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WHAT ARE YOU READING? DECEMBER EDITION

Baker

Banned
I'm getting back to finishing:



I had to take a break this semester because of all the reading in my Environmental Ethics class.

Next up:

 

npm0925

Member
What's a great standalone (i.e., not part of a series) fantasy or science fiction novel? Massive bonus points if it's funny.
 

jon bones

hot hot hanuman-on-man action
npm0925 said:
What's a great standalone (i.e., not part of a series) fantasy or science fiction novel? Massive bonus points if it's funny.


I'm not sure if this is an obvious suggestion but The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is hilarious even though it is the first in a series (but keep in mind is 100% complete and awesome as a standalone).
 
Recently finished:
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Both are sequels to Ender's Game; Shadow is a parallel novel, and Speaker is set some time later.

Currently reading:
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (in anticipation for the HBO TV series adaptation, "True Blood," from Six Feet Under and American Beauty writer/creator Alan Ball). It's about a psychic waitress in Louisiana who meets and falls in love with a vampire. It's in a time where vampires have come out of the closet and are a known and protected class of citizens. Got some romantic stuff, but it's mainly a murder mystery. The first season of the show should cover the first book, one episode per chapter.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein - Written in the 60's I think? It's about a human who was born on Mars from people who went there from Earth, but his parents and everyone else died so he was raised by Martians. A second crew goes there, takes him back to Earth and it turns into very much a classic caper in which he's on the run from the govt with a nurse who broke him out of the hospital. Haven't gotten too far into it but seems good so far.

Awaiting my eyes on the nightstand:
World War Z by Brooks
Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett
Foundation by Asimov
 

Azuran

Banned


My mom bought this book for me a few weeks ago but I started reading it three days ago. Pretty awesome book. I can't believe I've never read it before.
 

QVT

Fair-weather, with pride!
npm0925 said:
What's a great standalone (i.e., not part of a series) fantasy or science fiction novel? Massive bonus points if it's funny.

Funny is pretty rare in fantasy. Any of Gene Wolfe's stand alone novels would be excellent for what you're looking for in terms of great standalone.

I'm reading Blood Meridian right now. It's pretty good, but at this point it's just vulgar and brutal and sorta pointless. I've not seen enough of the judge and I know about how he is the best character ever.
 

Echoes

Member


I've been reading this for a week now, started with the first novel of course (Day of the Dragon). Up to this point it's pretty much interesting fantasy novel, and a freaking awesome fanservice. Even though I'm new, super new to the Warcraft universe; I'm entertained with the book (and the games, of course). I don't know if I can recommend it to anyone, since you'll be kind of lost with some of the situations that demand a basic knowledge of Warcraft universe, but it's a solid book (4 novels) for about 10 bucks.
 

AniHawk

Member


I'm addicted.

I read through Neil Gaiman's Sandman rather quickly... and was a little bummed out that there were 19 TPB volumes, but now I don't want it to end.
 

Eric P

Member
npm0925 said:
What's a great standalone (i.e., not part of a series) fantasy or science fiction novel? Massive bonus points if it's funny.

good omens by gaiman and pratchett is good.

small gods by pratchett is good and is a stand alone within the larger world of the discwold books but it requires no other knowledge of the world.
 

Eric P

Member
Azuran said:


My mom bought this book for me a few weeks ago but I started reading it three days ago. Pretty awesome book. I can't believe I've never read it before.

if you like that book you should check out his other books.

esp king rat. i really really liked king rat
 

regrib

Member
I will be reading (order is on it's way from amazon):


Revelation

Gateway

Tau Zero

Anyone read one of these books? impressions?
 

Alucard

Banned
regrib said:
I will be reading (order is on it's way from amazon):


Revelation

Gateway

Tau Zero

Anyone read one of these books? impressions?

I am turned on by the cover art for the last two books alone. They must at least be decent to be in a masterworks collection.
 
QVT said:
I'm reading Blood Meridian right now. It's pretty good, but at this point it's just vulgar and brutal and sorta pointless. I've not seen enough of the judge and I know about how he is the best character ever.
I'm ashamed to say that I just gave up on Blood Meridian. More than halfway through and it still seemed pointless. The judge is definitely an amazing character, but I just didn't care about the story. I'm three chapters into The Man in the High Castle and already it's about five times more enjoyable.
 

Prospero

Member
I just finished Erich Fromm's book To Have or To Be?



Fromm is a neglected Frankfurt school thinker these days (Adorno and Benjamin are more popular in academic circles, at least) but I find Fromm to be much more readable. He's interested in Marx, Freud, Christian and Buddhist theology, and certain non-theistic philosophers--he's really good at synthesizing all those disparate fields and finding common ideas in them, and presenting them to the reader clearly. This isn't necessarily where I would start with reading him (if I hadn't read anything by Fromm I'd go with Escape from Freedom, or The Sane Society, or The Art of Loving), but I recommend it anyway.

One note about The Art of Loving--unlike Fromm's other books which are categorized as sociology, it's marketed primarily as a self-help volume, but it can be a real kick in the teeth. I loaned it to a friend of mine who said to me, over a year later, "I wish I could find someone who could refute that book, because then I wouldn't have to believe that it's true."
 

Prospero

Member
Alucard said:
Yeah, I think I will be all over Asimov over the next few months. I picked up The Gods Themselves for 65 cents at a used book store, and the other 2 books in the Robots trilogy. I would also be curious to check out the Foundation books, and Asimov's more serious musings on life, the universe, and everything in between. I was looking through his section at a used book store, and the amount of stuff he's written is staggering.

I went through a phase in junior high school where I read about 30 Asimov books in a year. He eventually connected the Foundation novels and the Robot novels together, so that the total series is 14 books--it doesn't matter that you read The Caves of Steel first, since he wrote them out of order, and it's only the books he wrote near the end of his life that spoil the books he wrote earlier.

There are four Robot novels, by the way--it's not strictly a trilogy. The Caves of Steel; The Naked Sun; The Robots of Dawn; Robots and Empire (which is kind of a crossover book, IIRC).

Then the three middle books--The Stars Like Dust; The Currents of Space; Pebble in the Sky.

Then there are the seven Foundation novels, but they were written out of order, and you should read them in the order he wrote them--Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation, Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, Prelude to Foundation, and Forward the Foundation (which Asimov wrote as he was dying from AIDS, which he received from a blood transfusion--it is one of the saddest books you'll ever read).
 

Mobius 1

Member
Azuran said:


My mom bought this book for me a few weeks ago but I started reading it three days ago. Pretty awesome book. I can't believe I've never read it before.

One of my favourite books. And be sure to read Tai-Pan. It's as fantastic as Shogun.
 


the sequel of Cloud of Sparrows, another awesome book by Matsuoka. Buy it and read it, it's got everything: a Japan between tradition and modern age, full of romance, fights, treachery, passions.
 

Mirimar

Member


I didn't even know it was coming out this year, so I was supremely surprised to see it while x-mas shopping :D Bought it in Audio Book format since I was impressed with Phantom's audio book, both the same reader. Can't wait to see how the trilogy ends, on the 5th disc out of 20 and have been hooked on it since disc 1.
 
Mooreberg said:


And then I get to write an essay explaining how "Ghost Dog" is faithful to the ideas in the book. Ugh.

You wouldn't happen to go to a certain Orange, CA college that just finished its bloated overly needless fountain would you? Because I know a teacher at that school that does that exact same assignment for his history of the samurai class. Also...that is kind of an easy assignment so I don't really understand the "ugh"

Oh yeah.... I'm 100 pages in to blood meridian.... the things they hang on trees back in those days.... yeesh.
 
lobsterjohnson84 said:
You wouldn't happen to go to a certain Orange, CA college that just finished its bloated overly needless fountain would you? Because I know a teacher at that school that does that exact same assignment for his history of the samurai class. Also...that is kind of an easy assignment so I don't really understand the "ugh"

Oh yeah.... I'm 100 pages in to blood meridian.... the things they hang on trees back in those days.... yeesh.

What college is this?
 
Well the one that I'm referring to would be Chapman University in Orange, Ca. In the realm of cool classes taught by Prof. Bay are The History of the Samurai, the Social History of Modern Japan (which is an awesome class), and Disease, Power, and Sex: Medicine in Eastern Asia (China, Japan, and a little bit of India).
 
lobsterjohnson84 said:
Well the one that I'm referring to would be Chapman University in Orange, Ca. In the realm of cool classes taught by Prof. Bay are The History of the Samurai, the Social History of Modern Japan (which is an awesome class), and Disease, Power, and Sex: Medicine in Eastern Asia (China, Japan, and a little bit of India).

Near the Circle huh... >_>
 
Adam Blade said:
I'll agree it's silly. :D

<- an OC man himself, of the Anteater variety. :eek:

Nice to meetcha.

Right back atcha Anteater, may I commend you for having a theater that I go to wayyy too often. Who would have thought my school which has an awesome film school doesnt have a good near by independant cinema when your super science land has the best one in Orange county... oh well.
 

vareon

Member
I've just finished :



Now reading :



Will get this by the end of the year :



1984 is as awesome as my brother told me. HM's Dragon is an enjoyable read so far, and I'm llooking forward into A Song of Ice and Fire series.
 

Peru

Member
Literary buffs: I'm on a bewildered search for science fiction I can enjoy, and in need of qualified suggestions. Let me point out a few things first: I'm not interested in action-driven stories, "Star Wars in book form" or the kind. Secondly, I haven't been totally convinced by some of the "deeper" sci-fi I've read, a lot of the social commentary seems ham-handed - the idea and ideology comes before the story. Thirdly, I read Arthur C Clarke and wasn't convinced. One main problem with a lot of the stuff I've browsed through is their language, and lack of subtlety. Is there any sci-fi which explores a character, or characters mindset, their motivations, the human psychology - in an interesting way?
 

QVT

Fair-weather, with pride!
lobsterjohnson84 said:
Right back atcha Anteater, may I commend you for having a theater that I go to wayyy too often. Who would have thought my school which has an awesome film school doesnt have a good near by independant cinema when your super science land has the best one in Orange county... oh well.

I also go to UCI. Is there a good independent theatre here I'm unaware of? I know there is one right next to the Trader Joes and my gym and that is fantastic, another would be even better.

Peru - You're looking for Gene Wolfe. Book of the New Sun.
 

Cosmic Bus

pristine morning snow
Peru said:
Literary buffs: I'm on a bewildered search for science fiction I can enjoy, and in need of qualified suggestions. Let me point out a few things first: I'm not interested in action-driven stories, "Star Wars in book form" or the kind. Secondly, I haven't been totally convinced by some of the "deeper" sci-fi I've read, a lot of the social commentary seems ham-handed - the idea and ideology comes before the story. Thirdly, I read Arthur C Clarke and wasn't convinced. One main problem with a lot of the stuff I've browsed through is their language, and lack of subtlety. Is there any sci-fi which explores a character, or characters mindset, their motivations, the human psychology - in an interesting way?

You might need some Stanislaw Lem in your life.
 

cicero

Member
A History of the Crusades Vol. 1 - The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by Steven Runciman


Counterpoints: Twenty-Five Years of the New Criterion on Culture and the Arts


With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge


The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 1: Crimson Shadows (Best of Robert E Howard) by Robert E. Howard



Free Public Domain titles:

A Piece of Blue Sky - Scientology, Dianetics and L.Ron Hubbard Exposed by Jon Atack
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/atack/order.htm

The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus by John F. Baddeley
http://books.google.com/books?id=xkYEAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq
 
QVT said:
I also go to UCI. Is there a good independent theatre here I'm unaware of? I know there is one right next to the Trader Joes and my gym and that is fantastic, another would be even better.

Nope the university theater near next to trader joe's is the one I was referring to. But if you want to know the best theaters within a 60 mile radius you need to visit The New Beverly Cinema in LA as well as The Nuart on Santa Monica, The Landmark, and of course the Arclight..... 4 best theaters in the state.
 

Eric P

Member
Peru said:
Literary buffs: I'm on a bewildered search for science fiction I can enjoy, and in need of qualified suggestions. Let me point out a few things first: I'm not interested in action-driven stories, "Star Wars in book form" or the kind. Secondly, I haven't been totally convinced by some of the "deeper" sci-fi I've read, a lot of the social commentary seems ham-handed - the idea and ideology comes before the story. Thirdly, I read Arthur C Clarke and wasn't convinced. One main problem with a lot of the stuff I've browsed through is their language, and lack of subtlety. Is there any sci-fi which explores a character, or characters mindset, their motivations, the human psychology - in an interesting way?

my major problem with sci-fi is that the audience is rarely subtle, much like horror.

i would like to suggest two books that i always suggest, they both have heavy religious themes which annoys some people.

The Sparrow by Mary Dora Russel

Only one of the crew, Father Emilio Sandoz, survives to return to Earth, and he is damaged physically and psychologically. The story is told in framed flashback, with chapters alternating between the story of the expedition and the story of Sandoz' interrogation by the Jesuit order's inquest, set up in 2059 to find the truth. Sandoz' return has sparked great controversy – not just because the Jesuits sent the mission independent of United Nations oversight, but also because the mission ended disastrously. Contact with the UN mission, which sent Sandoz back to Earth alone in the Jesuit ship, has since been lost.


Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Michael Miller

Set in a Roman Catholic monastery in the desert of the Southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz have taken up the mission of preserving the surviving remnants of man's scientific knowledge against the day the outside world is ready for it.

Inspired by the author's participation in the Allied bombing of the monastery at Monte Cassino during World War II, the novel is considered by literary critics a "masterpiece". It has been compared favorably with the works of Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Walker Percy, and its themes of religion, cyclic history, and church versus state have generated a significant body of scholarly research.
 

Eric P

Member
I started reading the forever war last night and was rather surprised to find it such a quick read. i managed to tear into 150 pages in about an hour and a half without even meaning to do so.

to me, it reads as sort of a counterpoint to heinlen's starship troopers.

i don't think i can suggest this book enough. i'll probably finish it then go back to the Man who was Thursday
 

Peru

Member
Cosmic Bus said:
You might need some Stanislaw Lem in your life.
Certainly seems like one who could nail it - I love Solaris the movie, so why not his books.

Eric P said:
my major problem with sci-fi is that the audience is rarely subtle, much like horror.

i would like to suggest two books that i always suggest, they both have heavy religious themes which annoys some people.

The Sparrow by Mary Dora Russel




Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Michael Miller

Thanks a lot, I'll read up on those books and see if the bookstore/library have them. The synopsises seem interesting, particularly the latter. Religious content won't bother me unless, again, it's done in a ham-handed way.
 

QVT

Fair-weather, with pride!
Peru said:
Thanks a lot, I'll read up on those books and see if the bookstore/library have them. The synopsises seem interesting, particularly the latter. Religious content won't bother me unless, again, it's done in a ham-handed way.

You may have missed my post(or just hate me) but I stand by my recommendation of Gene Wolfe. He is the only must read author in the sci-fi/fantasy genre.
 
Sorry, no fiction.


==> Book about American History


==> Title says it all. More educational purposes, fairly dry written but still interesting.
 

QVT

Fair-weather, with pride!
Peru said:
Sorry, I did miss it. What separates Wolfe from others?

He writes almost as well as Nabokov in terms of prose, and his characterization is fucking fantastic. His ideas are comparable to Borges if we're just talking about inventiveness and creativity. And plot, my god. It's difficult to talk about the best of something because there is nothing to compare it to, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't give him a chance. It's also a fucking miracle of narration as the narrator is a person who remembers everything, but remains an unreliable narrator.

So fantastic.
 

Uncle

Member
npm0925 said:
What's a great standalone (i.e., not part of a series) fantasy or science fiction novel? Massive bonus points if it's funny.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

 
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