Book Recommendations?

Relic, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It's their first novel together, not their best, but similar and perhaps even partly inspired by "Who Goes There?". It starts their "Pendergast" book series, which takes tropes from 19th and early 20th mystery, detective hero, serialized stories and light horror/occult mystery genres and transplants the styles and story types into the modern world. From the third book on, they are great. Relic is fun and scary and interesting but I know people have structural and story issues with it, but I personally regard it as a great intro to the characters that will recur in the following books. And these books give us the unusual treat of reading stories that would have appealed to our great-grandparents; so often tropes are discarded, for good reasons and bad, but it's rare to see some of the good ones resurrected and put back into play.

It's sequel is called Reliquary, and is better. Not quite up to the standard of the following books, but still well worth reading for this kind of story, and for tying up loose threads and introducing a few new characters. (The third book in the Pendergast series, The Cabinet of Curiousities, goes off like a bomb and starts a run of half a dozen or so truly excellent thriller detective books; some people choose to start there but if you want a Who Goes There kind of experience, Relic and its sequel will probably be to your taste.)

Note that the Pendergast series does indeed have strong elements of 19th century literature. Remember how Sherlock Holmes dedicates his life to gaining mental and physical skills that will aid him in detecting? Right. Mysterious monsters in unusual settings? Nefarious serial killers? Evil scientists who are literally both brilliant and amoral? Yep, all the kind of stuff appears. But overall, they hew to the detecting procedural and thriller conventions, and they offer some strong female as well as male characters.

14 years after the release of Relic in 1995, Lincoln Child released the second book of his Jeremy Logan series, called Terminal Freeze. This is even more closely inspired by Who Goes There?, and can be read standalone. (Both Child and Preston maintain their own independent book series, with Child going for dashing thrillers and Preston more on the spooky archaeology/science side of things. Preston also has written some interesting non-fiction.)

Note that Lincoln Child should not be confused with Lee Child, who writes the Jack Reacher series of unrealistic action thrillers.

Is it the shapeshifting "who's really them?" thing you're after, or "the Ten Little Indians style being picked off in the haunted house bit" that you want?

I assumed the latter.

Robear recommending Lincoln Child for fantasy and Luna: New Moon for Sci fi is very predictable. And Dudley recommending the best Lesbian Space Necromancer Haunted House Whodunnit of the past few years, Gideon the Ninth, is equally predictable.

So I've been reading a lot of a new genre to me - litrpg. I've been surprised that a lot of what I have read so far has been so good and well written.

I'd like to suggest The Wandering Inn for people to read. Because it is litrpg there are some discussions that involve classes and levels because the premise is someone ends up in a different world. I'm in the middle of the 2nd book in the series now and the characters and worl building have been really good imo.

Here is the blurb from Amazon PLUS a site if you want to read it for free - I've been buying the ebooks though because the author really deserves my money.

(This novel is the e-book version of the free web serial. You may read the entire ongoing story at wanderinginn.com free of charge.)

“No killing Goblins.”

So reads the sign outside of The Wandering Inn, a small building run by a young woman named Erin Solstice. She serves pasta with sausage, blue fruit juice, and dead acid flies on request. And she comes from another world. Ours.

It’s a bad day when Erin finds herself transported to a fantastical world and nearly gets eaten by a Dragon. She doesn’t belong in a place where monster attacks are a fact of life, and where Humans are one species among many. But she must adapt to her new life. Or die.

In a dangerous world where magic is real and people can level up and gain classes, Erin Solstice must battle somewhat evil Goblins, deadly Rock Crabs, and hungry [Necromancers]. She is no warrior, no mage. Erin Solstice runs an inn.

She’s an [Innkeeper].

And Dudley recommending the best Lesbian Space Necromancer Haunted House Whodunnit of the past few years, Gideon the Ninth, is equally predictable.

You've got my attention...

Hey, I'd recommend Gideon The Ninth too!

It doesn't start off with him but the bulk of the Pendergast audio books are done superbly by Rene Auberjonois up till his passing relatively recently.

The Wandering Inn is good, and AMAZINGLY long. I also buy the eBooks on Amazon, they are like four bucks and over 1,000 pages. Will keep you busy for a while.

I have read a lot of LitRPG over the past few years. If interested I can go through my history and post some good ones and some ones to avoid.

I think the only ones I've read are the Ten Realms. I keep reading them, but they're very clunkily written, and they have a disturbingly unnuanced attitude to military service, so I'm not sure I'd ever recommend them.

I guess LitRPG is distinct from the more general progression genre like Cradle, right? I'm a bit vague on the distinction.

Cradle is xiaxia, there is no 'game system' and numerical levels and stats. Xiaxia and wuxia are progression genres, almost always based on east Asian cultures, but not like LitRPG where there is literal numbers. LitRPG can go heavy on the stats or light, but they are the defining criteria as far as I know. Most commonly contrived plot start is a normal person from the modern world is somehow in a 'game' world that ends up being real, or dies and is sucked into a world where there is an omnipresent 'system' that shows them stats and abilities.

Chatfield, the Ten Realms author, publishes a book about once per quarter. The writing shows and pretty much all of his books could be better with a little more time and care taken. On the whole they are decent, but it is hard not to be disappointed because you can also tell how much better they could be if not rushed.

By Cradle, I assume you mean the Will Wight series? I've enjoyed them so far. The last two have been particularly enjoyable. Less of the "I've progressed this far!" and more "What does it mean to me to have progressed this far?"

LeapingGnome wrote:

The Wandering Inn is good, and AMAZINGLY long. I also buy the eBooks on Amazon, they are like four bucks and over 1,000 pages. Will keep you busy for a while.

I have read a lot of LitRPG over the past few years. If interested I can go through my history and post some good ones and some ones to avoid.

Sure! My S-Tier series for litrpg so far are The Good Guys, The Bad Guys, He Who Fights Monsters, Wandering Inn, Dungeon Crawler Carl and This Trilogy Is Broken.

LeapingGnome wrote:

I have read a lot of LitRPG over the past few years. If interested I can go through my history and post some good ones and some ones to avoid.

I would appreciate it! My trouble with LitRPG is that I always wind up (at some point) hating any time that they spend "outside the Matrix" back in the real world. I wind up speed-reading through the portions where their poverty limits their game access time because they have to work their job or whatever the hell; I never care and just want to get back inside the simulation.

If I can compare what I'm looking for to a book I read in my youth, it's "Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!" I'm happy for the protagonist to be a person from our world, but once they're in the simulation, I just want them to remain there. Any good ones where that is the case?

Ascend Online series by Luke Chmilenko is probably the closest that fits out of the ones i've read, but I also really enjoy Magic 2.0 series by Seth Myers, Awaken Online series by Travis Bagwell that have small slices of real world interactions, but they're relatively brief.

Oh another one that is a guilty pleasure that makes the 12 year in me to laugh out loud constantly is the Caverns and Creatures (Critical Failures) series by Robert Bevan. Just be prepared for a full barrage of fart/dick jokes.

Oh and i'm not sure how he's become the goto guy for these, but if you search on Luke Daniels (narrator) list of books he does a large swath of these LitRPG titles...

Oh yeah I've read 2 of the Ascend Online books and agree they are good. That is the only series I posted where there is the dual world.

Robear wrote:

Long post about Relic and authors.

Thanks for this. I enjoyed Relic enough and am a sucker for those archaeology/science books. Just added a bunch of Preston's stuff as well as Terminal Freeze to my wish list.

His book about the house he bought in Italy, and the serial killings in the area, is excellent. So is his one on the City of Gold.

And yes, I do recommend those every few years. I've been around a while and I recommend books I like. That means some repeat recommendations.

And you all have tried "Luna: New Moon", right? Great SF book.

Robear wrote:

His book about the house he bought in Italy, and the serial killings in the area, is excellent. So is his one on the City of Gold. :-)

Found it. "The Monster of Florence: A True Story". They actually have both of those available at my library so I queued them up.

Looks like I must have read a recommendation for Luna: New Moon, in this thread, in the past. It's already on my library wish list! I might just get it on audible as it's been unavailable for a long time.

Another round of idiot chucklef*cks banning books has reminded me that I really need to read Maus.

Mixolyde wrote:

Another round of idiot chucklef*cks banning books has reminded me that I really need to read Maus.

They're banning "To Kill a Mockingbird" now. How long until they burn them?

Natus wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:

Another round of idiot chucklef*cks banning books has reminded me that I really need to read Maus.

They're banning "To Kill a Mockingbird" now. How long until they burn them?

I am afraid to Google and find out if they already are. Where's Henry Jones, Sr. when you need him?

Mixolyde wrote:

Another round of idiot chucklef*cks banning books has reminded me that I really need to read Maus.

It's really good. Classic for a reason.

Took my daughter to the local library today. They had Maus front and center in their 'recommended books' section. Was nice to see that FU to the book banners.

I am really surprised that book banners are going back to the old playbook.
I had thought in this day and age, that they would just flat out ban all books. (even the bible since there is no use questioning your local preacher's interpretation and it won't limit your ability to misquote it)

Termination Shock anyone? It's probably the most ambivalent I've ever felt about a Stephenson novel. It's not his worst effort (for me, that was Dodge in Hell or whatever it was called) but maybe his least ambitious. Still entertaining, mostly, but seemed to lack the big exciting ideas that usually make his ramblings worthwhile.

ComfortZone wrote:

Termination Shock anyone? It's probably the most ambivalent I've ever felt about a Stephenson novel. It's not his worst effort (for me, that was Dodge in Hell or whatever it was called) but maybe his least ambitious. Still entertaining, mostly, but seemed to lack the big exciting ideas that usually make his ramblings worthwhile.

Yeah, I felt the same way. It was basically just another OK-ish technothriller.

I feel like there will be a sequel…