Rate the last book you read Page 32

  • riceNpea 16 Feb 2013 14:57:16 941 posts
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    munki83 wrote:
    riceNpea wrote:
    may i recommend the Night Dawn Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton for any sci fi fans out there.

    i'm a fan of this author and have read everything he's written but these 3 books were what turned me on to him. ,
    it begins with The Reality Dysfunction followed by The Neutronium Alchemist and concludes with The Naked God.

    it's a sprawling narrative set in the far future where humans civilisation is galaxy wide and biology is blurred with technology. so far so what you may be thinking and if that's the case you may baulk at the size of the books. each one is over 1200 pages long, normally commercial suicide, but it's an unashamed space opera with horror overtones.

    the story is epic, encompassing hundreds of civilizations across thousands of worlds and the cast is vast and surprising (Elvis makes a brief cameo and Al Capone is one of the main antagonists) thanks to the central conceit of the novels:

    ' I had the idea. The [dead] coming back. After that it's a simple process of extrapolation. Why do they come back? There's a line in the trilogy about devil worshipers praying for centuries for Lucifer to appear, and nothing much seems to have happened. So in this case there has to be another factor introduced, an alien factor. The Ly-cilph were born.

    Next, with the basic premise established, the exponential curve of possession sweeping across entire populations, I had to decide what kind of society would stand a chance against such an incursion. It didn't take a lot of thought before I settled on the traditional vast interstellar civilisation that seems to be the defining qualification of Space Opera.'
    - Peter F Hamilton

    Ultimately i'm not doing these books justice and i wish i had the literary skill to properly explain why i enjoyed them so much, however i must advice you that should you chose to read them, because of the voluminous nature of the tale, the first third of The Reality Dysfunction will be slow going and the ending of The Naked God is contentious.
    I started reading The Reality Dysfunction a month ago and I'm about 60% of my way through it now. REally great read so far. Only just started reading Peter F Hamilton this year and I think I've been lucky to hit space opera gold.

    i'm jealous. even though i've re-read them and listened to the audio books (i recommend that highly) i wish i could see them again with fresh eyes.

    the second book really sets the story alight and is his 'Empire Strikes Back' .

    let me know what you think
  • Deleted user 16 February 2013 15:22:48
    Scimarad wrote:
    I read both Only Forward and Gone Away World recently and I thought they were both pretty amazing.

    It took me two attempts to get started on the Nights Dawn Trilogy as I really hated Reality Dysfunction first time I tried to read it...I think this was mostly down to that smug shithead of a ship captain. I know some people hated the ending to the series but I thought it was so OTT as to be properly hilarious. I still prefer Pandora's Star and it's sequel, though.
    I thought the ending was fucking terrible, I know endings often are a bit disappointing it's their nature but it's like he didn't even try. "Oh whatever, how about some deus ex machina thing just makes everything fine? yeah that sounds ok, I'm off down the pub". Fall of Hyperion has a much better ending for repercussions of a galaxy changing event.

    I also prefer the commonwealth books, I thought I was the only one :)

    Both series are good if you want to get swallowed into a sci-fi epic, I'd avoid the Void series unless you're really chomping at the bit for more Hamilton as they're a bit dull and disappointing.
    I'll refrain from going on about Hamilton though since I've done that a number of times before on here...

    Edited by Mr-Brett at 15:25:29 16-02-2013
  • Metalfish 16 Feb 2013 18:13:04 9,191 posts
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    Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
    Presumably, if you're going to read this you won't need a review to tell you what to expect. Abercrombie is getting to almost Pratchett levels of comfort in his little universe, with the positives and negatives that entails. The cast of characters is relatively tight compared to the last couple of books, although a great many characters of note from the last five books are name-checked, and many of them make an appearance.

    There's a lot of philosphising, especially towards the end, in a series increasingly about the inevitable march of time and progress. The theme, this time around, is very much spaghetti western. It feels a bit "fantasy-as-history-lesson" what with there being a gold-rush and marginalised indians in all but name -but this is a series which decided replacing the T in Turkish with a G was plenty enough, so that's to be expected.

    Abercrombie writes cinematically, and bloodily, without going overboard. If you don't mind a great big dollop of Western tropes in your previously sword 'n' sworcery world, then there's a lot of fun to be had here. The amount of bad sex scenes are greatly reduced and the arc is extremely well put together.

    Not quite as good as The Heroes / 10.
  • Deleted user 17 February 2013 19:32:00
    He's good at creating vast and interesting universes but does a lot of other things not so well :)
  • Scimarad 18 Feb 2013 09:54:08 9,365 posts
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    Yeah, I'm not liking those new covers. What it is with SF covers not remotely matching the descriptions in the books? I thought most the ships in the Nights Dawn trilogy were either big spheres or semi-organic teardrop shaped things.

    Also, why has nobody done a Pandora's Star cover featuring a huge train going through a wormhole? Interstellar travel via train was one of the most memorable features of that universe.
  • glaeken 20 Feb 2013 09:59:35 11,893 posts
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    A modern utopia by HG Wells. A real slog of a read. It's far more an essay than a story and a lot of it just comes across as an info dump of Wells idea's. Actually if you read the foreword Wells acknowledges it is more an essay than anything. Anyway Wells utopia is interesting in places though a little fascist for my tastes (far too many controls and stuff that comes across as eugenics of a type). He did have some pretty advanced views on race given it was written in 1907. He seemed to be totally up for equality of all races. He probably undermines that a little with his views on women which are hilariously out of date.

    Anyway I don't think I would recommend it for most unless you like reading lengthy essays on such things.
  • Deleted user 20 February 2013 10:06:15
    World War Z

    Yeah pretty good although the fact that its basically loads of short stories within an overall arc stifled the flow at times.

    Will be interested to see how they make this into a film.

    The fact that zombies dont drown and can cross vast swathes of water was a bit odd - but a necessary plot device to make things more scary I guess.
  • TechnoHippy 22 Feb 2013 07:11:21 14,707 posts
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    The Shivered Sky by Matt Dinniman

    This is an interesting take on the fall and the war in Heaven. It is well written and easy to read (although could have done with a final edit pass, but the issues are minor). It takes a while to get going, but once it does clips along at a fair pace. A good read.

  • senso-ji 22 Feb 2013 13:28:56 8,282 posts
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    Libra by Don DeLillo

    A novel on the tragedy of 22nd November 1963. The tragedy, however, is not about the death of John F Kennedy but the life of Lee Harvey Oswald. DeLillo brings together theory and facts and wraps it up in intimate prose to present a brilliant reflection on one of the defining moments in American history, seen from a perspective that is rarely explored.

    Really thought provoking stuff; this book left me with feelings of deep sympathy for Lee Harvey Oswald and his family.

  • senso-ji 27 Feb 2013 09:51:46 8,282 posts
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    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

    An enjoyable, intelligent and emotional book. Green really knows how to pace a story well, uses poetic language to great effect and crafts some quirky but memorable characters.

    I respectfully disagree with @Lotos8ter that this book is 'far too good for the young 'uns'; it's a Young Adult book that doesn't insult the intelligence of it's audience by presenting vacuous characters in a picturesque world. Teenagers have sharp and impressionable minds and this book both challenges and informs them; it's a book for children.

  • boo 27 Feb 2013 11:04:33 13,426 posts
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    The Entity by Norman Harrison.

    Came across this by accident while trawling around Amazon, and picked it up on Kindle for a couple of pounds, as I was swayed by the overwhelmingly positive reviews.

    I can only assume that every single review was written by friends and family.

    It smacks of 'first novel, self published, couldn't afford an editor'. Major problems with the plot, people seemingly referring to conversations that never happened and apparently brilliant FBI / CIA / Interpol agents making dumb decisions. He also introduces a ridiculous number of characters straight away, meaning you have to keep flipping back to work out who they all are.

    It's a hokey techno-thriller, and anyone with half a brain will have figured out what's going on after about 50 pages.

    Most of the stuff that EG'ers produce in the annual NaNoWriMo would run rings round this.

  • senso-ji 4 Mar 2013 20:28:12 8,282 posts
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    The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

    An abstract and tragic story about the excesses of the Hollywood limelight and the American dream. A little disjointed in places but the author doesn't hold back and a non-cohesive story actually adds to the nightmare scenarios he presents.

  • TechnoHippy 6 Mar 2013 10:10:27 14,707 posts
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    Julia's Room by Michael Murray

    Julia's Room is the story of a young reporter in Fleet Street during the sixties. The tale wraps around a young lady (the aforementioned Julia) and does a good job of portraying the murkiness of the job.

    I enjoyed the story, the writing is good, although I was a little perplexed by the ending. It was very abrupt and left me with the feeling that I had missed something. Still, the journey was good, so it's a minor complaint.

    A recommended read.

  • senso-ji 7 Mar 2013 21:08:34 8,282 posts
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    Sulphuric Acid by Amelie Nothomb

    Sort of a cross between Camus and Orwell. Nothomb uses the modern obsession with celebrity to wax lyrical about religion, humanity, society, life, death, responsibility, love, etc.

    It's competently written and Nothomb crafts some well rounded characters despite little use of adjectives. The ending is very blasé, though, and the author squeezed too many topics into a 130 page novella.


    Edited by senso-ji at 21:08:47 07-03-2013
  • senso-ji 13 Mar 2013 11:22:59 8,282 posts
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    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

    One of the better sci-fi novels I've read. Haldeman uses intelligent and well explained science in a dystopian future to present a harsh critique of war. It starts off really well, but sort of loses it's way in the last 50 or so pages. Still, it's a worthy read.

  • munki83 15 Mar 2013 12:43:20 1,846 posts
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    The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F Hamilton 8/10

    This is my first proper Peter F Hamilton book I've read and I picked it up on my Kindle after reading a collection of his short stories I enjoyed, Manhattan in Reverse. It started off a little slow but interesting but quickly picked up and at about a third of the way through the book it throws a huge twist on the tale and being fairly new to sci-fi, I've read some but not a lot, it was fairly gripping. The book can feel a little padded at times and there are a large number of characters to keep track on and one of the central characters Joshua is a bit annoying in his search to have sex with every female in the galaxy. Some of my texts to friends I've been telling about this book over the last month have been bizarre and I'm not sure how he gets away with what can be quite a silly premise so well. It is a fairly big book and took me about 6 weeks or so to get my way through it. think its about 1300 pages so thats like 4 normalish books in length.

    Anyway I'm looking forward to more but will read something else in the meanwhile
  • mad_caddy 25 Mar 2013 09:20:40 3,412 posts
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    Brave New World - 10/10
    1984 - 9.5/10

    I loved both books, both incredible reads, with so much crammed in to both, both so well poised throughout, the constant fear in 1984 is wonderfully written, but for me I found the sentiments in Brave New World made it ever so slightly more compelling to read, the way in which humans would potentially fight to keep disease and suffering in order to keep alive the spirit of man and being even in a society where you can live in complete bliss.

    took me a long time to get round to reading but both have been exceptionally good reads.
  • Deleted user 25 March 2013 12:08:54
    I only managed the forewords on BNW before having to go and read something else. I'll go back to read the story, but gosh they were so dry and dull.
  • Tom_Servo 25 Mar 2013 12:12:09 18,079 posts
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    Yeah I couldn't get into Brave New World. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it.
  • glaeken 25 Mar 2013 12:13:26 11,893 posts
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    BNW is Ok but I far prefer 1984. I would put BNW into the interesting but does not fully work for me category.

    Just finished Hello America by JG Ballard which was quite enjoyable. It's about an expedition from Europe exploring an America which was abandoned 100 years ago due to economic collapse and climate change. It’s typical Ballard really. Lots of lovely imagery and all the characters are insane to one degree or another.

    Edited by glaeken at 12:21:31 25-03-2013
  • spindle9988 27 Mar 2013 09:45:33 4,702 posts
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    senso-ji wrote:
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

    An enjoyable, intelligent and emotional book. Green really knows how to pace a story well, uses poetic language to great effect and crafts some quirky but memorable characters.

    I respectfully disagree with @Lotos8ter that this book is 'far too good for the young 'uns'; it's a Young Adult book that doesn't insult the intelligence of it's audience by presenting vacuous characters in a picturesque world. Teenagers have sharp and impressionable minds and this book both challenges and informs them; it's a book for children.

    Just finished this. Great book, I would give it a 9
  • Deleted user 27 March 2013 10:48:35
    A few short stories by Turgenev - First Love, Spring Torrents, etc.

    10/10 for a sentimentalische like me.
  • Deleted user 27 March 2013 10:55:40
    All Hell Let Loose - The World at War 1939-1945 - 8/10
    By Max Hastings

    I've enjoyed several of Hastings' history books and this one was pretty good too. He's very good at getting to the details, to the struggles of invididual people. So there are many tales of individual bravery, suffering, adventure or horror. It makes the history more real.

    Where it does fall down a little is in terms of the grand strategy. I think John Keegan's book from a decade or so ago was much better at explaining the big picture, the motivations of the powers etc. But still, Hastings' work is very good. Especially as he's very honest about the poor quality of Allies' armies and leadership.
  • Metalfish 27 Mar 2013 11:07:29 9,191 posts
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    Comparing ninteen eighty four and brave new world is a bit like comparing all quiet on the western front and catch-22. They're all brilliant books, but they're doing different things and come from different places.
  • dr_swin 27 Mar 2013 11:45:49 4,927 posts
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    The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes

    An old man looks back on his life and reappraises his actions and beliefs in the light of some new information he receives.
    It's short and very easy to read. The characters are well drawn and interesting. I really liked it.

  • TOOTR 1 Apr 2013 17:13:18 10,422 posts
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    Robopocalypse : Daniel H Wilson

    Enjoyed it and it rattled along well and didn't outstay it's welcome (unlike, in my opinion, the fairly similar in format World War Z).

    The fault in our stars : John Green

    Really enjoyed the clear writing and characterisation in this one and also found it very affecting. Can understand why this is so popular.

    I'm about to start Peter V Bretts Demon Cycle trilogy.

    Edited by TOOTR at 17:13:51 01-04-2013
  • Tonka 3 Apr 2013 09:04:27 27,660 posts
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    The Killing Floor (Jack Reacher novel)

    I read this to see what made Tom Cruise buy the rights. I can definitely see why. Great action/mystery/crime/thriller. A real page turner. YES, Jack Reacher is an übermensch. YES, there are some "Why the fuck would anyone do that" bits in the plot.

    But it fits very neatly together

    Like I imagine Agatha Chrisite books do. Nice, neat little jigsaw of a story. Well worth a read if you're into action/mystery/crime/thriller books.

    So yeah, backside blurb

    Jack Reacher is walking the earth. Much like David Carradine in Kung Fu. He stumbles on a murder mystery and being an outsider he's arrested for it. Soon he's drawn into this big ass drama and he's got the looks, brains AND brawns to duke it out against anything.

    Edited by Tonka at 10:12:39 03-04-2013
  • PazJohnMitch 3 Apr 2013 10:06:12 13,434 posts
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    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lackes

    I felt the best bits of the book were the prologue and the epilogue as they were science based and discussed all the breakthroughs her cells helped with. They also touched on the morality of taking the ladies cells without her consent.

    The main body of the book was more biographically which was fairly interesting but I never really cared for the people. The main biographies are for the author and Henrietta's youngest daugther, there was not actually that much about Henrietta herself.

    For me the book would have been far better if it had focussed much more on the science versus morality issue.

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