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 Post subject: GoodmanGames BookClub - Sci Fi and Fantasy suggestions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:30 am 
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I'm an avid reader, so I thought I'd post to see what other people on the forums have enjoyed. I'm currently finishing Brandon Sanderson's "The Well of Ascension". I highly recommend picking up his "Mistborn" novel, and going from there. It's one of the best fantasy books that I've read in awhile.

Here are some other books from my personal favorites:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson
Dune by Frank Herbert
Game of Thrones series by George R.R.Martin
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:50 am 
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George RR Martin's books pretty much top my list for fantasy. Also I recommend Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and the Temeraire books by Naomi Novik. Banewreakerand Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey were good too, but quite different from her more well-known Kushiel books.

For sci-fi, nothing beats David Brin in my book, particularly Startide Rising and The Uplift War.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:41 am 
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mythfish, you live in Xenia, OH? Doesn't that town get demolished every so often by a tornado? If memory serves me, it's happened twice within the past 10 years or so...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:23 pm 
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I've only lived here for about 9 months. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:28 pm 
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mythfish wrote:
I've only lived here for about 9 months. :)


I'm tellin' ya...Xenia, Ohio is cursed. Move out while you can (or invest in a nice storm cellar). ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:49 pm 
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Cool, I need some new reading options. I recently picked up China Mieville's new book (Un Lun Dun) but haven't read it yet. Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is great reading, too, though I tried his Baroque trilogy (twice) and just can't make it past page 50. I'll check out Snowcrash.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:11 am 
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I would recommend these to anyone looking for something cyberpunk:
Nueromancer
Count Zero
Mona Lisa Overdrive
Virtual Light
Idoru
Burning Chrome

all by William Gibson
You don't have to read them all. But you'll want to. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:09 am 
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Okay, looking at my bookshelf, I would recommend:
  • The Malazan Books of the Fallen by Stephen Erikson
  • The Noble Dead series by Barb & JC Hendee
  • Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
  • The Runespell Trilogy by Jane Welch
  • The Book of Man by Jane Welch
  • The Black Magican Trilogy by Trudi Canavan
  • Orcs by Stan Nichols
  • The Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey
  • Snare by Katherine Kerr
  • The True Game by Sheri S Tepper
  • The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  • Green Rider, First Rider's Call by Kristian Britain
  • The Black Company books by Glen Cook
  • The Temperance Brennan novels by Kathy Reichs
  • The Blue Moon and Hawk & Fisher books by Simon R Green

... and yes, I've read them all multiple times ...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:51 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is great reading, too, though I tried his Baroque trilogy (twice) and just can't make it past page 50. I'll check out Snowcrash.


Snowcrash definitely has a cyberpunk feel to it. I enjoyed both Snowcrash and Diamond Age immensely. Funny...I had a similar experience with the Baroque Cycle trilogy as well. It was too dense, the action too sparse, and the plot was unapparent...maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance either...I just couldn't bring myself to read very far into the 1st book.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:57 am 
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CharlieRock wrote:
I would recommend these to anyone looking for something cyberpunk:
Nueromancer
Count Zero
Mona Lisa Overdrive
Virtual Light
Idoru
Burning Chrome

all by William Gibson
You don't have to read them all. But you'll want to. :wink:


I read Neuromancer and wasn't as impressed as I thought I should have been (given how everyone raved about it). I give the guy credit for essentially founding a genre, but I hadn't picked up another book of his since then.

If I didn't like Neuromancer, is there a chance that I'd enjoy some of his other books?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:05 am 
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I didn't like Neuromancer, or Snow Crash, or whatever book it was I tried to read by Bruce Sterling. I guess I'm just not a cyberpunk fan.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:45 am 
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fathead wrote:
CharlieRock wrote:
I would recommend these to anyone looking for something cyberpunk:
Nueromancer
Count Zero
Mona Lisa Overdrive
Virtual Light
Idoru
Burning Chrome

all by William Gibson
You don't have to read them all. But you'll want to. :wink:


I read Neuromancer and wasn't as impressed as I thought I should have been (given how everyone raved about it). I give the guy credit for essentially founding a genre, but I hadn't picked up another book of his since then.

If I didn't like Neuromancer, is there a chance that I'd enjoy some of his other books?

Difference Engine was so different (to me) from Neuromancer that I didn't include it on the list (and it is a co-write with Bruce Sterling).
Was Diamond Age the one where this girl grew up with a VR learning book? Set in China?
That one (if it was it) reminded me of Idoru.

Fallen Host takes a spin on the cyberpunk genre by merging it with a Constantine-ish war between angels and devils.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:21 am 
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I've been on a kick lately re-reading a lot of Michael Moorcock fantasy books that were originally published in the 1960s and 1970s. I devoured that stuff when I was younger ... and I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I still like it.

Elric of Melnibone, of course, rocks on toast. But my favorites are still Corum and Dorian Hawkmoon. (And von Bek is cool as well.)

White Wolf published these big omnibus collections of those stories a couple of years ago. I don't think you can get them in bookstores anymore, but you can get them off eBay and other places.

"ARIOCH! BLOOD AND SOULS FOR MY LORD ARIOCH!" :twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:28 am 
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Mike_Ferguson wrote:

White Wolf published these big omnibus collections of those stories a couple of years ago. I don't think you can get them in bookstores anymore, but you can get them off eBay and other places.


Oh yeah, love Moorcock. I have all the White Wolf omnibus editions. They're beautiful. Most of his stuff is currently out of print, but I heard a rumor that Del Rey (I think...whichever company has recently been reprinting all Robert Howard's stuff) has the rights and will be reprinting them. And Paizo is going to be reprinting some of his lesser-known stand-alone stories.

Now if only some company would reprint Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser again.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:39 am 
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White Wolf, IIRC, published paperback collections of virtually all the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories around the same time they were printing the Moorcock collections (mid-1990s?). I remember buying them around the time I got out of gaming for a couple of years. Great stuff ... and the artwork by Mike "Hellboy" Mignola ain't shabby either. :wink:

The Gray Mouser, by the way, rules. My two default characters when playing in a fantasy game tend to either be some sort of arrogant intellectual wizard, or a thief similar to the Gray Mouser. Anybody ever in need of a campaign idea should just check out Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser - those two are the poster children for adventuring PCs in a game.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:03 am 
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For what it is worth, my little brother got me the Dark Horse / Mignola collection of Mouser and Fafhrd and it is AWESOME.

http://www.darkhorse.com/profile/profile.php?sku=10-686

//H

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:05 am 
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mythfish wrote:
I didn't like Neuromancer, or Snow Crash, or whatever book it was I tried to read by Bruce Sterling. I guess I'm just not a cyberpunk fan.


I wouldn't call myself a cyberpunk fan, but I really enjoyed Snow Crash. I almost didn't make it past the opening...until I realized that some of it was tongue-in-cheek...the main character (who calls himself the Deliverator) is a pizza delivery guy. The character's name is Hiro Protagonist? Kinda funny.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:07 am 
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CharlieRock wrote:
Was Diamond Age the one where this girl grew up with a VR learning book?


Yep, that's the one.

Well, I'll give Gibson another try. I'll probably read some of the Amazon reviews of the books you mentioned, and then pick the one that appealed to me the most.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:11 am 
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Did anyone try Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold? I enjoyed it. Great writing, neat concept. My wife liked this one as well.

What I DO tire of is the neat, clean endings. I'm looking for something a little more gritty and meaningful...the sort of books that you think back on frequently.

Any suggestions there?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:49 am 
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fathead wrote:
What I DO tire of is the neat, clean endings. I'm looking for something a little more gritty and meaningful...the sort of books that you think back on frequently.

Any suggestions there?


Try Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun" series - the books in it are "Shadow/Claw" and "Sword/Citadel". Dark, gritty stuff ... and Wolfe tends to use fairly unreliable narrators in his books, so you're never 100% sure of what's going on. They definitely make you think.

I first read those books way back in college ... I'm still re-reading them and finding stuff I've missed over the years.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:34 pm 
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Like Mike, I'm a fan of Elric. You want non-neat endings? Try the albino prince of Melniboné. I've got the Doubleday hardback two-volume set, and it rules.

Joseph also mentioned China Miéville...his Bas-Lag books are all good, but the best is the first, Perdido Street Station.

American Gods has also been mentioned...big love for that, my fave Gaiman.

Looking at my bookshelf, I recommend:

Nuklear Age by Brian Clevinger...this is the guy who does the 8-bit Theater webcomic (http://www.nuklearpower.com). It's essentially a novelization of a series of comic books. It starts off with slapstick humor, but it changes pace. Oh yes. It changes pace.

The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams...these might fit your bill, fathead. Those books are The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower. Not a clean ending, and the author does a great job of playing with your expectations of Standard Heroic Fantasy, mostly by throwing out a few curveballs.
If I could write, I would want to write like this guy.

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem...kinda on the depressing side. It's been made into two movies (one Russian and one with George Clooney), and I think I stand alone when I say I liked them both. Lem leaves a few things unanswered, and it's of the science fiction family where they really go into the science, so it may be dry at times, but I immensely liked the story.

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston...real-life story of an Ebola outbreak in Reston, VA. A quick read, and kinda scary in a real-life sense to boot.

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny...most people know his Chronicles of Amber, but I vastly prefer this sci-fi tale of science-made gods. The back of the book says it all: "His followers called him Mahamatsamatman, and said he was a god, but he preferred to be called 'Sam,' and said he was a man." This book has a lot of badass things hinted at than made explicit, like my all-time favorite Mother of the Terrible Glow.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon...back into the real world, a Baltimore Sun reporter spends a year tailing the Homicide department of Baltimore. It's...unforgiving and real...best describes it. This was the basis for one of my top five favorite TV shows of all time, Homicide: Life on the Street.

The Alienist by Caleb Carr...historical fiction turn of the century New York City, a serial killer on the loose, a specialist in the budding field of psychology - an 'alienist' in the parlance of the time - assembles a team to profile and track the killer. Gruesome, a little melancholy, but a great read. Avoid the sequel.

Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer...a complete head-trip story within a story within a story (I think) within a story that loops on itself and has a skewed narration. A bit on the adult side from time to time, but a great launching point for any Egyptian-flavored scenario.

Aztec by Gary Jennings...like Ancient Evenings, but with Mesoamerican cultures. A story within a story, told by an Aztec to a Spanish friar, of his people.

The True History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo...English language translation of the conquest of Mexico by one of the conquistadores. His accurate portrayal of events has been lauded, and his version is the definitive one (as opposed to that of Cortes, who padded his with self-aggrandizing lies).

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:42 pm 
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I'm glad I started this thread...a lot of good recommendations here (and several that I've never read or heard of).

Oh...and if anyone does pick up Mistborn, let me know what you think. I've been loaning it out. 2 people haven't been able to finish it (claimed it wasn't catching their interest), while the other 3 devoured the book. Obviously, I found the book to be thoroughly engaging. While reading it, I stayed up until 3:00 in the morning several nights in a row.

I think the author can be a little heavy-handed sometimes, and the dialog doesn't always immerse you like it should (to the point that you forget you're reading a story)...but the plot is fantastic, the fantasy concepts and magic system are unique, and the author isn't afraid to shake things up a bit (you'll know what I'm talking about after you've read the book).

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:54 pm 
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Jengenritz wrote:
The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams...these might fit your bill, fathead. Those books are The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower. Not a clean ending, and the author does a great job of playing with your expectations of Standard Heroic Fantasy, mostly by throwing out a few curveballs.
If I could write, I would want to write like this guy.


Oh yeah, totally forgot about those. Excellent books with a totally unexpected twist. Has anyone read his Otherworld (or is it Otherland? Whatever) books? I'm wondering if they're as good.

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 Post subject: Current Reading List
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:37 pm 
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Alright...it's time for your current reading list - what are you reading now, and what is next?

I just finished S.M.Stirlings "A Meeting At Corvalis". Honestly, I'm surprised that I made it this far in the series. I enjoyed "Dies the Fire" (the first in the series), but his writing gets repetitive. All of the characters are shoved into "good" or "evil" roles...there doesn't seem to be much in between. What's worse is that all of the characters start to blend together by the end of the series. Most of them talk, act, think and admire the same things.

I started on Tad Williams' "The Dragonbone Chair". It seems to be standard fantasy trope so far, but I'm still enjoying it. It's not terribly fast paced, but that's okay.

Next up on my book list (a couple of which I've picked from this thread):

o Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
o The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling
o Eifelheim, by Michael F. Flynn
o Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock

Oh...and Gene Wolfe's "Shadow/Claw"...I forgot to mention that one as well. I own it, but never read it. It's boxed away somewhere, but I'm going to hunt for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Current Reading List
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:57 pm 
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fathead wrote:
Alright...it's time for your current reading list - what are you reading now, and what is next?

Because of this thread, I went to my library and found Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. After that, who knows?

Quote:
o The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling

Read that one! Loved it! Incredibly creepy. The sequel didn't do much for me though.

Quote:
Oh...and Gene Wolfe's "Shadow/Claw"...I forgot to mention that one as well. I own it, but never read it.

I've had it for years, tried a few times to get through it, but just can't. I really want to, but for some reason when I put it down I never pick it back up.

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