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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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thegiantbrain
August 18, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 11, 2022
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WadeMonnig
August 10, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 09, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 04, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 01, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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oliverkinne
July 29, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 28, 2022
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WadeMonnig
July 27, 2022
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oliverkinne
July 26, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 25, 2022
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The Split - Review

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thegiantbrain
July 21, 2022
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Fantasy Series to Read Recommendation

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27 Jul 2010 17:17 #69238 by jeb
Thanks all, I added more stuff to my Shelfari Plan To Read area.

I should mention that I liked the fantasy elements of Clive Barker's THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW as well as IMAJICA. I think he handles magic very well in the latter, in particular. The former is as well written a tale of the Ultimate Battle Between Good & Evil as I've read. I haven't read either of these in years, perhaps my glasses are tinted.

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27 Jul 2010 17:44 #69244 by Not Sure
Shellhead wrote:

Declare has a great premise. But somehow Powers didn't bring the various elements together to my satisfaction. I give him credit for an unusually realistic depiction of espionage, but it's less interesting than the cartoonish James Bond stuff.


Which of the Powers novels do you think is your favorite, Shellhead?

(One of the reasons I recommended it to Jeb, aside from it being my favorite of them, is that I see a strong similarity between it and the WWII information war sections of Cryptonomicon, but Powers puts a layer of magic under his.)

Jeb likes Stephenson more than I do, although I always make sure to read his stuff before I get pissed off by it again. What a frustrating writer that guy is.

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27 Jul 2010 17:44 #69245 by wolvendancer
jeb wrote:

Thanks all, I added more stuff to my Shelfari Plan To Read area.


A lot of good books there. I've not read 'Declare' or 'Nixonland' but I've read the rest. The opening to 'Suttree' is amazing, as is the rest of the book.

Joe Abercrombie sticks out like a sore thumb, though. When I was a book reviewer, they kept sending - and sending - and sending me his books, begging me to review them. And I kept trying, but wow, are they trash. Even my wife, whose tolerance of bad genre writing far outpaces mine, read twenty pages of the first book and threw it across the room.

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27 Jul 2010 17:59 #69246 by wolvendancer
Not Sure wrote:

Which of the Powers novels do you think is your favorite, Shellhead?


'Last Call' has my vote.

Jeb likes Stephenson more than I do, although I always make sure to read his stuff before I get pissed off by it again. What a frustrating writer that guy is.


He might be the worst writer of endings in the business, though he'd really have to battle Stephen King for the title. When asked for an example, I always tell people that 'Cryptonomicon' begins as a realist piece about the power of cryptology and computing in the past, present, and near future, and ends with the protagonist being stalked through a Phillipines jungle by a one-legged, ex-D&D-playing environmentlist lawyer.

'Snow Crash' is my favorite Stephenson, because he dispenses with the pretense at normalcy and seriousness and gets right to the crazy.

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27 Jul 2010 18:07 #69249 by Shellhead
Not Sure wrote:

Which of the Powers novels do you think is your favorite, Shellhead?


That's a tough choice. I guess that I would say Dinner at Deviant's Palace, but not because it's his finest work. It just speaks strongly to my experiences with organized religion. But I wouldn't recommend it as strongly as On Stranger Tides, which might be his overall best book. Maybe if I had more knowledge of history and literature, I would be more impressed with The Anubis Gates and The Stress of Her Regard. I'm also very fond of Last Call, because I liked so many of the characters. But now that it is considered part of a sort-of trilogy with Expiration Date and Earthquake Weather, Last Call has fallen a bit in my eyes.

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27 Jul 2010 18:10 #69250 by gorm
I am reading China's "Kraken" right now and really enjoying it! City and the City is next. His writing can get complex at times, but I'll take that over some of the mindless crap that has been flung out there (I'm looking at you Mr. Dan Brown!)

Steve G.

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27 Jul 2010 18:11 #69251 by Shellhead
wolvendancer wrote:

House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson


I read this a couple of years after reading The Changing Land, by Roger Zelazny. It was clear that Zelazny enjoyed the House on the Borderland, and borrowed some elements of that story to throw into a more chaotic mix for his own story. He even named one of the characters Hodgson.

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27 Jul 2010 18:30 #69252 by Not Sure
Shellhead wrote:

Not Sure wrote:

Which of the Powers novels do you think is your favorite, Shellhead?


That's a tough choice. I guess that I would say Dinner at Deviant's Palace, but not because it's his finest work. It just speaks strongly to my experiences with organized religion. But I wouldn't recommend it as strongly as On Stranger Tides, which might be his overall best book. Maybe if I had more knowledge of history and literature, I would be more impressed with The Anubis Gates and The Stress of Her Regard. I'm also very fond of Last Call, because I liked so many of the characters. But now that it is considered part of a sort-of trilogy with Expiration Date and Earthquake Weather, Last Call has fallen a bit in my eyes.


Star Wars prequel effect or something? I still really like both Last Call (close to my favorite) and Expiration Date, but I agree that Earthquake Weather was weaker. I felt that way about Three Days to Never as well. I re-read The Stress of her Regard earlier this year, and that's still quite a good book, too. I'll requeue On Stranger Tides, it's probably been at least five years since I read it.

The endings thing is the most common shot at Stephenson, and it sticks. That's not my beef with him, though. My beef is that every book manages to have at least one complete clanger of a science/logic breakdown that pulls me away from the book entirely. Also, re-reading the 90s portions of Cryptonomicon is so painful at this point it boggles the mind. That half of the book has not aged well, which is a shame as the WWII stuff is cracking.

The Diamond Age will probably always be my favorite of his, because it's the most solid book of his I've read. Snow Crash drives me apeshit after the first chapter (but what a great chapter), Cryptonomicon I discussed, Anathem breaks down near the end for me, and The Baroque Cycle (goddamn, how I wanted to love those books) has somewhere between 1 and 2 great books sandwiched between all the speeches where one character explains something to the other like they're an idiot. I haven't read The Big U or Zodiac or the Bury stuff.

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27 Jul 2010 18:33 #69254 by Not Sure
gorm wrote:

I am reading China's "Kraken" right now and really enjoying it! City and the City is next. His writing can get complex at times, but I'll take that over some of the mindless crap that has been flung out there (I'm looking at you Mr. Dan Brown!)


If you want mindful crap, you've come to the right place! wolvendancer is slinging literature recommendations, and the other F:ATties that hang out in the book threads also generally have excellent taste.

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27 Jul 2010 18:52 #69255 by wolvendancer
Shellhead wrote:

I read this a couple of years after reading The Changing Land, by Roger Zelazny. It was clear that Zelazny enjoyed the House on the Borderland, and borrowed some elements of that story to throw into a more chaotic mix for his own story. He even named one of the characters Hodgson.


I didn't know that! I read 'The Changing Land' when I was 16 or so, but I remember very little. It's always been clear to me, however, that the march through Chaos in the last book in the first (that is, the good) Amber series was directly inspired by Hodgson.

Not Sure: Zodiac is completely forgettable quasi-environmentalist Walmart fiction. He grew as a writer greatly after writing it, and I wouldn't bother with reading it.

Haven't got around to 'Kraken' yet, but I'm looking forward to it. My wife is picking me up a copy when she heads to the States next month (much cheaper there).

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27 Jul 2010 18:55 - 27 Jul 2010 18:57 #69256 by Space Ghost
Hey, these are all good recommendations. Been away from home for 12 days, so have been churning through some books:

Blood Men by Paul Cleave....it was pretty good.

I also read three books by Jim Barclay (about some fantasy mercenary group, "The Raven").....not a bad story, but the writing had a lot to be desired.

Cold Warriors and Ghost Dance by Rebecca Levene was picked up at an airport bookstore......I would not recommend reading these.

Blood Meridian -- just a great book.


EDIT: I did like Abercrombie's First Law trilogy......different then most and the magic was restrained. His follow-up "Best Served Cold" kind of starting sliding down....although I enjoyed the "master poisoner" in that book because it was such a different character type.
Last edit: 27 Jul 2010 18:57 by Space Ghost.

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27 Jul 2010 19:12 - 27 Jul 2010 19:17 #69258 by Not Sure
wolvendancer wrote:

Not Sure: Zodiac is completely forgettable quasi-environmentalist Walmart fiction. He grew as a writer greatly after writing it, and I wouldn't bother with reading it.

Haven't got around to 'Kraken' yet, but I'm looking forward to it. My wife is picking me up a copy when she heads to the States next month (much cheaper there).


That's what I figured about Zodiac, and considering he's actively embarrassed by The Big U, I don't think I'll ever bother to read either. I'm not so enamored of him as to pore through stuff that's early crap just to be a completist. I have no shortage of books to read.

Kraken I'll get to shortly after City and the City, but probably with some other stuff in between. I can't really explain how that one got away for so long, but my reading has been interrupted by a lot of school on top of work.
Last edit: 27 Jul 2010 19:17 by Not Sure.

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27 Jul 2010 19:33 #69260 by wolvendancer
Space Ghost wrote:

Blood Meridian -- just a great book.


I once told a fellow MFA (nice girl, wrote mostly relationship fiction) that I planned to name my firstborn son after Judge Holden. That may be the only time I've ever seen sometime actually recoil in horror - I mean, you read about it, but she actually did! Good times, good times.

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