your hopes up for an awesome finale like I did.
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13 Feb 2022 21:19 #330745 by DarthJoJo
It’s not that I think Burroughs is going full Lovecraft in Princess. It’s that he’s trading on tired stereotypes of real people in the first chapters but looking beyond them for invented people later. Burroughs can extend empathy and humanity to his creations but not for an Indian tribe. It’s an embarrassing and disappointing blind spot.

My dad might have some of the later Mars books, but they’re definitely lower on the list. I’m on Tarzan now, waiting on Conan and planning on Wells and Verne.
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13 Feb 2022 23:09 #330747 by Sagrilarus
Read Cherryh instead. You’ll be glad you did.

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