Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 17, 2018, 05:48:06 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Search:     Advanced search
Donate! | Shop: Amazon
*
Home Help Search Login Register
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  General Discussion  |  Topic: Return of the Book Thread 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Pages: 1 ... 181 182 [183] 184 185 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Return of the Book Thread  (Read 577953 times)
BobtheSomething
Terracotta Army
Posts: 252


Reply #6370 on: April 18, 2018, 11:02:00 AM

I've been trying to read Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. I've never read Vinge before but he's I guess somewhat critically acclaimed and I think I bought the paperback at a garage sale somewhere. For anyone who has read his work before, is this a special snowflake novel or or all his works boring as watching grass grow in slow motion? I'm about 2/3rds of the way through and am struggling to give one solitary fuck about the story or all but one of the characters. It's only saving grace is a somewhat prescient take on the proliferation of networked Internet and wearable potential, but as a story instead of a "this world could happen" it's just so bland. The main antagonist has a motivation so flimsy and unbelievable, I keep expecting him to twirl a mustache. What seems like the main character is just a fucking unlikable douche, and no one else is remotely developed or interesting character save the 10-year old girl Miri. I hate to give up on a book that isn't objectively bad, but I'm reaching the point of "life's too short to be reading books that aren't good." Any one else know if I'm going to be rewarded for sticking with it?

Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep  (the one with the slow zones) is pretty great.  I haven't been able to finish any of his other books.  Is Rainbow's End the one with the google glasses and the white rabbit?  Just put it down and read AFUTD.  Skip the sequel/prequel, though, if you don't like boring.
Soulflame
Terracotta Army
Posts: 5725


Reply #6371 on: April 18, 2018, 02:31:55 PM

I am putting The Black Company books through a read. Has anyone read them?  why so serious?

The Black Company books are good, but brutal.  They cast an utterly unsympathetic gaze on humanity.

I prefer the Garrett P.I. novels myself when it comes to his work.  They strike me as being inspired by the Rex Stout series of detective novels, which I read when I was younger, and also enjoyed a good deal.
Shannow
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3609


Reply #6372 on: April 18, 2018, 02:47:48 PM

John Scalzi has a new book out 'Head On'

Always found him worth a read.

Someone liked something? Who the fuzzy fuck was this heretic? You don't come to this website and enjoy something. Fuck that. ~ The Walrus
lamaros
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7600


Reply #6373 on: April 18, 2018, 10:09:25 PM

I am putting The Black Company books through a read. Has anyone read them?  why so serious?

The Black Company books are good, but brutal.  They cast an utterly unsympathetic gaze on humanity.

I prefer the Garrett P.I. novels myself when it comes to his work.  They strike me as being inspired by the Rex Stout series of detective novels, which I read when I was younger, and also enjoyed a good deal.

One of them is literally the big sleep paraphrased. I enjoy them also, but the quality is very uneven. The best Black Company books do more interesting things, but Garrett is decent plup.

Expect poison from the standing water.
Ironwood
Terracotta Army
Posts: 27599


Reply #6374 on: April 19, 2018, 04:45:47 AM

I read Vinges Deep Books and I thought they were slow garbage.  My old man just still raves and raves about what good sci-fi they were, but the guy switches me off totally with his writing.  I too find him boring.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
Mandella
Terracotta Army
Posts: 759


Reply #6375 on: April 19, 2018, 12:49:20 PM

I've been trying to read Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. I've never read Vinge before but he's I guess somewhat critically acclaimed and I think I bought the paperback at a garage sale somewhere. For anyone who has read his work before, is this a special snowflake novel or or all his works boring as watching grass grow in slow motion? I'm about 2/3rds of the way through and am struggling to give one solitary fuck about the story or all but one of the characters. It's only saving grace is a somewhat prescient take on the proliferation of networked Internet and wearable potential, but as a story instead of a "this world could happen" it's just so bland. The main antagonist has a motivation so flimsy and unbelievable, I keep expecting him to twirl a mustache. What seems like the main character is just a fucking unlikable douche, and no one else is remotely developed or interesting character save the 10-year old girl Miri. I hate to give up on a book that isn't objectively bad, but I'm reaching the point of "life's too short to be reading books that aren't good." Any one else know if I'm going to be rewarded for sticking with it?

Vernor Vinge is one of those authors that just about "everybody likes" but me, kind of like Kim Stanley Robinson and George R.R. Martin, so I'm with you on that.
BobtheSomething
Terracotta Army
Posts: 252


Reply #6376 on: April 19, 2018, 01:12:38 PM

I didn't find A Fire Upon the Deep to be any slower than an Ian Banks novel.  A Deepness in the Sky, on the other hand...

The dog aliens were fun and the Blight is up there with some of the best sci fi viallains.  If it helps, you can pretty much skip the humans and read for the aliens.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 01:14:24 PM by BobtheSomething »
Soulflame
Terracotta Army
Posts: 5725


Reply #6377 on: April 19, 2018, 05:30:57 PM

Locked In (and the accompanying short story) are very good.

I have Head On at home, just need to sit down and read it
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6378 on: April 20, 2018, 06:31:08 PM

I liked Fire Upon the Deep--it was conceptually elaborate space opera. The sequel was slow and not that engaging. Rainbow's End fell in the middle for me--not my favorite ever, but some things that I found moderately interesting.

I think Vinge's fame hinges as much on the story "True Names" as anything else--it has some of the same prescience as Neuromancer.
BobtheSomething
Terracotta Army
Posts: 252


Reply #6379 on: April 20, 2018, 10:21:13 PM

Wait.  Is Kim Stanley Robinson actually well liked?
Reg
Terracotta Army
Posts: 4768


Reply #6380 on: April 21, 2018, 07:40:24 AM

He won a lot of awards including a Hugo for his Mars books so I think he must be. Those are the only books of his that I've read though.
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 39498

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #6381 on: April 21, 2018, 12:51:05 PM

I think I read the first Mars book and thought it was decent, though I can't really remember a lot about it.

Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6382 on: April 21, 2018, 02:03:25 PM

I like Robinson well enough, though I grant he's not a page-turner. The Mars books were good; I also liked his Three Californias trilogy. His most recent works have crossed over into being boring for me.
Teleku
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9672

http://tinyurl.com/d89qk7g


Reply #6383 on: April 21, 2018, 02:20:30 PM

I really enjoyed The Years of Rice and Salt, though Iím sure its not for everybody.  Havenít read any of his other works, but have always meant to get around to the mars trilogy.

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
-Stephen Colbert
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6384 on: April 21, 2018, 06:10:50 PM

I love to teach The Years of Rice and Salt in my class on counterfactual history, because there's nothing else like it, but it's also an odd book, and to some extent KSM's orthodox Marxist take on history makes it less imaginative or complicated in the last part than it might be otherwise.
pants
Terracotta Army
Posts: 574


Reply #6385 on: April 27, 2018, 03:35:53 PM

I enjoyed the Mars books, and while I love the idea of Rice and Salt, I've had 3-4 tries at it and just can't finish it. 
Samwise
Moderator
Posts: 17336

sentient yeast infection


WWW
Reply #6386 on: April 27, 2018, 04:04:29 PM

I really liked Rainbow's End, but mostly because the tech/world was interesting and IMO well thought out (much better than most cyberpunk-ish novels are).  I also kinda like the cranky asshole protagonist because I identified with him. 

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 39498

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #6387 on: April 27, 2018, 04:20:29 PM

I finished Rainbow's End and it did not get any better. The ideas behind it, the concepts were solid, but the execution was just not. I was horribly bored by the whole thing, none of the characters were likable except the little Gu girl, and the antagonist's main motivation was just mustache twirling-ly ridiculous. The twist of Rabbit's probably identity was pretty heavily telegraphed. Like most of the things in it, it wasn't nearly as clever as the writer thought it was. And the writing was just drab as dishwater.

Teleku
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9672

http://tinyurl.com/d89qk7g


Reply #6388 on: April 28, 2018, 07:46:10 AM

I love to teach The Years of Rice and Salt in my class on counterfactual history, because there's nothing else like it, but it's also an odd book, and to some extent KSM's orthodox Marxist take on history makes it less imaginative or complicated in the last part than it might be otherwise.
Yeah, the ending was the weakest part of it.  Just sort of went way bland and used cheap copouts to make everything suddenly hunky dory instead of coming up with a unique future.

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
-Stephen Colbert
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6389 on: April 28, 2018, 07:47:51 PM

To be fair, that's really really hard to imagine.
lamaros
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7600


Reply #6390 on: April 28, 2018, 09:38:07 PM

To be fair, that's really really hard to imagine.


Almost never pulled off in conclusions. It's why I don't mind unfinished ends. Readers' imaginations will generally do better work than the author if they're not clear on what they're working at.

I don't mind a Deus Ex Machina sometimes, better to give up than try and pull the wool over readers heads. The ends of the Nights Dawn Trilogy is entertainingly bad ballsy in this regard. "Written myself in to a corner, fuck it, space deity is it, and I'll move on to the next book series!"

Expect poison from the standing water.
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6391 on: April 29, 2018, 04:57:13 PM

Yeah, but this isn't a "how am I going to get all the plot threads tied up in a neat knot?", this is "what would China, India and the Islamic Middle East have become without Western Europe as a factor"? which is about the most mind-bogglingly difficult counterfactual history question ever. This is not a matter of trying to decide what Lee would have done if he'd won Gettysburg, it's a matter of inventing a completely alternative modernity (or something so alternative that we wouldn't call it modernity at all). So KSR just kind of said, "And the end, Marxist teleology is right and it would have been industrial capitalism with different names". Which is not a terrible strategy for answering, but also kind of meh.
lamaros
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7600


Reply #6392 on: July 16, 2018, 09:54:35 PM

I've been trying to read The Hydrogen Sonata but struggling quite a lot. Lots of weak philosophy ramblings for me, and a fairly boring plot to date. Does it get better?

Expect poison from the standing water.
Abagadro
Terracotta Army
Posts: 11644

Possibly the only user with more posts in the Den than PC/Console Gaming.


Reply #6393 on: July 16, 2018, 10:39:37 PM

I liked it. It's a satire even more than most of the Culture novels (practically Douglas Adamseque at points) so if you are expecting something serious I don't think you will like it.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.Ē

-H.L. Mencken
MahrinSkel
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9610

When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back... she was bullshit!


Reply #6394 on: July 16, 2018, 10:41:27 PM

I've been trying to read The Hydrogen Sonata but struggling quite a lot. Lots of weak philosophy ramblings for me, and a fairly boring plot to date. Does it get better?
Unfortunately, no. He was diagnosed halfway through, and it shows. Hard to fault a dying man for phoning in the contractually required minimum, but Chekov's Violin remains in the case.

--Dave

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
Chimpy
Terracotta Army
Posts: 8788


WWW
Reply #6395 on: July 16, 2018, 11:53:12 PM

I read Andy Weir's new book, Artemis last week. It is pretty good. Not quite as techno-nerdy as The Martian, set in a Moon colony.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6396 on: July 24, 2018, 09:27:50 PM

Some people really hated it.

Just finishing the last book in N.K. Jemisin's Hugo-award winning trilogy--The Stone Sky is the last one, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate the first two. I didn't like Jemisin's earlier fantasy work and was honestly thinking maybe she was overrated a bit because of people trying to be encouraging about diversity. I feel bad for having even thought that--these three books are terrific. Among the best fantasy novels I've ever read. Really compelling world-building, fantastic characters, great writing and plot structure.
Soln
Terracotta Army
Posts: 4624

the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #6397 on: July 25, 2018, 12:59:22 AM

Can you say a bit more without spoilers?  Why is it good?  Asking since I may pick them up, but canít tell the story hooks from Amazon description.  Thanks.
Ironwood
Terracotta Army
Posts: 27599


Reply #6398 on: July 25, 2018, 07:45:10 AM

I just finished Children of Time, a book I'd avoided for a while because, well, it looked shite.

It really, really wasn't.

If you're an arachnophobe, it may not be for you, but it's a bloody fun read.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6399 on: July 25, 2018, 08:17:01 AM

So The Fifth Season is built around a world where there are periodic geological catastrophes and all communities are essentially organized around the need to survive severe ecological and climatic disruption for potentially lengthy periods of time (decades, maybe even a century). But there are also people who have the ability to manipulate geology, called orogenes, who are feared and loathed in part because their workings can accidentally or on purpose kill regular people (because an orogene draws energy from sources around them to do their workings, which means they basically freeze air, objects, and living things) and in part because they're capable of causing or exacerbating geological events--but they're also necessary, because they can reduce the severity of quakes (or stop them entirely) and many other useful things. This much we learn pretty quickly in the books--the orogenes are watched carefully by another group of people with mysterious powers, the Guardians, who are authorized to kill an orogene right away if they think one is dangerous. The orogenes are all required to undertake rigorous training in the capital city of the major empire that we learn about in the first book.

It starts with a bang: someone seems to do something that will effectively bring the world to an end. Then we go back in time before that moment to learn how we got to it, and along the way, learn that it's not quite what we thought.

Over time, that's repeated: all is not as it seems, in multiple ways. The first book features the interweaving of three separate stories that eventually come together in a very very satisfying and at least to me surprising way (the kind of surprise where afterwards you think oh of course, why didn't I see that coming). The second book begins to delve into the deeper mysteries about the world and the characters and set up the big epic challenge of the third book. The main character is a really fantastically complicated person, both sympathetic and flawed in very engaging ways.
lamaros
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7600


Reply #6400 on: July 25, 2018, 09:44:46 AM

I started reading The Fifth Season a while ago and stopped pretty quickly as it felt like self loving rubbish prose. Maybe I was in a bad mood. I'll give it another go.

Expect poison from the standing water.
Khaldun
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9685


Reply #6401 on: July 25, 2018, 11:40:52 AM

I was initially put off but once I got to the significant reveal around mid-book I was pretty hooked. Of the recent works of fantasy that have tried to deal with difficult questions of power, enslavement, history, memory, justice, etc., I think this one is pretty deft in the end. You end up with some sympathy for the people who've been bossing around the orogenes even as you recognize the ugliness of what they do to them; and there are deeper struggles going on that the protagonists are unaware of at the start.
Soln
Terracotta Army
Posts: 4624

the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #6402 on: July 25, 2018, 09:41:40 PM

Thanks Khal, thatís very helpful.  Iíll get them all.
Quinton
Terracotta Army
Posts: 3283

is saving up his raid points for a fancy board title


Reply #6403 on: August 18, 2018, 05:01:27 PM

I just finished Children of Time, a book I'd avoided for a while because, well, it looked shite.

It really, really wasn't.

If you're an arachnophobe, it may not be for you, but it's a bloody fun read.

I'll second that.

An A story of uplift-experiment-gone-awry and a B story of every generation-ship-gone-to-hell trope you could imagine collide with possibly surprising results.
WayAbvPar
Moderator
Posts: 19053


Reply #6404 on: August 20, 2018, 05:17:56 PM

Re-reading 1984 because the news wasn't depressing me quite enough.

Terrifying. Truly terrifying.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

Always wear clean underwear because you never know when a Tory Government is going to fuck you.- Ironwood

Who the hell taught you how to write? Fuck, that sentence is like internet transmitted face-attacking knives. Jesus. schild
Pages: 1 ... 181 182 [183] 184 185 Go Up Print 
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  General Discussion  |  Topic: Return of the Book Thread  
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.10 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC