Book Recommendations?

Haakon7 wrote:
karmajay wrote:

Just finished The First Law trilogy and enjoyed it although not sure how I feel about the last few chapters. I think it is probably because it sets the characters up for future books but I typically like all my threads ties up at the end of a series.

Same. I think I posted in here at one point, but the last few chapters seriously damaged my view of the whole thing. I'm not against bad things happening, but it felt gratuitous and deliberately out of character for some of them.

Well, i see 2 other books on Amazon from that world :

Spoiler:

Starred Review. This blood-drenched, thought-provoking dissection of a three-day battle is set in the same world as Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, etc.), but stands very well alone. Union commander Lord Marshal Kroy coordinates the fight with the aid of a motley group of incompetent, self-important officers. The strangely sympathetic Col. Bremer dan Gorst is officially a royal observer who nurses a burning desire to kill or be killed. Leading a much smaller army against the Union is Black Dow, whose grip on the throne of the Northmen is tenuous and based on fear and brutality. Calder, a slippery and cunning egotist, advocates peace while plotting to take Black Dow's place. Abercrombie never glosses over a moment of the madness, passion, and horror of war, nor the tribulations that turn ordinary people into the titular heroes.

Spoiler:

Best Served Cold is a stand-alone novel that takes place in the same world as Joe Abercrombie's acclaimed The First Law series. To his many fans (of which I'm certainly one), I say: you'll be more than pleased with Best Served Cold. Along with a colorful array of new characters -- criminals, henchmen, assassins, power-hungry nobles, and mercenaries -- several of the second-string characters from The First Law play a major part. I'd list them, but half the fun of this book is guessing just who will show up. I will just give you this much: if you liked the despicable soldier-of-fortune Nicomo Cosca before, or maybe even if you didn't, you're gonna love him in Best Served Cold.

Anyone ever check out the Story Bundle sites? I'm mildly intrigued by a few of the offerings this time around.

karmajay wrote:
SpyNavy wrote:

As a heads up Baen changed their Kindle email delivery system this morning. I consider most of Baens military sci fi stuff a guilty pleasure. Reading Hammer's Slammers and loving it. I also have the CoDominium Bundle that has some of Pournelle's best.

Which Baen series is the one where there are giant pyramid super tanks?

Someone answer this man's question Damnit!

UMOarsman wrote:

Anyone ever check out the Story Bundle sites? I'm mildly intrigued by a few of the offerings this time around.

I got their fantasy/SF bundle from a few months aback. The books I've read from that one were good (I think I've got through two or three of them).

Yonder wrote:
karmajay wrote:
SpyNavy wrote:

As a heads up Baen changed their Kindle email delivery system this morning. I consider most of Baens military sci fi stuff a guilty pleasure. Reading Hammer's Slammers and loving it. I also have the CoDominium Bundle that has some of Pournelle's best.

Which Baen series is the one where there are giant pyramid super tanks?

Someone answer this man's question Damnit! :)

Bolo?

I finished Perdido Street Station the other day. I loved 80% of the book, but felt the ending a little lacking. IMO, it felt like Mr. Miéville got tired of writing the novel and decided to "just wrap it up".

A solid read with a vibrant world and engaging characters that really seemed to come alive but the conclusion wasn't fleshed out enough.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Yonder wrote:
karmajay wrote:
SpyNavy wrote:

As a heads up Baen changed their Kindle email delivery system this morning. I consider most of Baens military sci fi stuff a guilty pleasure. Reading Hammer's Slammers and loving it. I also have the CoDominium Bundle that has some of Pournelle's best.

Which Baen series is the one where there are giant pyramid super tanks?

Someone answer this man's question Damnit! :)

Bolo?

That was a great book, at least when I was a kid.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Yonder wrote:
karmajay wrote:
SpyNavy wrote:

As a heads up Baen changed their Kindle email delivery system this morning. I consider most of Baens military sci fi stuff a guilty pleasure. Reading Hammer's Slammers and loving it. I also have the CoDominium Bundle that has some of Pournelle's best.

Which Baen series is the one where there are giant pyramid super tanks?

Someone answer this man's question Damnit! :)

Bolo?

Yeah that seems to be it, thanks! Here is the wiki entry for a Bolo.

Hi thread, you've given me several good suggestions in the past, I think you guys would like Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris series: City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Finch. These aren't necessarily easy reads but I found them really satisfying.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Hi thread, you've given me several good suggestions in the past, I think you guys would like Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris series: City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Finch. These aren't necessarily easy reads but I found them really satisfying.

I prefer Mieville for "New Weird", but I'll generally second this

Tanglebones wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

Hi thread, you've given me several good suggestions in the past, I think you guys would like Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris series: City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Finch. These aren't necessarily easy reads but I found them really satisfying.

I prefer Mieville for "New Weird", but I'll generally second this

I don't prefer Mieville at all, and loved these. Well, in truth I only read Finch and didn't realize it was part of trilogy until I was done. Need to go back and see to the other ones.

City of Saints is more of a collection of stories/novellas, but will definitely help contextualize Finch.

muraii wrote:
BadKen wrote:
ruhk wrote:

While we're on the subject of post-apocalyptic settings, I've been reading Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh, and it's quite good so far...though it's more mid-apocalypse than post-apocalypse. The novel follows a group of friends across a decade and through the collapse of western civilization, as economic decline and resource scarcity slowly turn the United States into a scene from Mad Max.

Ugh, I hated that book. It's the post-apocalyptic book equivalent of a torture porn horror movie. My 1-star Amazon review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2KWM8F...

Uneven comments on your review, but I think The Road, while not Disneyesque, was not as desperate or dire as I expected. The grue is evenly balanced by the father-son love, and the ending...well, it's an ending I found strangely disappointing.

Soft Apocalypse may swing too far but I'll probably try it out.

Going back a bit, Soft Apocalypse generated a little bit of conversation. I'm approximately 70.7% of the way through and I think it's borderline fantastic. I'm always hesitant to criticize first-person narratives because there will tend to be a specific personality coloring the world. Which is, like, the point of a first-person narrative. So I'm unsure if how I would approach the narrative differently is a function of writing quality or just a difference of personality.

That said, specifically for the torture-porn angle, I don't feel the violence and degradation are lacking context. I've never been in a situation such that I can speak to how people would likely act in McIntosh's setting, but we've all heard horror stories (the burning villages of Vietnam, the rape in Darfur, despots destroying rice donations in Ethiopia, etc.) that make the fictional horrors credible.

McIntosh cares for the people in this world, and I can't wait to see how it goes.

Katy wrote:

I've read half of one of the books on the list [[NY Review of Books Top 100]], (Alif the Unseen. Review to follow when I've finished it. But I'm enjoying it so far).

I'm back.

Really enjoyed this one. It's rare that I find a book involving computer hackers in it that doesn't strike a wrong note somewhere, but this one made the programming metaphorical instead of concrete, which helped a great deal. It's not all about the tech, of course. Alif sums up his adventure late in the book, "It seemed absurd that in his attempt to put a few simple things right he should have made such astronomical miscalculations. A girl he loved had decided she did not love him--at least, not enough. How was such a problem usually addressed? Surely not with the clandestine exchange of books and computer surveillance and recourse to the jinn."

The book is at turns philosophical and an action thriller, with a dose of levity to balance the heavy bits. Recommended.

Just finished Jennifer Morgue, Charlie Stross's second Laundry book - still a really fun romp, though the main character's obliviousness was very forced this time.

Tanglebones wrote:

Just finished Jennifer Morgue, Charlie Stross's second Laundry book - still a really fun romp, though the main character's obliviousness was very forced this time.

He gets noticeably more seasoned and secure as the series progresses.

ruhk wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Just finished Jennifer Morgue, Charlie Stross's second Laundry book - still a really fun romp, though the main character's obliviousness was very forced this time.

He gets noticeably more seasoned and secure as the series progresses.

It was more his inability to recognize the blatantly obvious

Spoiler:

James Bond aspects of the Geas until the last act, when things are spelled out for him. Even under the magic's influence, Bob is presented as too smart a character for his cluelessness to make consistent sense.

Ah, s'truth. It's been awhile since I read that.

The results are in for the Locus poll of greatest novels I mentioned earlier: results, more detailed results, and put-you-to-sleep details. It's too bad Wolfe's Book of the New Sun got split between SF and Fantasy. Deserved to be higher, although he did just become SFWA's newest Grand Master.

I just got a couple of good books for Christmas.

11/23/63 - After reading Under the Dome, I'm anxious to dig into another beast size King novel. For a thousand page story, UtD still felt pretty tight and was a great story. I've heard nothing but god stuff about 11/23/63, a tale of a man that travels back in time to prevent Kennedy's assassination.

Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human - I've read varying opinions of this work, but i'm interested in what Grant Morrison has to say, whether I agree or not. Between Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth and All-Star Superman, I think he has some really interesting ideas on the psyche of superheroes.

A couple months back, Ars Technica posted DRM be damned: How to protect your Amazon e-books from being deleted, which covers how to use Calibre to remove Amazon's DRM. This has worked very well for me, and it makes me much more willing to buy Amazon's e-books... previously, I mostly only did it when I was bored enough that I would find some other way to waste the money.

Amazon has several formats now, one of which is AZW3. Calibre's handling of these files is a bit buggy; it doesn't seem to have a reader for that format. If you double-click one, it treats it like a brand-new import, even though it's already in your library, so you can end up with 10 copies of the same book if you keep just double-clicking it and saying Yes on the popup, instead of No or Cancel.

The workaround I found was to convert it first to MOBI, and then read it from there. I'm not sure if that fixes double-clicking, but it certainly allows you to choose to read the MOBI version off the popup menu. So far, the conversion from AZW3 to MOBI has seemed flawless. This conversion is necessary anyway, because my Kindle DX won't handle AZW3 format. If I had Amazon send it over the wireless, they would convert it for me, but I download it to the computer, strip the DRM, and convert it myself.

I think Calibre makes my Kindle much more useful, and I try to donate once a year or so.

Oh, also note that the Baen books work beautifully with Calibre. Download the file, drag-and-drop it onto Calibre, push it to the device. It's not Amazon's One Click system, but it sure beats going to the store.

Oso, if you're reading this: have you picked up the Logician and the Engineer yet? I've been curious about this one. (I've read Information earlier this year.)

Really enjoyed Roadside Picnic, the basis for the Stalker games.

Just finished Pines by Blake Crouch. Sort of a Twin Peaks vibe I enjoyed it!

karmajay wrote:

Really enjoyed Roadside Picnic, the basis for the Stalker games.

I read that this year and loved it.

My girlfriend got me Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili peppers). I'm only one chapter in and I am so drawn in to his story so far.

UCRC wrote:

Oso, if you're reading this: have you picked up the Logician and the Engineer yet? I've been curious about this one. (I've read Information earlier this year.)

Not yet, but I just finished Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise and that increases my motivation to give it a go. Silver talks a lot about Bayesian logic and Bayes' Theorem, but avoided actually giving us the math. I'm hoping this one does more. On the other hand, from what I understand, no one really credited Bayes w/ a breakthough and the recognition for his genius all came posthumously.

I purchased The Logician and the Engineer through Audible, and it's queued up next. I try to listen to one fiction and then one non-fiction so after I finish the Black Company novel that I'm on now, this one is next. I'll definitely put a review up on Goodreads and mention it here.

Oso, how deep do you want to go on the Bayesian stuff? I can give some recommendations for books for introduction to practical Bayesian inference if you want something a bit more meaty than Silver's book (which I'm about halfway through right now).

I've been tackling Mistborn: Final Empire at a friends behest and am really liking what Brandon Sandersen has to offer. I especially love his take on a magic system. I'm a sucker for a unique magic system and his Allomancy is just that. I can't wait to find out about the 9th, 10th and 11th metals...

Everyone who enjoys fantasy should give this a read at some point, if you haven't already (it is entirely possible that I am just behind).