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So I'm onto book 7 of the Expanse series and I'm not sure how I feel about it after a couple of chapters, mainly because

it's set 30 years after the sixth book. Now while I wouldn't rule out some time travel shenanigans going on given the curveballs the series has thrown at me I just can't reconcile that much time between them. It seems like something of a cop out, and I'm not sure why that is.



I'm obviously going to plough on because the series hasn't been anything less than great, and sometimes it's been absolutely fantastic.

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It feels like a cop out because it feels like, apart from a bit of grey in their hair, all the characters have remained in stasis for three decades and it was only done so they could make the new bad guys' appearance even vaguely plausible.[/spoiler ]

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I'm currently reading the Field Series by Simon Winstanley. It's a story about a comet that's going to hit the Earth and the attempts made to stop it. All very bog standard sci-fi and not worth it generally but...

 

The story is told with rapid time jumps back and forward in time to different points in the story with initially what seems like no pattern. Then the second book starts telling a number of parts of the story already covered in the first book but fills in a number of blanks you probably didn't notice were there and gradually over the books things get odder and odder and insanely weird and complicated as the story goes back and forth over itself. It's really very very good.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Field-One-Simon-Winstanley-ebook/dp/B0196VK0W6/

 

All life extinct in 64 years: The data couldn’t lie
Archive’s conclusion was simple: To escape, make Time.
Their solution was complex: 7 billion people must never know.

Their solution is failing.

The future lies with a high-functioning sociopath,
a child genius fascinated by time,
an officially retired space program,
and Field One...

Field One is the first book in the enthralling Field Series.

 

There's four books in the main series (I'm on book four now) and apparently the fifth book is a side story that takes place at the same times.

 

 

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On 23/12/2019 at 21:54, Harsin said:

 

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It feels like a cop out because it feels like, apart from a bit of grey in their hair, all the characters have remained in stasis for three decades and it was only done so they could make the new bad guys' appearance even vaguely plausible.[/spoiler ]

 

Yeah, it absolutely is that. However overall I thought it was excellent. I don't think I've read a series of books that are as consistently great as these are. Looking forward to nine, which should be this year if Google is correct.

 

12 hours ago, Flub said:

I'm currently reading the Field Series by Simon Winstanley. It's a story about a comet that's going to hit the Earth and the attempts made to stop it. All very bog standard sci-fi and not worth it generally but...

 

The story is told with rapid time jumps back and forward in time to different points in the story with initially what seems like no pattern. Then the second book starts telling a number of parts of the story already covered in the first book but fills in a number of blanks you probably didn't notice were there and gradually over the books things get odder and odder and insanely weird and complicated as the story goes back and forth over itself. It's really very very good.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Field-One-Simon-Winstanley-ebook/dp/B0196VK0W6/

 

All life extinct in 64 years: The data couldn’t lie
Archive’s conclusion was simple: To escape, make Time.
Their solution was complex: 7 billion people must never know.

Their solution is failing.

The future lies with a high-functioning sociopath,
a child genius fascinated by time,
an officially retired space program,
and Field One...

Field One is the first book in the enthralling Field Series.

 

There's four books in the main series (I'm on book four now) and apparently the fifth book is a side story that takes place at the same times.

 

 


This sounds like that TV series Salvation.

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The Sellout by Paul Beatty.  First American Booker Prize winner and I'm not sure what to make of it.  I'm probably still a session or two away from finishing it but at the moment I think I like it even though I've got next to nothing in common with the protagonist other than a sympathetic nature.  First and foremost it's just funny, Beatty is a very charismatic writer and his personality comes across in the prose, it's made me smile to myself a lot and there have been a couple of times where I've genuinely laughed out loud. There's a ton of stuff going on about race and racism, and as the white guy in a mixed race family I'm always going to be drawn to this kind of stuff but the identity politics and race relations don't seem to dominate life where I live in the English West Midlands as much as they do in L.A. (and I'm thankful for that) but I feel the stuff about history, culture, moving on and bringing stuff back are probably going to require multiple readings to fully understand. Some of it is just beyond me because I'm not from SoCal and don't get the references but the heavy handed stuff (at one point the guy practically draws a chalk outline around the neighbourhood he grew up in) allows dummies like me to appreciate some of the books undertones.  It's definitely interesting, it's definitely funny but I don't know if I love it. 

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For The Good times by David Keenan.

Wow, just wow.  The basic premise is a group of friends who join the IRA.  It's not written in the vernacular like Trainspotting or Huckleberry Finn but it's similar in style and the phrasing for a non-Irish person is a bit difficult to grasp but once it does, it flows beautifully. It's brutal as hell with a narrative voice that's really unique and distinctive.  I'd recommend it. I am planning on a book a month and 2/3rds the way through already for this, my February book.

This could be my book of the year.

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I've finally started Leviathan Wakes - I know there's a dedicated thread about The Expanse but I dont want to spoil anything so I'm avoiding it!

 

It's really good - I'm flying through it. Not seen any of the TV series yet but I hope it's a worthy adaptation. 

 

Already bought books 2 and 3.

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On 11/02/2020 at 13:44, Boothjan said:

I've finally started Leviathan Wakes - I know there's a dedicated thread about The Expanse but I dont want to spoil anything so I'm avoiding it!

 

It's really good - I'm flying through it. Not seen any of the TV series yet but I hope it's a worthy adaptation. 

 

Already bought books 2 and 3.

 

It is! I'd read a few more books before starting it though.

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I generally avoid reading books because I have this little problem of not going to sleep until I've finished them. But I feel like I'm missing so much so I've started on the Witcher series. Really enjoying the first book - it being made up of short stories really helps with the addiction problem.

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2 hours ago, Ryan said:

I generally avoid reading books because I have this little problem of not going to sleep until I've finished them. But I feel like I'm missing so much so I've started on the Witcher series. Really enjoying the first book - it being made up of short stories really helps with the addiction problem.


Spooky. I just loaded this thread up for the first time in months to say that I’ve just started tucking into The Last Wish (First of the Witcher books) and saw your message. I’m also really enjoying it.

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On 14/11/2019 at 01:46, Naysonymous said:

Started the new Le Carre novel,  The Agent Running in the Field.  It definitely feels like B-tier stuff from him, it's nowhere near the level of the his best work but I've never read one of his books in the month it was released before so this seemed pretty tempting and frankly I'm astonished he's still working at 88 years of age. He seems pretty pissed off about Brexit in this one, it's almost worth it just for the anti Brexit, anti Trump, anti Putin soapbox moments even if the spy stuff is a bit by the numbers. 


I listened to a Radio 4 interview with Le Carre in October 2019 about that book. Here is a segment of the interview. You say you 'started' reading the book! Did you finish it?!

 

I am reading The 120 Days of Sodom by The Marquis de Sade.

 

rYVkfGO.jpg

 

France has declared the manuscript of it as a 'national treasure'.

 

Sade himself described it as 'the most impure tale that has ever been told since the world began', which I wouldn't disagree with.

 

It is disgusting, but meant to be, but (IMO) so intelligently written and interesting.

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Ive just finished reading 2 Peter F Hamilton books, Pandora's Star and its sequel Judas Unchained.

 

I had never read any of his stuff before, and after exhausting all my Iain M Banks books and anything set in The Polity by Neal Asher i thought i would try the well recommended Hamilton.

 

It has been said elsewhere, this man needs an editor. I remember wanting to absorb every little nuance about the culture of Azad in Banks's Player of Games, but reading Hamiltons stuff i found myself skipping chapters of dross.

 

Anything containing bits about

 

MorningLightMountain, wormholes, the Silfen paths, FTL, superweapons, Ozzie Isacs

was brilliant and had me eating up pages, but

 

the detective story with Paula Myo, or the political wranglings left me numb so i skipped them.

It felt in some places like a mum who never read scifi trying to write scifi for their kid who is obsessed with that luke skyflyer from those space wars movies. E-butler, hyperglider and other such language just felt like he was grasping for futuristic concepts or like those victorian books about what the year 2020 will be like.

 

The books contained some phenomenal world building, but there were just too many segues to bits i didn't enjoy.

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Hah, I can't really argue with any of those points. I've read all of Hamilton's books up to these first two Commonwealth books, and if you think he has a tendency to waffle (I'm not disagreeing, mind you) then you should probably avoid the Night's Dawn trilogy. The ideas and the two competing technologies (biotech vs non-biotech) is really well done, but oh my god does he go on with the terrible sex and boring arse plot threads (fucking Al Capone. Al! Capone!).

 

For what's it's worth, I really enjoyed both books when I read them.... 15 years ago. Jesus. Anyway, I'm about to start re-reading them to see if I still enjoy them as much. I have a horrible feeling I'm going to be disappointed. The first chapter about the disappearance of the Dyson pair disappearing just went on and on and I'm already cringing at the thought of the sex scenes. 

 

You might want to give Fallen Dragon a go, as that was a relatively compact effort (it's a standalone, albeit clocking in at 850 pages) and I really enjoyed it. 

 

Apologies if you're already read these, but other space opera you might want to try include:

  • Yoon Ha Lee's Hexarchate trilogy
  • Dan Simmon's Hyperion dualogy (there are only two books dammit!)
  • Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky
  • David Brin's Startide Rising. The loosely connected The Uplift War is good, but nowhere near as good as Startide Rising. If you do like them, I would strongly discourage you from reading the second Uplift War trilogy. I forced myself to read those books and they were shockingly bad. Amazing ideas, but he kept on expanding the scope with each book without resolving any of the previous plot threads and it was utterly infuriating.
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I seem to have caught a bit of a Cormack McCarthy bug...over the last week I read The Road, No Country for Old Men and Child of God, and just downloaded the Border trilogy to keep it up.

 

I love his stuff, he’s like a lyrical Jim Thomson.

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2 hours ago, ZOK said:

I seem to have caught a bit of a Cormack McCarthy bug...over the last week I read The Road, No Country for Old Men and Child of God, and just downloaded the Border trilogy to keep it up.

 

I love his stuff, he’s like a lyrical Jim Thomson.

 

I loved the border trilogy and No Country for Old Men. Couldn't get to grips with Child of God - it's just so bleak. 

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I didn’t find that at all...or at least the bleakness is much of a McCarthy muchness, anyway!

 

The thing is even when he’s describing some pretty fucked up shit, the poetry of his writing is sublime.

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2 hours ago, ZOK said:

I seem to have caught a bit of a Cormack McCarthy bug...over the last week I read The Road, No Country for Old Men and Child of God, and just downloaded the Border trilogy to keep it up.

 

I love his stuff, he’s like a lyrical Jim Thomson.

 
Have you read Blood Meridian before? The writing in that is magisterial. Child of God is bleak in some places, but the Judge in BM is something else. 

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Yes I love it, that was first one I read of his, read it over Christmas. From one of your Kindle cheapie alerts iirc, so many thanks!

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I picked up the new books by Stephen King and Don Winslow over the weekend. First up was If It Bleeds by King, a collection of 4 novellas. King has mixed form in this area - I really liked Full Dark, No Stars and Different Seasons but Four Past Midnight was trash. I read the first story, a fairly standard ghost-story with a flat ending. I did enjoy it and the pages turned easily but I wasn’t feeling it enough to read the rest of the collection right away.

 

Next up was Broken, the Don Winslow collection of short novels/long short-stories. I read somewhere that he wrote this so he could get back the rights to characters in his early books - the ones from Savages I guess. So I was a little skeptical if the quality would be up to his normal standards. But I shouldn’t have worried, I’ve read 3 out of the 6 stories and they’re all excellent; violent, funny, sad and all containing that unquantifiable Winslow ‘cool’. I’ll finish this one before going back to the King collection. Really enjoying it so far. 

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I've had The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in my kindle backlog for about 3.5 years. Wish I'd read it before now, it's great. Sort of Mass Effectish but more upbeat 

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I've finally decided to get my teeth into The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas.  I've always been put off by it's enormous page count  but as it's widely regarded as one of the greatest books ever written maybe it's time to put that concern to one side.  I'm some eight chapters in so far and I have to say it's blown me away, I'm hooked. 

I knew next to nothing about the story except for the basic premise that it's a tale of revenge. My knowledge of 19th century French history is borderline pathetic too, but I do know the date of the Battle of Waterloo and as Dumas goes out of his way to spell out the dates of certain events, certainly in the early pages,  I can see where at least some of the plot is going if the book at least pretends to be historically accurate. The particulars of what happens to every character remain a total mystery and that's what I'm itching to find out.  

 

It might take me a month to get through the whole lot but if the quality stays the same as  it has been to the point where I'm at so far

Spoiler

Edmond has just been thrown into French Alcatraz

then I'm going to be a very happy bunny. 

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4 hours ago, Naysonymous said:

I've finally decided to get my teeth into The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas.  I've always been put off by it's enormous page count (It's pushing 2000 pages) but as it's widely regarded as one of the greatest books ever written maybe it's time to put that concern to one side.  I'm some eight chapters in so far and I have to say it's blown me away, I'm hooked. 

I knew next to nothing about the story except for the basic premise that it's a tale of revenge. My knowledge of 19th century French history is borderline pathetic too, but I do know the date of the Battle of Waterloo and as Dumas goes out of his way to spell out the dates of certain events, certainly in the early pages,  I can see where at least some of the plot is going if the book at least pretends to be historically accurate. The particulars of what happens to every character remain a total mystery and that's what I'm itching to find out.  

 

It might take me a month to get through the whole lot but if the quality stays the same as  it has been to the point where I'm at so far

  Reveal hidden contents

Edmond has just been thrown into French Alcatraz

then I'm going to be a very happy bunny. 

 

The quality doesn't stay: there's a significant dip in the middle section, but stick with it as the reward is in the final third, which is at least as good as the opening section. 

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I'm in until the bitter end regardless.   Doing the bromance section right now, and I guess I'm having my first few quibbles with it, everyone has a photographic memory (though I guess I did used to be able to remember about 50 different phone numbers before mobile phones existed so maybe it's a lost art) and there are a few too many coincidences convenient to the plot I'm enjoying it so much I don't care at all.  I think the business models of the day probably helped as this book was serialised in newspapers like Charles Dickens right?  Working under that restriction I think Dumas has been able to keep the pacing just about right for me as I guess back in the day he'd have needed his audience to keep coming back for more. 

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On 14/04/2020 at 11:25, ZOK said:

I seem to have caught a bit of a Cormack McCarthy bug...over the last week I read The Road, No Country for Old Men and Child of God, and just downloaded the Border trilogy to keep it up.

 

I love his stuff, he’s like a lyrical Jim Thomson.

 

Have you read Suttree?

It's a little like Huckleberry Finn. It's not one of his well known novels but it's brilliant.

It's long but actually quite humorous in a dark way that you never see in his writing before or since. 

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2 hours ago, neoELITE said:

 

Have you read Suttree?

It's a little like Huckleberry Finn. It's not one of his well known novels but it's brilliant.

It's long but actually quite humorous in a dark way that you never see in his writing before or since. 


No, but it’s on the list now, cheers!

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Max Brooks (author of world war z) new book is out today - Devloution.  Its been a while since a book as gripped me but i havent put it down all day (2/3 the way through)  So far its been excellent.  basical premise is that it tells the events of a volcano eruption and teh after events on an isolated "eco" community The book  cover gives away whats its about - and its told in a similar style to world war z (interviews and recovered journal).   But its been a great read, with a slow build up where you get time to know the main cast of characters before things start getting tense

 

 

devolution.jpg

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Still ploughing through The Count of Monte Cristo. It took a sharp left turn and turned into Franz and Albert go on the piss in Rome for what felt like an entire book in itself. It really got me thinking about what it must have been like back the if you were in that position, seeing the Colosseum in the 1830s before there were stadiums in every major city, before there were photographs and videos, before street lighting was commonplace, before cities were turned over to the motor car. It must have been incredible, and I think Dumas adds that air of authenticity to the idea as it was literally the world he knew. They’ve just taken the plot from Rome to Paris and I suspect the entire section in Rome (and all the stuff about weed immediately before it) gets left on the cutting room floor in abridged versions or movie adaptations but I really enjoyed it.  This book really is something else.  :wub:

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