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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:34 pm 
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I was at the bookstore last week thinking "Dang! I forgot to print that thread!" So I picked up the new George R.R. Martin short story anthology, which is next on my reading list...

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:53 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
I was at the bookstore last week thinking "Dang! I forgot to print that thread!" So I picked up the new George R.R. Martin short story anthology, which is next on my reading list...


You should also check out his 80's-era SF anthology/novel "Tuf Voyaging." All of you should, I mean.

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 Post subject: Re: Current Reading List
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:58 am 
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mythfish wrote:

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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.


Both "The Bone Doll's Twin" and "Eifelheim" were book recommendations by Orson Scott Card (Enders Game, Speaker for the Dead...by the way...get these books as well). He has a website www.hatrack.com. Our reading and movie tastes are often similar, so I find his reviews to be helpful. I'm not a fan of his political articles, but that's another topic. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:01 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
I was at the bookstore last week thinking "Dang! I forgot to print that thread!" So I picked up the new George R.R. Martin short story anthology, which is next on my reading list...


Ha. :) I did the same thing recently. I stopped by a used book store with a decent SciFi/Fantasy section and was kicking myself for not printing off a list (although, in my experience, scifi/fantasy readers are loath to give up their good books anyway).

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 Post subject: Re: Current Reading List
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:44 am 
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fathead wrote:
Both "The Bone Doll's Twin" and "Eifelheim" were book recommendations by Orson Scott Card


Interesting. If I recall correctly, I found it on George RR Martin's list of book recommendations.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:27 pm 
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Great thread. I'll have to check some of these out (whenever I find time in my new parenthood ... how does one do that?), and here are some recommendations:

Count Zero by William Gibson - I found this to be much more entertaining than Neuromancer (for those who didn't dig the latter book). I would love to add The Difference Engine by Gibson and Bruce Sterling, because it's bloody brilliant at times, but the last quarter of that book flopped badly, IMO.

Mirror of Her Dreams / A Man Rides Through by Stephen R. Donaldson - A thrilling two-part fantasy/adventure/romance featuring a young New York socialite who steps through a mirror and ends up in a D&D-type fantasy world, where she immediately becomes a pawn in a big power struggle.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist - I hate it when first-time novelists write something really good, you know? Makes me jealous. Anyway, this is a Victorian fantasy/horror/scifi story gone wild! The only drawback is that it sets up up a little too obviously for a sequel, but great characters, cliffhanger escapes, bizarre technology, and of course a plot to rule the world. It would make for a terrific R-rated Etherscope adventure!

Live Girls by Ray Garton - A landmark horror novel from the late 1980s. It had a huge impact on the horror/vampire genre. Highly recommended.

--Ken

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:48 am 
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Over Christmas, I read two of the recommendations -

Dragonbone Chair - I loved the author's writing style. Great descriptions. The beginning started off slowly, but the pace definitely picked up. So far, it seems to be standard fantasy trope...but I've enjoyed it immensely. I'll definitely pick up the 2nd book soon.

Lord of Light - Unique. Challenging. Beautiful. The book delves A LOT into eastern philosophies. Some of the novel even reads like an eastern myth. It could probably be daunting for someone who hasn't had some exposure to that. I was a little confused for awhile, because the story changed time frames without warning (for those who plan to read this, chapter 2 marks the "back in time" shift...later, it catches back up to where you started). In any case, I found this book to be very unique and interesting.

Great recommendations Jengenritz!

Anyone else read anything good lately?

Oh...and in advance - Happy New Year everyone!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:21 am 
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Glad you liked 'em. The rest of the tale started in Dragonbone Chair takes a pretty sharp left turn.

Lord of Light...damn, now I want to read that again.

I just finished Umberto Eco's Focault's Pendulum. I've read comments about how the book needs an index...they're not kidding.
I mean, in general I'm fairly knowledgable about fun crazy mystic stuff like the Theosophist Society, the Comte de Saint-Germain/the Wandering Jew, Thule Society, Golden Dawn, and Templar/Freemason conspiracy theories. I understand a little of the Kundalini, I'm familiar with the concepts of Cantomble, and I know my way about basic understanding of the gnostic "heresies" of Sophia, the Demiurge, and the Pleuroma.

BUT

This book turns that dial up to 11. And it doesn't really spend much time catching you up to speed...it expects you to get all the references it makes.

A really cool book, and something I'll probably buy pretty soon, but you gotta do research beforehand to keep up. Seriously.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:48 am 
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Jengenritz wrote:
Glad you liked 'em. The rest of the tale started in Dragonbone Chair takes a pretty sharp left turn.


Very cool. I'm looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.

Jengenritz wrote:
Lord of Light...damn, now I want to read that again.


It's a damn fine read. On the cover, it has a quote from Neil Gaiman...I can definitely see him drawing some influence from Lord of Light.

Jengenritz wrote:
I just finished Umberto Eco's Focault's Pendulum. I've read comments about how the book needs an index...they're not kidding.
I mean, in general I'm fairly knowledgable about fun crazy mystic stuff like the Theosophist Society, the Comte de Saint-Germain/the Wandering Jew, Thule Society, Golden Dawn, and Templar/Freemason conspiracy theories. I understand a little of the Kundalini, I'm familiar with the concepts of Cantomble, and I know my way about basic understanding of the gnostic "heresies" of Sophia, the Demiurge, and the Pleuroma.

BUT

This book turns that dial up to 11. And it doesn't really spend much time catching you up to speed...it expects you to get all the references it makes.

A really cool book, and something I'll probably buy pretty soon, but you gotta do research beforehand to keep up. Seriously.


Anyone else read House of Leaves? When you were describing Focault's Pendulum, it reminded me of House of Leaves (not in the subject matter, but in the difficulty and need for a reference). House of Leaves is definitely not light reading...the story meanders quite a bit (to the point of distraction), and includes sections written in other languages (with no explanation as to what it says). One section was a letter from his insane mother (who apparently was a crazed genius) written in Old English...I had to break out some of my books so that I could decipher it...and even then I had trouble. House of Leaves would best be described as a horror novel.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:04 am 
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Ken Hart wrote:
...(whenever I find time in my new parenthood ... how does one do that?)...

As far as I can tell, judging by my results and those of friends, you can't. I'm eight years in and haven't worked out the solution (higher CR than my level, I expect...)

If you figure it out, I'd appreciate a post on the subject...!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:50 pm 
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For those of you wondering what would happen to the unfinished Wheel of Time series (I'm not one of them, since I have yet to read any Robert Jordan novels), Brandon Sanderson (I had recommended his book, Mistborn, earlier in the thread) is picking it up for the final book.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:40 am 
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Another interesting tidbit -

They are producing a mini-series on the SciFi Channel for Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age".

Both "Snow Crash" and "Diamond Age" were favorites of mine, and I could see where the Diamond Age would be more readily adaptable to TV...should be interesting.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:27 pm 
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Has anyone here ever read F. Paul Wilson? Notably, either The Keep or his Repairman Jack books?

Neither are fantasy, per se, but all of them involve the supernatural events. Which, for me, is a must.

In any case, I'd recommend every one of them.

Another gem is Mark Frost's The List of 7. The main character is Arthur Conan Doyle and he makes the acquaintance of a man named Jack Sparks, who becomes his inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. Except that the adventure this takes him on is far more perilous than anything Holmes ever faces. Good stuff. They also meet up with Bram Stoker. It's that fun. But really, the sheer wit and dialogue in this book make the story.

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Jeff LaSala wrote:
Has anyone here ever read F. Paul Wilson? Notably, either The Keep or his Repairman Jack books?

Neither are fantasy, per se, but all of them involve the supernatural events. Which, for me, is a must.

In any case, I'd recommend every one of them.

Another gem is Mark Frost's The List of 7. The main character is Arthur Conan Doyle and he makes the acquaintance of a man named Jack Sparks, who becomes his inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. Except that the adventure this takes him on is far more perilous than anything Holmes ever faces. Good stuff. They also meet up with Bram Stoker. It's that fun. But really, the sheer wit and dialogue in this book make the story.

Image


I haven't read any Repairman Jack yet, but I have a few my sister loaned to me. Is the List of 7 Mark Frost the same Mark Frost who was involved with Twin Peaks?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:06 pm 
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He sure is! On that Amazon page, it even says, "The Twin Peaks co-creator's first novel confronts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with a mystery involving black magic and Satanic manifestations."

(Which makes me interested in Twin Peaks, which I've never seen.)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:30 am 
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My Big Three authors are Terry Pratchett, David Eddings, and R.A. Salvatore, although I did read a lot of the star wars extended universe stuff when I was in my early teens. But here's the breakdown

Salvatore: I know Drizzt gets a lot of hate because of how many people copy him, but in the Icewind Dale trilogy, Drizzt was freakin' cool!

Now that the series has progressed, Drizzt's gotten more sensitive and he's apparently gotten over being half-crazy, he's not as fun.

Luckily, there's Entreri to take up the slack. Really, Entreri and Jarlaxle have become Salvatore's current best characters, with a lot of one-liners and fun fights...And I haven't even bother to pick up the latest Drizzt book.

For Salvatore's non-Drizzt stuff...I've read the Demonwars, and they're...well, they're a lot darker than his Forgotten Realms stuff, and he kills off pretty much one main character a book.

The Spearwielder's trilogy isn't bad, either, though I haven't read it in several years (borrowed it from a friend).

David Eddings: This guy knows his dialogue and writing styles. Probably his best work is the 12 'Garion' books (The Belgariad, the Malloreon, Belgarath the Sorceror, and Polgara the Sorceress). The Elenium and the Tamuli are pretty good, too, but the Garion series is an amazingly fun ride that'll last you a while. I highly recommend looking him up.

In recent years, though, he's been going downhill. I read his series The Dreamers, and it just...wasn't fun, and the how it ended just made me go, "Four books were just made completely pointless!"

And the Redemption of Alkalus made me laugh a couple of times, but really didn't do it for me.

Terry Pratchett: Oh, man. My favorite author, mainly because of his Discworld series. This guy proves comedy can have substance. If you haven't already, expend about seven bucks on a paperback of one of the following:
Small Gods
witches abroad
Guards! Guards!
The Truth
Monstrous Regiment
Feet of Clay
Going Postal
Night watch
The wee free men
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

He's also good buddies with Neil Gaiman, and together they wrote a fun and surprisingly thoughtful book--Good Omens.

So, yeah, I'd recommend those authors--to a point.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:01 am 
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I've got Good Omens...that's a lot of fun. The only Discworld book I've read was Thief of Time, but I liked it a lot.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:32 am 
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Jeff LaSala wrote:
(Which makes me interested in Twin Peaks, which I've never seen.)


You've not seen Twin Peaks?

Heretic.

Run out and get it now, so that you may properly savor the brilliant madness of David Lynch and Mark Frost.

And the coffee and pie.

Mmmmmmm ... pie.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:52 am 
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Let's see...when Twin Peaks came out, I was like 13....so I was probably watching something else at the time, or maybe reading D&D books and the old Realms and DragonLance novels. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:55 am 
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Jeff LaSala wrote:
Let's see...when Twin Peaks came out, I was like 13....so I was probably watching something else at the time, or maybe reading D&D books and the old Realms and DragonLance novels. :D


That's no excuse. :P

I was seventeen, and watching it with a bunch of friends who were in my gaming group at the time ... a few of them were 13-14.

So make up for lost time. You won't be sorry.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:33 pm 
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Here's the thing. The sheer writing skill of Mark Frost suggests Twin Peaks must be good. But he also did the script for The Fantastic Four and its sequel—neither of which hold much interest for me.

But perhaps in time I'll Netflix the first disk and see what it's all about. :?

But now we're off topic. :)

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 Post subject: Ghostwalker review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:16 am 
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Apparently, someone in the business of publishing the Forgotten Realms stuff realized that most of the books in the Forgotten Realms setting required you to read an earlier book to fully understand it (For example, the interminable Drizzt series.

To try to score new readers, they decided to publish a 'series' four stand-alone books, each by a new author, each focusing on a protagonist with a unique style of combat (read: Prestige Class). This series is The Fighters.

Sounds well enough, right?

I've only read one of this series, but I understand it's the best of the bunch, and here, for your benefit, I'll break down Ghostwalker.


The book starts off promising to be a fun action book, with awesome fights and a main character who radiates badassery. I can't fully express to you the promise Walker shows. He's the man in black, alone, carrying the scars of a bad past and seeking to avenge them. He's got a cool sword (as near as I can make it from the descriptions, a mithral ghost touch shatterspike), and it's a pleasure to watch him in action when he's in hunting-mode.

The basic premise is that Walker's seeking to kill four men who nearly killed him when he was twelve. As someone who stands staddling the border between the material and the physical world, a ghostwalker, he's got an extensive repetoire of tricks that he uses to hunt them down.

...And this book would be an incredibly fun read if the author had just kept to that premise.

Instead, he injects a romantic subplot that feels a little rushed (for a man who radiates icy resolution, Walker loses his focus remarkably quickly after meeting Arya), and his main antagonists are just...evil, for the sake of evil. One's a high-level bard who's intelligent and cultured, and, for some odd reason, wants to take over this backwoods town and seems to have a craving for the adoration of the people. The other main antagonist is tge bard's son, and this guy's stone-cold killer who, as far one can tell, just likes to make people dead.

But you never find out why they're like this.

Arya, to be fair, kicks some butt on her own, and she's followed around by the book's comic relief, a big hairy paladin and a short skinny rogue. They're mildly entertaining.

Oh, Walker still tries to get his revenge, but things get more complicated. pretty quickly, and at the end of the book, makes a pretty big error in judgement that's very dramatic and all, but doesn't make sense for someone who's been a somewhat calculating person through the book.

Reading this, I get a sense of wasted potential. If the author had just stuck to his strengths, he could have made a very fun literary equivalent of an action movie. Instead, they tried to include some of everything. And as you well know, including some of everything rarely satisfies a lover of any one thing.

It's an all-right read. I'm not super enthusiastic about it, but it's tolerable, and I'm probably spoiled by reading some excellent stuff in the past few years. So I'll give this two stars out of four.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:24 am 
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Arek, were there any other stand-alone books you tried? I've only read a few of the Forgotten Realms ones (Neversfall by Ed Gentry, part of the Citadels series, and Frostfell by Mark Sehestedt, part of the Wizards series) and I really enjoyed them. I'm curious if you can compare Ghostwalker with any others. I think they probably run the spectrum.

My own book was along the same lines: part of a stand-alone series, each book related to the others in the series only by its theme. Only mine is Eberron, not the Forgotten Realms, so the flavor is quite different.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:47 am 
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Jeff LaSala wrote:
Arek, were there any other stand-alone books you tried? I've only read a few of the Forgotten Realms ones (Neversfall by Ed Gentry, part of the Citadels series, and Frostfell by Mark Sehestedt, part of the Wizards series) and I really enjoyed them. I'm curious if you can compare Ghostwalker with any others. I think they probably run the spectrum.

My own book was along the same lines: part of a stand-alone series, each book related to the others in the series only by its theme. Only mine is Eberron, not the Forgotten Realms, so the flavor is quite different.


My local bookstore fantasy section is notoriously lacking when it comes to less-famous authors. Its got some big names--Jordan, Tolkien, Pratchett, Eddings, Salvatore, and a few others--but I saw this, read the back, and decided I'd spend seven bucks on a paperback.

So, really, the only other FR stuff I can compare it to is Salvatore's work.

And it's not as good as Salvatore's average, and not near his best. The action is almost as good but...To take Crystal Shard (Salvatore's first book) as an example, Salvatore introduced a more enjoyable cast of characters in one book and came up with a more plausible villain, and didn't try to force some of everything into the mix. He had action (oh yes), and he had characters you got to see in multiple lights, and he had some comedy that flowed very naturally and ranged from making you grin to some genuine laughs, whereas Bars and Derst, the Comic Relief, feel almost like stock characters and most of their antics (like the Potion of Invisibility incident) only give a mild feeling of amusement.

And I'm finding it hard to give a guideline because what I find funny, other people puzzle over, and some of the stuff other people rhapsodize about, I fail to see the point. So I'm feeling like I'm potentially describing the taste of oranges to a blind apple farmer with a citrus allergy.

If I exaggerated some of my issues with this book, it'd be something like:

[rant] If I'm going to have a romantic subplot, I'm sure I can find something better than a case of 'they randomly meet and she's so beautiful he can't get her face out of his head 'cuz it was fated to be so romantic omg hawt!', DAMMIT. [/rant]

While I'm not that emphatic about it, I still get a feeling of what this could have been, and it could have been an awesomely fun read.

For review purposes, I'd say this is a star and a half below The Crystal Shard. Ghostwalker loses points by rushing things, not playing to his strengths, and making some strained efforts to include everything.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:07 am 
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True, true. But it's not entirely fair to compare a stand-alone book with part 1 of a trilogy. Although the events of The Crystal Shard are somewhat independent of the rest of the Icewind Dale trilogy, the characters go on and develop more in later books. I can tell you from experience that when you've only got one book in which to showcase your characters, you have to make different decisions than you would otherwise. There's a lot more cramming to do. :(

That said, I haven't read Ghostwalker yet. I've meant to.

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