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Tell Us What Books We Should Be Reading
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
At the rate you read Av, you need 'em! Wink


I know! The problem is how to convince multiple people to write and publish a 10 volume epic every year... Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I discovered last week that David C Smith's Fall of the First World has been re-issued and is available on Amazon as an e-book. So I grabbed them.

The books were first published in 1983. I had grabbed them as a set of thin paperbacks (together they don't even equal one Malazan book). I enjoyed them immensely on the first read, and had re-read them many times since.



The new books have new covers (boring), and a title change.
    The West is Dying
    Sorrowing Vengeance
    The Passing of the Gods
What makes this series interesting is that it is very Game of Thrones, but about 20 years before GRRM. However, unlike GRRM, FotFW is succinct. However, the feudal intrigues are only the foreground to an apocalyptic event - it's biblical, and - unlike GRRM - the story reaches it and concludes.

But "biblical, apocalyptic events" doesn't reveal it all. In addition, there are three overarching character arcs. One a man who becomes the champion for Darkness - and we learn why. Another, for Light. And another, for ... I won't spoil it. The realms, and the world, and the three, all reach a crisis together in a well-orchestrated plot. And, most importantly, it's not cheesy or obvious how it plays out - it's thought-provoking and entertaining.

Lastly, the author frequently waxes into poetic prose, or even poetry, as the story progresses. In a good way. The verse has repetition, and by this links themes, connects elements, sews it together. It's kind of like a song in a movie, one that plays from time to time as the movie goes along.

Quote:
Out of the winds of Time comes a Voice of destiny. Will one dream transform the destiny and make of it another destiny? Will the words of one life or the actions of another life change the road, make of it another road directed toward another destiny? Are there many roads, or are there only many roads converging into one road of immutable destiny?

Of a Voice that is humanity's voice, of a God that is humanity's god, of events that seem to return to the pools of blood and the shadows of fire from which humanity birthed itself: the pool is deep, the shadows are old, the fire burns with flames that burn forever.

O humanity, will you ever change? O humanity born in a storm and wandering in a storm, why do you turn from your future and return to your past? O lost and disbelieving, you wander in your search for belief, and you dream there is only one sun, one road, one destiny.

Shall we pluck out our eyes so that we will not see what comes? For these things that come, they come with cause.

As you can see, it's a very spiritual book. And did I mention that it's profoundly relevant?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, sounds interesting.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Hmmm, sounds interesting.

I'm trying ...
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reread of this series is almost complete. It exceeded my expectations; it had been too long.

No warrior inherits the world as it was
before he unsheathed his weapon.


I am working this one into my favorite lines list.

(Check out this chapter, and tell me if it isn't like reading something from Malazan: Master of Hell)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I can't find them in print. Only as ebooks. Pretty cheap too.

I've added them to a wishlist for when I eventually get a reader.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just get the free app for your tablet or computer.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Just get the free app for your tablet or computer.

or phone. (If you're like me, you've been getting larger and larger phones, and yours now resembles a 19 inch monitor.)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Egan's Diaspora is as good a book as I've ever read. He works the nature of the mind/awareness/consciousness, particle physics, and quantum physics into an amazing story. It's all beyond belief. Someone said you need an advanced physics degree before reading his books, and I'm sure it would be a huge help. But even with my very limited understanding of it all, which means not being able to follow a lot of things, and not knowing where the science leaves off and the fiction begins, I was in awe.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Just get the free app for your tablet or computer.


No tablet, and I don't like reading on the computer.

wayfriend wrote:
or phone.


No smartphone either. Very Happy

Yet.

I may crack one day...

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Black Wolves by Kate Elliott is a must-read for epic fantasy fans. Ordinarily I'd quote the synopsis here, but it doesn't really do justice to the book.

The kingdom of the Hundred was conquered by King Anjihosh the Great Unifier; now his grandson rules, and things are starting to fall apart as factions secretly maneuver against one another for power, while the kingdom itself is being transformed unwillingly into the image of the neighbouring Sirniakan Empire, from which Anjihosh, and his heirs' Queens, came.

This is a story where everyone has their own agenda, and you're never sure who can trust whom. If you liked Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky trilogy, but want more court politics, hidden agendas, secrets, and betrayal, you should check this book out.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys sold me on the Southern Reach Trilogy. I'll post about my response when I finish, which at the rate I do pleasure reading (as opposed to reading for my Masters) may take some weeks.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll probably have to look for those too. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now here's a book with a bit of a different feel to it. The Watchers by Neil Spring is a story of fiction written around an actual spate of UFO sightings that were reported in Wales throughout the 1970's, around what came to be known in the press as 'the Broad Haven Triangle'.

A UFO tale with a sort of sinister almost horror feel to it, Spring has written one of those rare books that grips from page one and keeps you coming back. Is it all down to covert USA military activity, little green men or even the forth coming 'end of days' scenario which one rather over excited local favours ..... we shall have to wait and see, but either ways the ride is proving pretty good fun! Smile

(Just an update - nearly finished and while the tension was maintained almost right through the book, as with so many things begin to unravel with the denouement. Still worth the read though for its rarity as a good UFO novel.)
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished the Southern Reach trilogy a while back and am closing in on Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky trilogy as well... first things first.

Southern Reach was fresh and different. It told the story from the perspective of different characters, but the overarching character is the zone they explore which, you come to realize, is alive with an alien consciousness... yet, the characters stand out against what could be a suffocating background and maybe their greatest victory is retaining a sense of self at all.

Okay, that sounds weird; but this is a weird set of books. Although all your questions won't be answered, it comes to a definite conclusion that gives closure. I guess I do love a book that is so unexpected, once in a while. Nothing is predictable here!!

I'll finish Eternal Sky soon and already recommend highly. Especially if you like horses. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend CJ Cherryh's The Morgaine Saga. "Tenuously set" in her alliance space sci-fi universe, the books really come across as fantasy. The background of the story is that spacefaring humanity came across a series of gates between worlds - people can travel on foot through to reach another world. Because the gates, developed by a former sentient race (apparently not space faring) mess with space-time and are a threat to causality, a one-way scientific expedition is sent to travel from one gate to the next, closing each gate as they go through.

The main POV character, Nhi Vanye, stumbles across a survivor of this expedition, Morgaine, during his exile from his home (he's a bastard son and runs afoul of his family). Morgaine is largely feared and despised since she makes use of a sword that can make use of the power of the gates. Starving, he makes use of her hospitality, and she makes use of his people's honor-system to enlist him in her service for a year.

There are four books in the series, the first three of which I have read. Each focuses on a particular world and their struggles to deal with opposing forces and reach and close the next gate.

In terms of plot it could probably be said to be a very simple book, with a sharp focus, but I think its portrayal of its major characters is often riveting.

One oddity is that the books don't seem to address the possibility of multiple branches of gates. It would seem that each planet has a gate linking to the one that comes before, and a gate linking to the one that comes after.

I haven't read the last novel in the series, because after reading the third novel I felt like the series had reached a natural conclusion in terms of its addressing of the character's relations, arcs, and concerns aside from completing the journey, and assumed no more books existed. It seems that the fourth novel does have a somewhat more distinct/isolated narrative compared to the first three.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just re-read Nova by Samuel R. Delany. It lurked at the bottom of my mental TBR list for years and I finally did it.

Nova is awesome, and everyone on KW should read it, and there should be a whole forum about it. Not to mention that it was written in 1968 by an African American. I read it back in my ABCs of Sci-Fi day (Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, hehe) and it is still fascinating. I never forgot the names of the two main characters, or the ending, which blew me away (I was a teenager, but it's still cool). Okay, enough gushing.

Oh, I also read Sand by Hugh Howey. It's so different from Wool that I didn't even realize they are supposed to be in the same postapocalyptic world. It was also really great.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deer of the dawn wrote:
Oh, I also read Sand by Hugh Howey. It's so different from Wool that I didn't even realize they are supposed to be in the same postapocalyptic world.

It is? Hunh. I didn't twig to that, either. It did creep me out that it was set in Colorado and the sand-spelunking was happening in Denver, which is where I was sitting while reading the book. Shocked Crazy

I don't think I've read any Delany. I should put it on my TBR list, huh?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deer of the dawn wrote:
Nova is awesome, and everyone on KW should read it, and there should be a whole forum about it.

No kidding, huh? Don't forget he invented Yoda-speek with the Pleiades dialect in this book. Very awesome Delaney is. You more must read.

If you liked Nova, you will also like The Einstein Intersection and The Ballad of Beta Two. The latter book is probably the most exciting story about a person investigating the sources of a mythical poem you will ever find.

aliantha wrote:
I don't think I've read any Delany. I should put it on my TBR list, huh?

Samuel R Delaney is a writer's writer. Poetic, evocative, concise, often dense, requiring active thinking. Treats it like the high art that it is. Plenty of quotations can be found via google. You could do worse than making time for Delaney.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
I don't think I've read any Delany. I should put it on my TBR list, huh?


Shame on you.

Must say I found The Einstein Intersection a bit of a trial. But Dhalgren, oh Dhalgren...one of the best "sci-fi" books ever.

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