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kuhla

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The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dispossessed

Started it. I've read some other Le Guin stories and so far this is right in the same trend. She likes dealing with gender issues and I feel she definitely has a particular perspective she wants to convey. I find her writing easy to read and she certiantly seems to enjoy creating worlds/societies.

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On 5/22/2018 at 10:09 AM, kuhla said:

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dispossessed

Started it. I've read some other Le Guin stories and so far this is right in the same trend. She likes dealing with gender issues and I feel she definitely has a particular perspective she wants to convey. I find her writing easy to read and she certiantly seems to enjoy creating worlds/societies.

Finished this. It was still and interesting little journey but started to grind on me a bit towards the end because it started to feel like it was pushing an agenda. There is a postface by a different writer that does go into some length to talk about the book and even flatly states that contemporary readers may find it uncomfortable but need to understand the book was published in a different climate (1970s) and readers of that time approached the book's themes differently.

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"A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer Walter M. Miller Jr., first published in 1959. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz

I'm about half-way through. It's not long. Easy to read but it is an odd story. I'm not sure where they are going with it. I'm wondering if this is another one of those "yeah it's a bit weird because it was written 60 years ago".

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I'm taking the opportunity to do some reading on vacation. So far I've finished the following:

The Consuming Fire. This is book 2 of a series I posted about above. It's well written and absolutely worth a read. My only major complaint is that it's also a very fast read, and plays out very straightforward.

Murderbot diaries 2 and 3. These are fun quick reads. They're actually novellas, and at this point there are 4 of them released I read through 2 on the plane ride out here so they never overstay their welcome.

The Peripheral. It's William Gibson so expect something decent. I think this is a nice cross between near future and cyberpunk. I guess Amazon bought the rights and wants to make a series based on it, with the same showrunners who made Westworld. I expect this will blow up in popularity when that happens. It's a solid read and thankfully Gibson doesn't get too far up his own ass with this book. It also has some substantial depth to it, which is a nice change from the other books I've been reading.

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On 11/3/2018 at 9:12 AM, Malaphax said:

The Peripheral. It's William Gibson so expect something decent. I think this is a nice cross between near future and cyberpunk. I guess Amazon bought the rights and wants to make a series based on it, with the same showrunners who made Westworld. I expect this will blow up in popularity when that happens. It's a solid read and thankfully Gibson doesn't get too far up his own ass with this book. It also has some substantial depth to it, which is a nice change from the other books I've been reading.

Having also read that.....

On 5/1/2015 at 11:25 AM, kuhla said:

I'm slowly making my way through this (The Peripheral). I'm more than half-way through and I won't bother waiting until the end to write some impressions because I'm not really reading it for the plot. I've never really been a huge fan of the plots in William Gibson's books, even in the book that made him famous, Neuromancer. He really does have a nack for building worlds though through the lens of "near future" (this one pushes a bit farther than some previous books from him). This latest book has drones, 3D printing, supercomputers, etc. etc. and it just kind of mushes together in some interesting ways. If something odd happens towards the end I'll post an update but otherwise.... yeah... just walking through that world is kind of fun.

.....I stand by everything I said last time. I just cannot really get that invested in the plots that Gibson writes. The worlds he imagines, the technology in them and how they fit into daily life I think are his strong points. I hope they are able to make some changes to smooth out the storyline for the adaptation they are making.

On 7/24/2012 at 11:10 PM, kuhla said:

I really wanted to read something "fun" so I recently went back and re-read this. They are just as fun as I remembered.

Currently giving The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny a shot. Not that far in yet so nothing much to say.

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Yea the storyline in "The Peripheral" wasn't great, it never felt solid enough to really grab my interest. The book is interesting because of the world building and technology/society that Gibson creates. I feel like they could add substantially more depth to the storyline without changing the feel of the book and it's world.

I've heard the expanse has done a fantastic job of cleaning up and adding flavor to the books. The author himself works with their writing team and I believe he's mentioned that the show allows him to publish a sort of "revised" edition.

I'm working on "Kings of the Wyld" which seems to be old man's war meets super generic fantasy setting.

Side note, I'm a bit disappointed in the Fullerton library's selection of eBooks. They seem to have a tremendous amount of trashy romance novels and garbage political non-fiction, but I haven't seen much in the way of sci-fi and fantasy. I also realize I have no right to complain considering this is a free service, but it's good to note that this won't be replacing my current book acquisition methods.

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Finished Kings of the Wyld.  It wasn't poorly written but it's not my style of book.  It's very irreverent, bordering on satirical but then suddenly tries to take itself seriously, which feels like this weird whipsaw back and forth as a reader.  The level of generic fantasy was almost comical, but then it kept going and wasn't funny anymore.  The few pieces of world building beyond that were decent, but the storyline surrounding it was worse than most disney movies. 

Currently working on Blindsight.  This book feels very crunchy with it's sci-fi elements and some aspects remind me a bit of the expanse.  There are some genuinely strange parts of the book, like the fact that a resurrected vampire is leading the crew and this is taken at face value.  Unlike the more generic vampire tropes he's described as a non-human, almost like a long extinct alpha-predator.  Also the main character basically has super-autism (I hate this trope so much) but unlike some of the other times I've seen this trope used the main character actually comes across as screwed up and creepy and not just mildly socially awkward.

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I finished Murderbot #4: Exit Strategy
These are all quick little novellas that got popular enough, the author has announced she'll do a proper full length novel based off of the concept.  Overall it's worth the read.

I'm debating if I want to try out some fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson, his big series are Misborn and Stormlight Archives
I've heard many good things about his books, but I'm always hesitant to jump into a series, especially if it's unfinished. 

I still need to finish Blindsight, I just need to make a better habit of reading my books every evening. 

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On 11/4/2018 at 5:23 PM, kuhla said:

Currently giving The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny a shot. Not that far in yet so nothing much to say.

I'm still working on this. Very slowly. I'm many hundreds of pages in. It is chopped into multiple small <250 page books. I really need to switch to something else. It's not badly written but I am not really enjoying it.

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1 hour ago, Malaphax said:

The problem I have with lists like this one is that they are so "classics" heavy. I've read a very large percentage of that list but that's because much of that list was published 15-20+ years ago. Where is all the good but newer stuff?

I would rather spend more time looking into a list like this: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/75182

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On 2/11/2019 at 10:50 PM, kuhla said:

I'm still working on this. Very slowly. I'm many hundreds of pages in. It is chopped into multiple small <250 page books. I really need to switch to something else. It's not badly written but I am not really enjoying it.

Dropped this. Couldn't take it anymore.

Started The Once and Future King by T. H. White but I just wasn't feeling it so I stopped. I may try to revisit this at some point because some of the premise does seem interesting to me.

Started Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) by Robin Hobb. It's OK so far but I feel like I can see a bunch of classic tropes just over the horizon.

At some point I need to make a real decision to stop this ancient ereader + occasional softback that I'm doing now and go whole hog into just a new ereader.

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On 7/24/2012 at 11:10 PM, kuhla said:

Related to my last post......

I KNEW IT. I kept thinking in the back of my head that these characters sounded familiar somehow. Figured that I probably posted about it and did a search. BAH. Ok. Dropping it now. Moving on to something else.

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Recently finished reading the The Dark Elf trilogy of books by R. A. Salvatore. This is the fantasy story about Drizzt, the Dungeons & Dragons character. There are more books but I stopped after that. It was easy reading but I was already getting pretty bored half-way into book two. The story just feels so reptitive and the main character is such a mary sue. I do not think it is marketed as young adult fiction but it certainly felt like it.

Currently reading A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony and I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. It is fantasy and part of a longer series of books ("Xanth series"). The setting is "super magical" as in pretty much everyone and everything has magic (including animals, water, etc.) although some of it is consider totally useless (one example given in the book is someone who can change the color of their urine to any color on command). It's weird because it moves very very fast and feels almost episodic in some sections. Main character is on a journey and along the way runs into some new person with a basic problem, he helps them with their problem and then leaves and that new person or their issue is not mentioned again. Easy to read and I'm sort of curious where they are going with the story.

 

On 4/11/2019 at 2:37 PM, kuhla said:

At some point I need to make a real decision to stop this ancient ereader + occasional softback that I'm doing now and go whole hog into just a new ereader.

Still very much on my to-do list.

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I think I have some physical Drizzt books somewhere on my bookshelf.  I don't remember if I started at the beginning or just sort of picked a few up.  I vaguely remember that the books covering his childhood/upbringing were sort of interesting because the dark elf society was nobility warring against one another with plenty of backstabbing.  Something about how Lolth promotes chaos or whatever.  Honestly they were super forgettable, and when he later teams up with his companions all of them felt super basic and uninspired.   I think a large portion of "traditional fantasy" feels very samey because they often followed the same set of tropes and very obvious black/white morality.  I don't know if my tastes have changed but I've found myself seeking more books with some morally grey characters and anti-heroes rather than the traditional "main character on a quest to save the world" books. 

I'm almost done with the Machineries of Empire series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/160439-the-machineries-of-empire

It's a strange sci-fi setting, very handwavy when it comes to tech, but still interesting.  The author is a mathematician which is why much of the tech is explained with "calendars and math stuff" but the only time they ever mention specific mathematical elements is something about a timed lock that used prime factorization, which was supposed to be unhackable.  The universe building elements are kind of interesting, but the main characters are more of a means to an end than a central driving force throughout the story. 

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2 hours ago, Malaphax said:

I think a large portion of "traditional fantasy" feels very samey because they often followed the same set of tropes and very obvious black/white morality.  I don't know if my tastes have changed but I've found myself seeking more books with some morally grey characters and anti-heroes rather than the traditional "main character on a quest to save the world" books. 

I think more "mature" (oh boy that's a heavy word) readers ask the question "why" more often.

I think generally speaking the reason morally grey characters feel "better" is because the author is then obligated to explain their goal/their motivation. They have to. If you don't explain why the good guy did a bad thing or why the bad guy did a good thing then the character doesn't make any sense.

Black and white characters don't need any explanation. The good guys are doing good because they are good. The bad guys are doing bad because they are bad. Mechanically it works but there is no explanation, no "why". This feels unfulfilling.

I think you can still have a "main character on a quest to save the world" and still have morally grey characters but it just does not happen very often.

Now mary sues on the other hand almost always feel like garbage. How am I supposed to connect/empathize with this character? He can do everything and he can do it well and if he cannot do it right this minute then he can somehow learn it faster and better than anyone else. How can that character truly have any conflict? Anything challenge that appears will be overcome either immediately or shortly thereafter. Every event in the story just ends up feeling useless since you know how it's going to end.

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On 8/21/2019 at 10:46 AM, kuhla said:

Currently reading A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony and I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. It is fantasy and part of a longer series of books ("Xanth series"). The setting is "super magical" as in pretty much everyone and everything has magic (including animals, water, etc.) although some of it is consider totally useless (one example given in the book is someone who can change the color of their urine to any color on command). It's weird because it moves very very fast and feels almost episodic in some sections. Main character is on a journey and along the way runs into some new person with a basic problem, he helps them with their problem and then leaves and that new person or their issue is not mentioned again. Easy to read and I'm sort of curious where they are going with the story.

Finished this recently. Fizzled pretty hard for me. I had some issues with the writing already in the first book but it just got worse and worse by the end of the 2nd book.

Currently reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. Seen this book recommended many times. I'm not a huge Terry Pratchett fan because his style of comedy does not really do anything for me and the fact that it's a big part of many of his books. That being said, this is short and it should not take long to finish. This is also the first book I'm reading on the new ereader.

wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Gods

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On 10/2/2019 at 10:02 AM, kuhla said:

Currently reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. Seen this book recommended many times. I'm not a huge Terry Pratchett fan because his style of comedy does not really do anything for me and the fact that it's a big part of many of his books. That being said, this is short and it should not take long to finish. This is also the first book I'm reading on the new ereader.

wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Gods

Powered through this pretty hard. It was fun. I enjoyed it more in the second half than in the first half.

Just started The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin ( wikipedia ). I have seen it on a lot of reading lists over the last couple of years. I have not read much yet so I cannot even give any impressions but the book begins with a section set in the Cultural Revolution in China during the 1960s which feels weirdly appropriate.

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