Following Rate the last book you read Page 103

  • GrandpaUlrira 4 Apr 2021 10:00:02 3,877 posts
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    nickthegun wrote:
    Tonka wrote:
    RichDC wrote:
    Roadside Picnic - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

    Enjoyed that. A short, fun, easy read with some interesting ideas.
    Is it the new translation? First time I read Roadside Picnic it was a Swedish translation of the old (and censored) english translation. I thought the main character talked like a bad parody.
    The version I have is an SF Masterworks one from 2007, fwiw

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SF_Masterworks
    This is 99p on Kindle right now, for anyone interested.
  • Mola_Ram 7 Apr 2021 09:42:14 26,066 posts
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    Project Hail Mary

    The new one from Andy Weir, writer of The Martian. It's not actually out until May, but I got an advance copy through work.

    I liked The Martian, and after Artemis (which I didn't like) I remember wondering whether Weir was a one-trick pony. You know, science man (or woman) is in a fix, needs to use real science to get out of it, etc. Like a more science-fictioney MacGyver.

    And after reading this... yeah, one-trick pony. But it's better than Artemis, because at least he's not trying (and failing) to write believable female point of view characters anymore. He's gone back to what he knows, and that at least is an entertaining read.

    So, probably recommend if you liked The Martian. Just don't expect it to break any new ground.

    Edited by Mola_Ram at 09:45:47 07-04-2021
  • Murbs 7 Apr 2021 09:47:15 25,138 posts
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    I didnít enjoy Artemis either. Thought it was incredibly average.

    Iím re-reading Perdido Street Station at the moment (recently picked up the other two New Crobuzon books). First read it ten years ago - it was the first book I bought on my OG Kindle. Finding it hard going though, which surprises me as I remember it as one of the best books Iíd read at the time. Weíll see.
  • Mola_Ram 7 Apr 2021 09:56:35 26,066 posts
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    He reminds me a bit of Ernest Cline, in that he's not the best writer but (sometimes) makes up for it by bringing something unique and nerdy to the table.

    (he's an infinitely better writer than Cline though)
  • Tonka 7 Apr 2021 10:19:08 31,933 posts
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    I enjoyed the Martian but felt that after about 90% I'd had my fill of "The little rock rested on a layer of sand about 39mm thick for thousands of years..." Won't read any of his other.

    I tried to re-read Perdido Street Station about two years ago and I also struggled. Gave up half way through. The Scar is just the better book (I've read it thrice as a matter of fact). IRon Council is waaaay too depressing however. Won't read that one again.

    I loved Perdido and I still think it's a marvellous achievement. It's just a bit too much.

    I recently finished The Kings Assassin the second entry in the Farseer Trilogy, and it was just as good, if not better than the first one. Straight onto number three.

    For those that like fantasy and haven't read them I'd say they're a must read.
  • Armoured_Bear 7 Apr 2021 10:26:48 31,146 posts
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    Murbs wrote:
    I didnít enjoy Artemis either. Thought it was incredibly average.
    I thought it was terrible, full of cringe, horrendous dialogue that can only be aimed at teenagers.
    Amazed at how successful such poor writing can be.
  • Your-Mother 7 Apr 2021 18:11:40 8,044 posts
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    The Martian was an okay read, but two things really annoyed me.

    1) The relentless optimism of Watney. By the end I was basically taking it as "this guy is mentally ill in some way" but that isn't an intentional subtext and more a head canon.
    2) The sheer volume of sign-posting through bad writing. You can tell when something bad is about to happen because the POV and tense changes, and the narration becomes more abstract. It's lazy and inelegant, and I'm surprised it wasn't tidied up by an editor on its journey from a publicly blogged first draft to commercially published product.
  • TechnoHippy 7 Apr 2021 18:52:45 19,220 posts
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    Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    The style of this surprised me after his previous books, but it was quite engrossing and I enjoyed it a lot. It's a short read with a furious pace, although the ending was a little obvious.

    8/10
  • dmj 8 Apr 2021 00:03:32 1,081 posts
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    Tonka wrote:
    I recently finished The Kings Assassin the second entry in the Farseer Trilogy, and it was just as good, if not better than the first one. Straight onto number three.

    For those that like fantasy and haven't read them I'd say they're a must read.
    Iíll spoiler tag the below just in case youíre not aware there are two more trilogies.


    I still havenít read the third part of the final Fitz trilogy (presumably. I mean, itís called Assassinís Fate) as Iím not sure Iím ready to say goodbye yet. Itís been sitting on the shelf since 2015...


    Edited by dmj at 00:06:31 08-04-2021
  • dmj 8 Apr 2021 00:22:13 1,081 posts
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    Things Iíve recently read:

    The Terror - Dan Simmons

    Very much enjoyed this, especially as it didnít go to shit during the final third. Unlike The Abominable, which really did.


    The Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliff

    Havenít read it since I was 13 or something, but still great. A Ďproper goodí historical novel, though arguably not as wonderful as:

    The Lantern Bearers (same author)

    Another re-read. Set during the Roman withdrawal from Britain as the barbarians take over. Quite melancholy, but great. The sequel, Sword at Sunset, is one of her adult novels and possibly her best. Itís about the Ďhistoricalí King Arthur (kinda like the King Arthur movie with Clive Owen, only not crap).

    Plain Bad Heroines - Emily M. Danforth

    A horror novel but one I didnít find at all frightening. Beautifully written, but the plot just kinda stops.


    Currently reading: Sleeping Beauties - Stephen and Owen King

    Started it this afternoon. Iím not sure if itís going to be vintage King (shit has only just started hitting the fan for real) but Iím really enjoying it.
  • Nazo 8 Apr 2021 10:17:10 1,906 posts
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    The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

    Superb. I've somehow never seen the film and didn't really know what to expect but this kept me utterly captivated throughout. I think I'll have to read more of his works, the two I've read so far have been wonderful.

    5/5
  • Tonka 8 Apr 2021 10:19:01 31,933 posts
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    Ooohhh, great news. I have it in my bookshelf and I'm a sucker for the whole Upstairs/Downstairs thing. I really enjoyed The Remains of the Day film, Downton Abbey, and Gosford Park.

    Will make sure to read this book once I've worked through my pile.
  • RichDC 11 Apr 2021 20:54:16 9,171 posts
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    Sourcery - Terry Prachett

    Great wizardry writing from Prachett. Loving slowly working my way through the whole Discworld series.

    Under the Blue - Oana Aristide

    Post apocalyptic novel following a global pandemic set in 2020. It follows an artist who apparently missed the end of the world because he's a bit of a self obsessed arty farty dick. That may not be how the author intended him to come across but that's certainly what he is. Luckily when he does notice, he's able to get from his London flat to his second home in Devon where he hopes to wait things out. He's joined by his hot neighbour who he then spend the rest of the book pining for but never doing anything about, and her sister and they all go on a road trip to Africa. There's also a side story about a could of scientists creating an AI and then debating ethics with it. (None of that's a spoiler btw, it's basically the blurb.)

    An easy read, but never really goes anywhere or does anything interesting. It was recommended in a Guardian list of new sci-fi and does seem to be getting good reviews, but it's an Avoid from me.

    Edited by RichDC at 21:18:20 11-04-2021
  • Nazo 16 Apr 2021 18:13:12 1,906 posts
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    The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

    I know this is meant to be one of the greats but I found it tedious and annoying. The narrator has about 5 set phrases that he repeats ad nauseum and the whole book is basically him whining about how much he hates everyone and everything.

    2/5
  • RyanDS 16 Apr 2021 20:28:20 14,049 posts
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    Asterix the gaul. 1,2 and 3

    Wonderful. Nice sometimes to feel shit, revisit a childhood favourite and it is still good. In fact better, so many puns!

    8/10
  • Tonka 26 Apr 2021 13:47:39 31,933 posts
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    Assassins Quest by Robin Hobb
    Last book in the Farseer Trilogy which is the first of maaaaany trilogies set in the same world and with some of the same characters if I understand it correctly.

    Loved the first two, thought this was a cut above most fantasy, but in comparison to the first two it was whiny and indulgent. Things happened, and was given quite a lot of attention, only to be dropped completely.

    I wonder if the author wasn't setting things up for later instalments.

    It was also annoying that the main character never got to win. Fail piled upon fail, and I get it, it's ok to not feed into the "Lone super hero saves everything and is epic" narrative, but COME ON!

    I want some fistpump moments.

    Still, it's a very well written book, and a fantastic world that it's set in. Might read more entries in the series, but for now I've had my fill.

    A must read
  • MasterOfSpin 26 Apr 2021 13:50:25 113 posts
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    A Short Stay in Hell - Steven L Peck

    It's essentially based on The Library of Babel but takes some of the themes discussed in the original book a lot further. The concept is that people are imprisoned in a version of hell that is structurally similar to the Library of Babel, and the only option of escape is to find the book that perfectly describes their life.

    It's only a short book (I think around 120 pages) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does a wonderful job slowly allowing the reader and characters to comprehend just how massive the library is, and the crushing reality of the situation stays with you a long time after you finish it.

    You can die, but you revive the next day. The library keeps your mind clear, so insanity is no escape. And all you can do for billions (or even trillions) of years is desparetly try and find "your" book. But as the main character often comments - which version of his life? From who's point of view? His own? His big toe's perspective? The snail he accidentally killed whilst gardening? For there are *almost* infinite books that will claim to be the true story of his life, yet the chance of even finding one of these *almost* infinite books is *almost* infinitely small. Yet in the infinite amount of time he has, he will with 100% probability eventually find it. Truly horrifying stuff.

    You don't have to have read the Library of Babel to enjoy or understand it, but given the former is such a short tale you might as well.

    The book nicely explores concepts of time, relationships and meaning in a place where all these things are arbitary. It's not a horror story, but it is nevertheless horrifying. I've spent a lot of time dwelling on its implications since I finished it and find it hard to dislodge from my mind.

    Edited by MasterOfSpin at 14:02:15 26-04-2021
  • RichDC 26 Apr 2021 16:03:12 9,171 posts
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    @Tonka The next trilogy 'The Liveship Traders' is brilliant, and definitely worth reading. Probably don't need to bother with the rest. They don't get any happier.
  • PazJohnMitch 26 Apr 2021 16:11:14 17,189 posts
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    I have only read the first Fitz trilogy and the Liveship Trilogy. Both excellent.

    Been told other 2 Fitz trilogies are also good but skip the dragon quadrilogy (tetralogy).
  • Tonka 26 Apr 2021 18:46:34 31,933 posts
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    If they get more miserable then I don't think I could handle it. Some of the raids described were really horrifying.
  • MrFlay 26 Apr 2021 21:23:19 4,666 posts
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    Robin Hobb is terrific at portraying angst or any intense emotions. The Liveship Traders is probably her strongest trilogy. The characters are complex and develop and change in interesting ways. The setting is much less conventional high fantasy than the Six Duchies trilogies. I'm working through the whole set of Realm of the Elderlings books currently at book nine and only seven more to go. I read the first nine about 15 years ago.

    Her books written as Megan Lindholm are also excellent. The Ki & Vandien Quartet has some very interesting and unusual ideas. Each story is relatively short and self-contained. Ki & Vandien are in all of them but the supporting characters, locations and themes all change from book to book.
  • Mola_Ram 6 May 2021 13:43:06 26,066 posts
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    Armada

    So I was having an argument with a friend about Ready Player One. I think RPO is a steaming pile of hot garbage that makes me ashamed to be at all associated with nerd things. But his argument was "no, RPO was actually ok, and if you really want the garbage version of that you should read Armada".

    God help me I did. And yes, it is worse. RPO is still garbage, but this was worse, more boring garbage. At least in RPO the nerd references are justified by the plot, but here they are tacked on for almost no reason whatsoever.

    I guess I got some entertainment from cringe-laughing at it though.
  • DaM 6 May 2021 14:46:15 17,719 posts
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    Murbs wrote:
    I didnít enjoy Artemis either. Thought it was incredibly average.

    Iím re-reading Perdido Street Station at the moment (recently picked up the other two New Crobuzon books). First read it ten years ago - it was the first book I bought on my OG Kindle. Finding it hard going though, which surprises me as I remember it as one of the best books Iíd read at the time. Weíll see.
    I do find his books hard going, and have given up on a couple, but the ones I persevered with have really stuck in my mind, so that must be a good sign.
  • boo 6 May 2021 14:51:55 13,888 posts
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    @Mola_Ram

    I really like RPO - any book that has a chapter about the greatest band in the known universe is going to be ok with me - and it was so chock full of glee and geekery that I could forgive the ropey bits.

    So I was quite optimistic when I read Armada. Trouble is, I'd watched 'Ender's Game' a couple of weeks before hand, and all I could think of was 'How could he get away with such blatant plagiarism?'
  • JoelStinty 6 May 2021 15:00:02 9,526 posts
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    Nazo wrote:
    The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

    I know this is meant to be one of the greats but I found it tedious and annoying. The narrator has about 5 set phrases that he repeats ad nauseum and the whole book is basically him whining about how much he hates everyone and everything.

    2/5
    Re-read in a few years time. I similarly hated it first time round for similar reasons but the second time round it floored me, especially the last few chapters. There is a lot more depth to his emotions and character than first appears.

    You may still hate it but I think it is worth re-appeasing it later down the road.
  • Mola_Ram 6 May 2021 23:08:08 26,066 posts
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    @boo I don't want to get into too much of an argument about it (people like what they like, and that's completely fine), but... isn't blatantly lifting/plagiarizing from other, better things basically Cline's whole schtick?

    Obviously this lifted from Ender's Game, but RP1 was basically Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the moral challenges replaced with videogames, or stuff about literally reciting movie scripts word for word. He doesn't have an original idea in his body.

    Anyway, that wasn't really the problem for me. Tarantino movies are reference-heavy, but they're (mostly) great. The problem is that these books are astoundingly poorly-written, barely on the level of internet fan-fic.

    But hey, they were well-reviewed and sold millions, so what do I know.

    /drinks

    Edited by Mola_Ram at 23:13:57 06-05-2021
  • boo 6 May 2021 23:26:20 13,888 posts
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    Hmm.
    I might have to read it again with CATCF in mind.

    Interesting viewpoint!
  • Your-Mother 7 May 2021 00:20:46 8,044 posts
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    If you thought Armada was worse than RPO then oh boy donít read Ready Player Two as itís even worsererer.
  • Mola_Ram 7 May 2021 00:32:27 26,066 posts
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    Yeah, I think I'm going to stop now, I don't want to torture myself anymore.

    It does puzzle me a bit where reviews of the first one were all over it, but reviews of the sequel are all "this is mastabutory nerd bait". Why didn't they see that the first time around?
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