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Book Thread.
I thought a trio of themed threads about other entertainment media might be good. If you're not interested, please just ignore the thread and pick some threads that interest you from here:

Anyway, discuss books...
i like sci-fi stories 
I'm Reading... 
War and Peace. It's very long, but pretty good.

I have to say that I love Hemingway though. He's probably my favorite author. I've read every finished short story of his and prior to War and Peace I read For Whom the Bell Tolls which was just a great, great book. 
The Wheels Of Chance 
Possibly the only H G Wells novel that could make it to the silver screen without being FUBARed.

Basically, it's about a chap on a cycling holiday (despite never riding a bicycle before in his life) who has some rather interesting experiences. The only beef I have is that Wells' chosen narrative voice is too self-conscious at times. 
Well, It's Not Really A Book... 
But I recently received two gifts: Closed on Account of Rabies, and The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection, both on CD. They're both collections of various people reading Edgar Allan Poe's stories.

Closed on Account of Rabies is a bit of a mixed bag. The tracks have ambient music and background sound effects to help set the mood. Unfortunately, sometimes the effects and music aren't quite appropriate or interfere too much. Some of the tracks are poems put to song, which such IMHO. Mostly the stuff is good, though. Christopher Walken reading "The Raven" was a good one, though.

I haven't really started The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection yet. It's read by Basil Rathbone and Vincent Price, and no music or sound effects AFAIK. The few tracks I've heard so far a good, although the volume is a bit low.

(/me wonders if he b0rked the underline tags) 
Anything by Chuck Pahlaniuk really, though I can really recommend Survivor.

One of the best reads out there is Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, a scientific book about why stuff happened the way they did.

Also, you can never really go wrong with Naomi Klein, No Logo is one of the best books about the new economy and the new society as it were. If you've ever eaten a burger - you might also want to check out a book called Fast Food Nation, written by some jewish guy whose name escapes me at the moment.

The latest fictional I finished was the latest installment in the George RR Martin low-fantasy series. It's not Robert Jordan, but it gets me through.

I hear most cereal boxes has some excellent prose too shambler :) 
I'm currently reading 'Battle Royale' by Koushun Takami (inspired the movie of the same name). Last few books I've read are 'Towing Jehovah' by James Marrow (God dies, falls in ocean, needs to be towed to artic to be 'burried') and 'Roverandom' by JRR Tolkein (short book about a dog having some strange adventures).

I'm also into graphic novels (comics). Big fan of Frank Miller's stuff ('Sin City', 'Ronin', 'The Dark Knight Returns', 'Hard Boiled'). Just read some 'Hellboy' by Mike Mignola which seems excellant and I plan on reading more. J Micheal Straczynski's 'Rising Stars' has also been good and I can't wait until he finishes it. The series 'Powers' by Brain Micheal Bendis is also very good. 
The best piece of prose I've read must be 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey. Incredibly insightful, yet it's perspicacious scrutiny of society's hypcrosies and nueroses is tempered by real compassion.
I've just started reading the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh.
If you're at all into the gothic vibe, Poppy Z Brite is worth checking out; her short stroy collection 'Swamp Foetus' is some of the most condensed character-driven atmospherics I've read. Horror anthologies I find are always great sources of inspiration.

Graphic novels: Hellboy is great; prior to Hellboy, Mignola did an Aliens graphic called Salvation - find it if you can, it makes a far better story than either of the latter two Aliens movies.
And of course, Arkham Asylum, tho that one's getting kinda dusty now. 
Reading Atm... 
I am making it a summer routine to read Neuromancer every year. I am doing it again atm. This is the third time through. I find new shit everytime. Just finished All Tomorrow's Parties by Gibson as well, not amazing, but worth a read. Also awaiting the Novemeber release of Steven King's next Dark Tower book. This series is amazing if you have not read it I highly recommend them. The Stand is another fabulous book, especially if you consider current events (SARS). Also enjoyed Hearts in Atlantis by King which puts an interesting narrative twist on things. After I finish Neuromancer, I will be moving on to Snowcrash which everyone I know has highly recommended and been shocked I hadn't read yet. With all the excitement surrounding Harry Potter, and LOTR these days, I got to thinking about the Narnia (lion witch wardrobe) books by C.S. Lewis which I am certain I would love to read again soon. I don't know if anyone is into reading American Westerns (I know that Kell mentioned a film about Indians in the movie thread) but anything by Louis L'Amour is amazing. The Sackett books, Haunted Mesa, Sitka, Last of the Breed, the list goes on and on.

Graphic Novels: The original Aliens vs. Predator dark horse series was amazing, HardBoiled (Frank Miller, Geoff Darrow) The first Mask books rocked hard, as well as Sin City which has already been mentioned. The first 2 aliens series just rocked hard (black and whites/Airbrushed series) As a matter of fact I am convinced that elements of Alien Resurrection were ripped directly from that comic, and those where the only bits that were any good. I stopped reading comics all together though in the early 90's when Rob Liefeld ruined the industry, and Simon Bisley stopped drawing Lobo comics. 
5th Gunslinger Book? 
I haven't been following it since I finished the fourth one... hmmm that'll give me a good reason to start em all over again from book 1

there has been talk of a Narnia movie, all 7 books in one go, which I think would be utterly confusing to someone who hasn't read it as theres quite a big passing of time between some books etc.

Dune rules, tho I can't make it past book 3 in the series as it starts to get dull. 
Poe Is Patchy... 
...but a recent romp through Tales of Mystery and Imagination gave me much joy. One story was so visually inspiring I scrapped the Knave based void map I was working on and ploughed into an IK2K themed work. Usher Recompiled is busy compiling as I write (expect it mid June UWF)

...and I agree bp, Dune doth rule! Pity the series goes 1. Awesome book 2.3.4. Sometimes boring and not always important geo/politico/historico scene setting 5. Awesome book.

I re-read The Dosardi Experiment, The Jesus Incident and Hellstrom's Hive by Herbert every two or three years. 
I hear most cereal boxes has some excellent prose too shambler :)

Cheers. I love you.

I Like, 
Reading the Quake manual 
And I'm planning to finish reading my three books of H.P. Lovecraft stories sometime soon.

With that I'll leave you with this brilliant quote from CyBeAr:

<blehbear> t3h best of hewlett packard lovecraft
<Bal> rofl
Graphic Novels 
Nausica� valley of the wind - go read if you haven't. 
do you folks keep calling them graphic novels?
they're comics!

what with the geeky defense mechanism? :) 
Recent Apostrophae 
Graphic novels: subcategory then, currently mainly meaning lots more visually intense with nice color glossy and all that. I've seen some good ones, but currently read only black and white comics series just as much graphic novel style. Cerebus (currently at about page 5700 of 6000), Thieves and Kings, A Distant Soil, Bone.

All Tomorrow's Parties by Gibson: I liked _Idoru_ a lot, that's a sequel you know, good though.

Current read Greg Bear _Darwin's Children_ about some interesting implications of normal human DNA retroviruses. Also recent good L. Niel Smith _The American Zone_ on alternate American realities (including freedom), David Brin _Kiln People_ with neat first person views of both the MC and his clones, Philip Dick _Clans of the Aliphane Moon_ where people get classed into the various mental deficiency groups and live happily ever after. Lots more Brin, Baxter, Niven, all that stuff.

I'll have to check back on this thread when I need more.. 
Currently I'm reading Kurose/Ross - Computer networking; a top-down approach featuring the internet. Quite damned boring. Wouldn't reccomend it to anoyone.

Other than that, I'm going to read all the Narnia books again, because they are my number one favourite book series ever (even though the last few books gets all rabid religious and preachy,) and I've read them about a zillion times. Narnia movie? ugh. There was already the series by BBC or whatever, which was a mildly acceptable translation, despite the �1 costume budget. 
Which three books do you have? The Omnibusses?
I'm reading those too currently and really do like them. The english is a bit hard for someone who isn't a native speaker but it's quite OK.

Besides that I'm reading 'Stupid White Men' by Michael Moore currently, and I have to say I really like that one, if you haven't read it yet, go and do so. 
currently re-reading the Honor Harrington series... good space warfare...

read Camus' "The Plague" and "The Stranger"...
"Count of Monte Cristo" is pretty good, but long...
Anne Rice's vampire chronicles are also pretty entertaining...
um... yeah... that's more or less it... 
read Camus' "The Plague" and "The Stranger"...

Do you mean 'The Outsider'? Or is 'The Stranger' a different book?

The Outsider is a classic, for all us existential gothy loners ( well, it helped me get an A in Higher English :P ) 
Speakin' Of "Graphic Novels"... 
Jennifer Diane Reitz's Unicorn Jelly is shaping up to be a very nice two-part series.

I should know. I'm one of the editors. 
Yeah, I checked it out from your site link - really cool stuff. I like the universal map. And the shatterel storm is a nifty idea; I like that sort of stuff. 
Stupid White Men... 
Just finished that last week, and amazing book, though it slackens in pace an humour to a dull ending which left me wanting more, and asking, did he have anyone read this and tell him, heh, you never wrapped it up. 
I felt like there was so much more Gibson could have done with this book. It has been some time since I read it, but the whole rock icon thing really reminded me of the believability factor of Bill & Ted's excellent adventure. I think the closest thing to this would be Bono of U2, and does anyone truly take him seriously? Rez was pretty lame imho, so lame in fact, that after Gibson spent most of Idoru emphasising the fact that Rez was so amazing he seemed to transcend all of the fads, only to become a fad himself in All Tomorrow's Parties. All Tomorrow's Parties also could have ended after the third chapter, there really is no meat to the book, just set-up loads of filler and an ending...I will admit though that the ending is cool and all considering what the Idoru does, but.....heh...

Whats the worst book you ever read?

I read this book titled Format C: one sucked ass.

I have to admit to reading two fo the the Left Behind books. While they are loaded with Christian themes which might piss many off, the story itself is rather good. Might as well see what the fuss is about I figured. Kinda got sucked into them much in the same way the Harry Potter books can be major addicting. 
Have you read The Stand and Hearts in Atlantis? There are some major relations between The Stand and Dark Tower books. Good read if you never read it, and having read the DT books, you will see loads of links. It is over 500 pages or so but a really interesting story. There is also some inference to The Dark Tower in Hearts in Atlantis....Some characters we have yet to see in DT books called Low Men, and The least I cannot remeber them. 
I can't believe that no-one has mentioned Iain M Banks/Iain Banks yet!

Feersum Endjinn
Use of Weapons
The Bridge

All fantastic, but for different reasons. Holding them all together, though, is excellent writing style and some brilliant narrative structure/styles, mostly involving skewing the reader's perception of an event or series of events and then slowly revealing an altenative reality. I can't praise them enough :) 
Seconded - although I'd swap Use of Weapons and Inversions for Player of Games and Walking On Glass....Feersum Enjinn and The Bridge are superb though, first 1/2 of the bridge is one of the best things I've read... 
I'll forgive you both for missing out Excession. Probably my most read book, think I'm up to about 8 times now.

Bal, go read PKD. 
Regarding The Dark Tower.... 
A lot of King's books seem to be related to the Dark Tower, including:
Salem's Lot
The Stand
Hearts in Atlantis
Black House

Also, if you go to Stephen King's website, , there is an audio excerpt from the upcoming fifth Dark Tower book, read by King himself. It's fairly interesting, a flashback depicting the demise of Alain, Cuthbert and Jamie de Curry. 
No, not the Omnibuses. I hadn't heard of those, actually. The titles are:

The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death
The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre
The Stranger and The Outsider are one and the same, although, the actual title, L'�tranger, more litterally means Stranger than outsider. I guess it depends on who translated the book... :) 
Clockwork Orange 
Great book that. Horrorshow.

Is it just me that imagines John Lydon (Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame) doing the "talking book" version?

BTW, apparently the twenty-first chapter was dropped from the initial American release, and from Kubrick's film, according to this copy's intro. Burgess was mighty upset. End of uninteresting historical aside. 
wow, those sound really uplifting!

necros: yes of course, I forget that I read a translation :/ thx

wrath: they are very cheery :) 
Yes. I think the names were chosen to sound (gasp!) horrifying. Instead it came out cheesy. But it's all Lovecraft on the inside, so what does it matter? 
Well Met... 
Ooooh, some fans of Roland and company.
The Dark Tower Books are an annual read for me and I do love all of the tie-ins in many of the other books mentioned. There is a semi-short story about Roland that takes place before he meets Jake at the waystation. It can be found in the short story compilation called "Everything's Eventual". Many of those short stories are King at his very best.

My all time favorite read would have to be "Boys Life" by Robert R. Mcammom. Its the story of a young boy in a deep south town in Alabama USA back in the 50/60's. It is reality with a very strong twist of majic thrown in. Not Harry Potter majic but boyish imagination majic.

There is also a very interesting series of books that fall under the "The Lost Regiment" banner. William R. Forstchen mixes Civil War soldiers, sci-fi, time travel and man-eating nasties in the series. These books are sleep stealers, once started and the night hours just dissapear. 
I Can't Get That Link To Work.... 
is it uploaded somewhere else? 
Dark Tower 
These books I think are the best King's creation. The atmosphere is very interesting.
I don't think that my english is able to discribe all that I think about the Dark Tower books and Gunslighter's adventures. But even here, at mapper's board I found fans of this story.
The Stand is also King's masterpiece.
I think reading of these books is not only interesting but IMHO is also very inspiring in mapping and some other kinds of creativity. 
Hey Ho... 
I'm quite impressed how much discussion this thread got. I thought people had given up reading in this day and age. All hail nerds eh =). So what's Smabler read in the last 8 months??

Perdido Street Station - China Mieville - Fantastic steampunk, one of the best books around, dripping in atmosphere although runs out of steam (!) a little.

The LiveShip Trilogy - Robin Hobb - Surprisingly really good fantasy - coherent, multi-stranded and clearly written.

The Crow Road - Iain Banks - Missed this out when I first got into Banks....not twisted enough but still pretty sharp.

On - Adam Roberts - Bleak, discolated sci-fi, vaguely similar to Banks' sparser moments, a bit dissatisfying.

Salt - Adam Roberts - Political sci-fi again with a Banks feel, again sparse on feeling and involvement.

Jerle Shannara Trilogy - Terry Brooks - typically weak fantasy - nice premise but illogical and not involving enough.

A Shadow On The Glass - Ian Irvine - incoherent fantasy, doesn't flow nor make much sense.

Next I will be reading something from quite a few books I've bought recently:

The Scar - China Mieville (if it's anywhere near as good...), Schild's Ladder - Greg Egan (sci-fi so hard it makes my brain hurt), Redemption Ark - Alastair Reynolds (kinda cool dark sci-fi), The Chronoliths - Robert Charles Wilson (a clear, sharp imaginative author), Geomancer - Ian Irvine (read 1/2, grim & intriguing fantasy, vast improvement over first series), Heresy - Anselm Audley (fantasy, sounds good), Speed Of Dark - Elizabeth Moon (sounds a bit cheesy but entertainment 'lite'). 
The Dark Tower 
Im glad to see new books are coming out, and thats a huge understatement, I finished Wizard and Glass my 8th grade year, and have been anxiously awaiting the 5th book, and now Ill get to read it as a sophomore in college.
I have noticed a lot of tie ins with the Dark Tower, but the main one that sticks in my memory is The Eye of the Dragon, which involves a character, a wizard, named Flagg, and a child named Roland. It was the first King I ever read.
I dont really feel that The Stand was his masterpiece, although it was a great story, up until its end which I was quite disappointed with, but the character of Nick was wonderful.

Poppy Z Brite is definitely worth checking out, however Ive only read Drawing Blood (or was it Lost Souls ? its been years and I get the 2 mixed up, regardless it involves the house in north carolina and the 2 gay guys). She is quite good at her style though.

Id love to read more Lovecraft, but I have such a hard time finding the actual stories, everything is stuff inspired by him which turns out to be bad ripoffs... Ive found sites with them online, but when it comes to reading stories, I vastly prefer a book in my hands while laying on the couch.
Can anyone recommend the names of publishers or collections of short stories of Lovecraft that are authentic and I can pinpoint on amazon or such ? 
See my post #30. Also the stuff mentioned in Gom's post #31 seems to fit your requirements as well. 
thanks rpg, i started reading the thread but well, i mainly just felt like sharing, so i made my post. im gonna order those 3 when i move into my apt =) 
Iain Banks! 
Ranked in order even!

1.Use of weapons
2.The Bridge
4.Against a Dark Background
6.Player of Games
7.Feersum Endjinn
8.look to windward
9.Consider Phlebas

But really, they are all good. The guy is just a fantastic writer, with a huge imagination.

The bridge is the only "non-SF" book of his i have read, i was thinking of maybe "the wasp factory" next. 
Two HPL Collections: 
The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft

The Transition of H.P. Lovecraft 
Which are exactly the ones I mentioned in my post. Except I didn't bother with handy Amazon links.

But neither of us bothered with amazon women. 
That Was Out Biggest Mistake. 
What is it with Use Of Weapons and Against A Dark Background....I found them pretty sparse and lifeless compared to the rest of his stuff....but enough people like them.

Anyway, his non-SF stuff. The Bridge is the best, but also very good are Walking On Glass which is surreal and brilliant and The Wasp Factory which is just plain warped. I'd say Complicity is also well worth may like Song Of Stone since you liked UOW and AGADB, but I found it too minimal. The Crow Road, Whit, and The Business are too normal and Canal Dreams is nasty without any bite. Never tried Espedair Street for obvious reasons. 
Stuff Wot I Like 
'Only Forward' by Michael Marshall Smith is one of my favourite books, I must have read that 4-5 times at least... quirky, lots of humour, and its one of the few books I've found genuinely moving. Unfortunately that author's later books weren't anywhere near as good as his first (Only Forward). Still worth a read, though.

Dean Koontz... this guy used to write fairly average horror/thriller type novels earlier on in his career (not bad, but not exactly remarkable). He sure learned from experience though, because most of his recent work is so well written that its just not funny. My favourites would have to be 'Sieze the Night' and 'Fear Nothing' (they go together).

Elek, I'm a bit of a Stephen King fan too, and I read through all 1100 pages (or is it more?) of 'The Stand', and still wanted more. Great stuff. He (King) kind of lost the plot for a while there, but his recent stuff is quite good. He does really good characters/dialogue I think! I really liked 'Desperation'... tak!

A few people mentioned Ian Banks... I've read a few of his (Inversions, I can recall, at least), and they were quite good. I tried to read 'Player of Games' and couldn't get into it though... I'll have to try again, as I see several recommendations for it here.

Dan Simmons - almost anything by him is gold.

I'm currently reading a new sci-fi novel called Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan... his first novel, apparently. When I saw it in the bookstore, I figured that if it had the whole back cover and the first 3 pages of the book devoted to quotes about how brilliant the novel was, I figured it almost had to be worth a read. And it is quite good, perhaps not as spectacularly awesome as the quotes would have you believe, but I've been compelled to read it whenever I get the chance and have raced through it much faster than most books I've read recently, so its certainly worth a recommendation. 
Can't believe I forgot Clive Barker! I've liked everything of his that I have read, 'Weaveworld' is the first that springs to mind, though.

Douglas Adams, well, that goes without saying... I loved the Hitchiker's Guide and Dirk Gently books, I steadfastly refuse to even look at the 'book' they released after his death though...

Eh, who is the guy who wrote the medieval books about Sparhawk? The Diamond Throne, etc... oh yes, David Eddings? I've only read the Diamond Throne series, haven't looked at the Belgarath stuff and the rest.

I've got to try to pick up 'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes (I think). I read the short story and I really enjoyed it, apparently it was turned into a full novel later on though, so I'll have to check it out. 
Books Are TimeMachines 
It wasn't a book, it was a cartoonstrip of Francois Bourgeron, six beautifull drawn
artworks called "The Children Of The Wind"
He received a price for it, as being the best drawn artbook of the year 1998.
It was a very strange reckognizing "The Ebony
Fortress" as being a real slave forth.
In this book I found the map for the boat I tried to build in Quake.
But reading books, Poe made me feel as falling in my own imagination, as for 2001 and 1984.
There is a kind of reminesance with the work of
Cortazar's "Rayuelah" and the episodical thing in Computergames.He made lots of ScienceFiction what seems as so, but in his own land Argentinia maybe wasn't so fiction. 
Sorry, can't help it. When arives
"The Totally Manual for Quake1 Making" 
UOW [especially] and AGADB are the books i connected with the characters the most, out of his SF stuff. They seem the most "emotional" and "human", to me.

UOW is a masterpiece, its one of those science-fiction works that "transcends its genre" [sounds like marketing blurb on the back cover!], to simply stand as a superb book in any terms. 
Rant Moan Whinge. 
UOW - bored me.

Dan Simmons - Hyperion series promised much and only delivered tedious over-poetic bollocks.

Altered Carbon - I looked at many times but ultra-trendy cyber-sf is all style and no substance.

Clive Barker - was great esp. Weaveworld....but just got too arty and plain GAY.

David Eddings - is good basic lite fantasy for kids and teenagers but it definitely lacks bite. Unfortunately his books all repeat pretty much the same theme and characters. 
Well Clive Barker Is Gay Though, Literally 
although im yet to read his stuff... i didnt know he was gay until he appeared on real time with bill maher.

i havent read any douglas adams yet (although i did by hitchikers guide, its planned summer reading) but i have read Starship Titanic, a book he cowrote with... gah, i forget his name, he was in monty python, but it was hilarious and very enjoyable. 
Terry Jones 
That was the feller, I believe. Though why he insisted on writing it in the nude escapes me. 
Lord Of The Rings 
I decided to read it when I heard about the success of the movie. The LOTR trilogy is a great story, a real masterpiece of fantasy genre. Maybe it's a bit like a tale but it's all the way great stuff IMO.
Haven't read other Tolkien's books yet but I think I'll do it.

And after reading the book this movie seemed too shortened and less athmospheric to me.

Does anyone else like Tolkien's books and can recommend me something else to read in a such style? 
Some Books I Have Read (a Partial List) 
Crap i have 18 david eddings books... both belgarath series (5 books each), then the two side-books told from the wizard's perspectives (Belgarath and Polgara), then both parts of the Diamond Throne series (3 books each). I read all of them and enjoyed them back in my middle school days, but I doubt I'd get much out of them now.

A few years ago I was majorly into Isaac Asimov... the Foundation series of books is great, still amazing after 50 years. Read the original trilogy first, then get the newer additions (Prelude to Foundation, Foward the Foundation, Foundation's Edge, & Foundation and Earth). I think Forward the foundation was the last one wrote, but one of the best.

There's also Asimov's robot-themed short stories, of which there are several collections. Interesting and thought-provoking, but they don't have the same epic scale.

Neil Stephenson is great too, definitely some of the best cyberpunk since Gibson. Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon: I recommend them all (and apparently he has a new book coming out at some point too).

Oh and Robert Heinlein... I read Starship Troopers a few years back, another classic; don't be turned off if you've only seen the movie, the book is nothing like it. I have Stranger in a Strange Land too... so many good books, so little time. ;)

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game. Great book. Seems most people read this when they were younger but I never got around to it until just this year. I'm not sure if I wanna read the sequels though, seems it might spoil it a bit.

And of course there is JRR Tolkien... I enjoy the more esoteric material (Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, etc) as much as his main 4 books. Though I think I'm gonna have to re-read the trilogy sometime soon, the movies just haven't sat well with me. Tolkien's writing is just way too intricate and personal to me for any movie adaptation to be sufficient. Sure, they did a great job... but why must every great piece of literature be transcribed into digestable movie form? Why not just... read the real thing, for fuck's sake.

Sorry... rant over.

Lastly, my to-read list... James Clavell - Shogun, and then some anarchist philosophy if I can find the time... Hakim Bey or Noam Chomsky or somebody like that. 
Re: Ender's Game 
the sequels are okay, but don't approach the first book's goodness. 
Graphic Novel 
The Crow
It's in print again.
Get it. 
did you ever read the cross over novel between Asimov's Robot and Foundation sagas? 
Just read some Philip Dick for the first time. Very nice! It's true oldskool sci-fi indeed. 
Possibly... I've only read the first book of the Robot trilogy proper, which i don't think made that connection. Though I do recall some robots in Prelude to Foundation.... or is there another book you speak of? 
Phillip K Dick 
When I'm king, everyone will be made to read PKD. If you're at all into sci-fi, grab any of his middle-period books (1962 - 1974), or one of the last two volumes of short stories.

There isn't a single one of those books that I haven't enjoyed, and most are among the best I've ever read. 'Faith of our Fathers' is definitely the best (and scariest) short story I've seen. Go on. . Shoo.

Finished lately:

* Ursula K Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness

Interesting Dune-y examination-of-an-alien-culture type book. Slow and serious, but strong writing and very thought-provoking (if you don't mind thinking about hermaphrodites, anyway).

* Albert Camus - The Outsider

Most of it goes over my head, but still a good read. Would probably be called 'intense'. Read it on the beach. 
Read it on the beach.

Yeah, that would be like reading Tolkien in the woods. Or Poe in a graveyard. 
u are teh rok

i'm gonna seek for more PKD books fo sure after i just finished reading some of his stuff. this author deserves closer attention indeed.

when you're king i hope to be your main minister ;) 
for world domination 
I'm trying, I'm trying
Incredible Worlds 
Solaris - Stanislaw Lem
Strange novell about an astronaut, who's wife has died, when he went into space.
The planet Solaris has a strange, psygological influence on its "costumors"
Then the astronaut starts to hallucinate that his wife is still alive on the ship.
Have read it some decinea ago, but remembered it again, when I was loneley for a time.

Now they are making a movie from it, and in some time, just as LOR, will become famous.
(Am I wrong, when I thought that Tolkien was asked to give his LOR as plan for Quake1? The "sigil" sure looks as its elfen writing." 
I Actually Liked "From A Buick 8" 
Now, remember I suffer from this wierd allergy to anything heavily hyped. I avoid it, even if it's good (as Borsato could attest, concerning Fight Club.)

Anyway, I actually liked Stephen King's From a Buick 8 more than Whitley "Aliens Like Me Too Much" Strieber's The Forbidden Zone. For one thing, the Object is never explained; you see what it looks like, you know where the Object is, you're shown what the Object does, but never why. Not even to the industry standard outsider (Ned.) 
PKD Is God (or VALIS) 
Michael Moorcock is his only begotten son. 
There Was A Movie Version Of Solaris A Long Time Ago 
just that they made a hollywood version recently 
Small List Of Favorites 
Gene Wolfe, The Death of Doctor Island, and Other Stories
Samual Delany, Nova
Hermann Hesse, Demian
L. Neil Smith, The Probabilaty Broach
Richard Farina, Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light
Thomas Disch, Camp Concentration,
Jorge Borges and Theodore Sturgeon for their short stories

Above derived from just looking around my study at the books that were memorable reads. I have read a lot of fantasy, but other than Zelazny, not much of it has sticken me as being memorable. Serious lit wise, I pick up Don Dillilo, Thomas Pynchon and J G Ballard works to read on occasion; though they have their moments their fiction is wildly uneven. That is the most basic problem with non-commercial literary works in general, no sense of pacing.

I should also add Joseph Conrad's Nostromo to my list of favorites. 
Small List Of Favorites 
Gene Wolfe, The Death of Doctor Island, and Other Stories
Samual Delany, Nova
Hermann Hesse, Demian
L. Neil Smith, The Probabilaty Broach
Richard Farina, Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light
Thomas Disch, Camp Concentration,
Jorge Borges and Theodore Sturgeon for their short stories

Above derived from just looking around my study at the books that were memorable reads. I have read a lot of fantasy, but other than Zelazny, not much of it has sticken me as being memorable. Serious lit wise, I pick up Don Dillilo, Thomas Pynchon and J G Ballard works to read on occasion; though they have their moments their fiction is wildly uneven. That is the most basic problem with non-commercial literary works in general, no sense of pacing.

I should also add Joseph Conrad's Nostromo to my list of favorites. 
Love Me. 
Electric Jesus Corpse by Carlton Mellick III and The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte and Dochists, by unknown. :( 
A Couple 
Or possibly 6, anyway the LOTR books and The Chronicals Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever. 
What I Like 
I have a fairly good sized collection of those paperback anthologies of horror shorts. Dark Masques, Shadows, Whispers, The Year's Best Horror Sories, Book of the Dead, The Pan Book of Horror Stories, etc. Most are from the 80's but I cover many decades including the gothic times. It doesn't display much literary sophistication on my part but the variety and imagination shown in these books is excellent. Many of the writers who contibute are hobby or semi-professional writers although these books almost always have some Stephan King, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury etc. to spice to cover print. I find a lot more fun horror reads in shorts then I do in Novels. I get my books used. 
Plz Come In Vondur...and Other Russian Guys... 
Well I intend to buy a russian edition of "The Brothers Karamazov", do you know which edition is best and what's the price?

Wheel Of Time/fantasy Types 
For those of you who love magic and elfs and shit...

Steve Erickson series is remarkably well written. Don't be fooled by the lame covers and typical font.
the first one is 'Gardens of the Moon' 
i know only one edition. usual.
i dunno about foreign editions. 
Fantasy Covers 
Most of them are so lame/cheesy they scare you off even though there might be good books hiding behind them. 
it isn't generic sword and sorcery, in which case it probably doens't have a generic cover. 
Big-titted She-warriors Wearing Nothing But Nipple Armour 
and a bear-skin thong. Probably a badly-drawn dragon in there somewhere. And a lens flare.

That's the impression I get from most generic fantasy art, anyway. 
You forget the unnaturally over-muscled barbarian wearing nothing but a loin cloth and a scarily large sword 
Bulletproof Nudity 
It's a staple of any fantasy world. 
Cool Pushplay 
"Bulletproof Nudity" is an awesome phrase, and I shall endeavour to use it more often in conversation. 
This Board... 
... is full of fantastic phrases I can't think of any way to use in any other context. 
what's the price? 
Roald Dahl 
KISS KISS ( a series of macabre short stories he wrote before moving on to childrens books)

oh and his kids books are good aswell. 
what's the price 
At The Local College Bookshop 
Foreign Language large frame paper backs run 12 to 20 US Dollars.

It isn't a good idea to taunt the Grand Inquisitioner ;) 
that price is not too bad 
[deleted by metlslime] 
Eh... to bump an old thread, but this is important.

Read all the Stanislaw Lem you can get your hands on. He is the genius.

(although there's some crap in the early production, maybe he had to write a couple novels of soviet propaganda to get the censors to relax while he published the _real_ writings)

Believe me, I've read a lot of scifi like heinlein, clarke, bear, vance, hoyle, le guin, dick, isom�ki, you name it.

I find Lem's "best" ones to be the tales of robots, like the short stories in Cyberiad (cyberias/kyberiad whatever it's translated in your language). They are both hilarious, cruel and extremely serious and philosophical at the same time.

All kinds of machines doing the strangest things. There are strange planets and kingdoms ... the speed is staggering and you feel like you've been on an intellectual highway after reading.

Last I read a short story about a cruel king who put uranium headsets on all his people (well, robots) so they couldn't gather around for a coup or the uranium would reach criticality and they'd blow up. But then, an... , well you can read it yourself. 
Resurrect This Shit Homie! 
Read a little while ago:

Anselm Audley - Aquasilva Trilogy - (Fantasy) interesting idea, good setting, and an interesting political background, but too tedious overall, too much wittering on about politics and stuff, too much purposeless dialogue, and too little revelling in the curious world it's set it.

Iain Banks - Dead Air - (Real world) very down to earth, none of his earlier weirdness, a straight up semi-thriller sort of thing, but worth a read. Very well written as usual, plenty of sharpness, and actually captures the vibe of some aspects of modern Britain really well without descending into parody. Recommended

Stephen King - The Gunslinger - (Fantasy-ish) a good example of how horror writers can't write for shit. Starts of well with a strong alternate Wild West atmosphere, and descents into an incomprehensible journey full of lots of things that are named as if you should know about them and give no reason for you to care less about them. A pity as initially there seemed to be a chance I'd continue the series - not any more.

Tricia Sullivan - Maul - (Cyberpunk) might be good if you like this sort of thing, all annoyingly trendy exaggerations of what the world might be like in the future. Compared to her previous, more gripping (and more sci-fi themed) works, this is too much fashion and too little substance.

Robert Charles Wilson - The Chronoliths - (Sci-fi) another gem from this author, based on a premise that sounds quite brash and fantastical, it's actually executed quite subtly, with understated (rather than Hollywood-esque) writing and a nice twist. Recommended 
And Part Two... 
Read recently:

Ian Irvine - The Well Of Echoes series (Geomancer, Alchymist, Tetrarch, and awaiting Chimaera) -

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It appears I hit "Submit" instead of "Preview". Damn metl needs to iron these bugs (i.e. user stupidity) out... 
And Part Two (part Two)... 
Read recently:

Ian Irvine - The Well Of Echoes series (Geomancer, Alchymist, Tetrarch, and awaiting Chimaera) - (Fantasy) one of the best fantasy series I've read for a long time. Despite a few non-sequitors, this is gripping stuff, with a strong background, plenty of depth and various threads, and quite a dark and bleak feel to it. Good characters too, who are never the typical shining heroes of some fantasy. Well recommended

Ian Graham - Monument - (Fantasy) simple, brutal fantasy, that similarly to Irvine's work has a bleak feel to it. The back cover introduction is very enticing, but the book doesn't quite live up to the promise of it's anti-hero - a bit heavy on the violence and a bit light on the moral depths it sometimes explores. Still pretty good though.

Adam Roberts - Stone
Adam Roberts - Polystom - (Sci-fi / Unreal fiction) Roberts is getting better and better, these books share the bleak, surreal vibes and originality of his earlier books but are notably more purposeful and intriguing. Atypical sci-fi that lacks the standard spaceships and computers and technology focus, and should go down well with fans of the subtleties of Iain M Banks and Christopher Priest. Recommended

Currently reading:

Liz Williams - The Poison Master - (Fantasy) fantasy with a different flava and somewhat of a sci-fi background. Interesting setting that could prove quite inspiring for you mapping sorts. However I'm finding the story flits around a little. Will be interesting to see how it all pans out...

Currently waiting for the softback versions of:

Iain M Banks - Alchemist

Adam Roberts - The Snow

China Meiville - Iron Council

Alastair Reynolds - ???

...and something else I've forgotten 
Masters of Doom, ISBN: 0375505245
Details the start and rise of id Software, the notoriety their games such as Doom, up through Quake and Doom 3. It also digs into some key people in id Software such as John Carmack, John Romero, etc. An insightful, thus worthwhile, read.

Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, The Original Psycho, ISBN: 0671025465
A detailed and riveting look into the notorious and falsely labeled "serial killer", Ed Gein - Wisconsin necrophiliac "ghoul" of the 1950's, who served as the inspiration for such films as Silence of The Lambs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From Ed's strict religious childhood one may find themselves sympathetic, as it enlightens the reasons as to Ed's future derangement and loneliness. The book also features various photos, from crime scenes and victims, to Ed himself and other people. Also features some transcripts from interviews with Ed.

Jokes To Go, ISBN: 0740738992
Full of jokes, standup routines and one liners on a variety of topics from A - Z from classic comedians to edgier and modern comedians. Always a good laugh to be found throughout.

Stephen King: Night Shift, ISBN: 0451170113
A compilation of Stephen King horror, mystery and thriller stories such as "The Mangler", "Gray Matter", "Trucks" and "Children Of The Corn". A good read for a long trip or a moment before bed.

Stephen King: Nightmares & Dreamscapes, ISBN: 0451180232
Another King compilation, this time featuring stories such as "Night Flier", "Dolan's Cadillac", "The Moving Finger" and even an essay about kids and baseball, "Head Down".

Mountain Bike Emergency Repair, ISBN: 0898864224
A small, portable and to-the-point, very helpful guide to mountain bike troubleshooting and repair - whether with tools, or interim solutions (such as fixing a broken chain link with a zip-tie). If you moutain bike, you need this book.

Ancient Wisdom, Timeless Truths- Immortal Philosophers discuss the meaning of life, ISBN: 0760740542
A small book full of wisdom and philosophy bits. A perfect, timeless and thought provoking gift.

The Crow, ISBN: 0878162216
The moving and deeply tragic, yet beautiful graphic novel inspired by the death of the author's young wife. This graphic novel also inspired The Crow film(s), where actor Brandon Lee tragically lost his life after a scene gone wrong. A violent but thoughtful experience and read inspired by music such as The Cure and Joy Division, and the gothic subculture and dark classic poetry of such as Edgar Allan Poe. This particular book is out of print, instead get the re-issue:

The Crow: Dead Time, ISBN: 0878165479
Another Crow graphic novel, but from 1997. Written by James O'Barr, creator of The Crow legacy and original graphic novel, and illustrated by Alexander Maleev. This story follows the unjust death of a Native American hundreds of years ago, ressurrected present day pitting revenge against modern-day reincarnations of his murderers.

Total Piano, ISBN: 1586637029
A very well done book to learn the basics of piano, and reading and playing from notated music, with several examples of time-withstood and classical songs. I've had it for 2 years and am still afraid to read it.

The Collected Tales And Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ISBN: 0679600078
Full of many of Poe's stories and poems from "The Raven" and "Lenore" to "The Masque Of The Red Death" and "The Murders In Rue Morgue". An excellent and full compilation spanning over 1000 pages. 
My List Lately 
obviously edgar allen poe.
anything by: David foster wallace, Vonnegut.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret atwood
An amazing book called "Cloud Atlas" by an author whose name eludes me.
Ronald Wright - a brief history of time. read it on a bus. very fascinating study of human civilisation and its marginal sustainability.
tom robbins, especially skinny legs and all. Lolita. Lord of flies, of course. etc. 
A Deadly Serial Killer Says It's Time To Play 
David Baldacci - hour game (ISBN 0-330-41173-X) 722 pages, Thriller/Crime
I read about 500p so far.

Total crap:
1) The characters have approximately 0.1172 depth and when they have, it's EXACTLY what you'd expect. The one character i could remotely relate to was killed early.
I have to do this in bullet points:
a) One char has some theory
b) Your next thought is: "What the fuck! This is complete and uttermost bullshit!"
c) the next sentence is "hm, interesting theory!"
d) the next chapter is when it all comes through (for no specific reason other than that the author couldn't think of a better plot)
3) It reads like a screenplay; In a way that it doesn't describe the environment or characters in a sufficient way. This would be interesting for a shortstory, though.
4) The plot was actually interesting at the beginning (now there hasn't anything happened for dozens/hundreds of pages besides a few more killings )
5) Language isn't all THAT bad - for a non-native english reader at least (yes, I read it on english). Way better than the worst book ive ever read in that regard: Crichton's Timeline(?).
6) like most English books, it suffers from having not enough margin at the inner sides, so it becomes kind of a pain to read it.

3/10 for effort

ps. i have to mention that i got this as a present, thus having no influence on the selection. 
In Soviet Russia, Book Reads You! 
I am really not a huge fiction reader, the most of my fiction reading falling into either sci-fi stories (like Asimov) or Fantasy/Medieval stories (such as Deathgate Cycle)

As for my other reading, I enjoy history, especially about the Cold War. Soviet Russia was quite an interesting establishment I must say. 
Deathgate Cycle 
I remember picking up the first book of that series and enjoying the story about an assassin who is caught and nearly killed by townfolk only to be saved for the purpose of carrying out a quest.
I was really into it and then suddenly it jerks you out of that story into a realy stupid one about a tinker dwarf couple and their Goddamned cutesy story of domestic tranquility.

Bbrrrr . . . 
Comic Books 
So it might be nice to be able to download comic books in digital form and slap 'em on a USB drive so I can take them with me and read them while I'm on campus and bored. Now, assuming I don't want to rip off talented artists by downloading scanned comics, does anyone know/recommend a legitimate service? 
...reccomending Good Reads? 
Here�s my picks;

The HP Lovecraft Omnibus, (trilogy) can be difficult to get hold of, try old bookshops.

Iain M Banks Culture Sci-fi series, Just avoid Against a Dark Background (pointless shite) the best ones being (in this order) Use of Weapons, Excession and Look to Windward.

The Games Workshop short story collections are pretty good, though they vary greatly in quality, my favourite specifically and overall was The laughter of Dark Gods.

The later gamebooks from the Virtual Reality Adventure series; Heart of Ice and Necklace of Skulls (post-apocalyptic Sci-fi and Aztec mythological, respectivly) were good reads. The earliers were hit and miss, mostly miss.

Iain Rankin for crime writing (Rebus) - haven�t read them all yet but I�ve yet to be dissapointed, though the style seems to be maturing into more solid and stronger writing.

Terry Practchet - fantasy / humour. I�ve read all the Discworld series, at least and they�re literary genius. The last I read was Going Postal, the sheer moral impetous of the work moving it away from fantasy with jokes. Either start at the start of the series and read forward, or at the present and read back.

As to older books try hunting for Everyman�s Library short story additions - these were what people did on the train before MP3 or the pulp novel (which is what I�d call 75% of modern fiction). Condensed, entertaining and creative. 
by Iain M Banks Alchemist do you mean Algebraist? Or Paulo Coelho?

also, the TeamShambler Archives are quite a good read as well :) 
Thread Ressurection! 
So I haven't been reading much lately.

I finished Cloud Atlas a while ago. That was fun -- multiple stories, written in different genres, but all loosely related. The structure is interesting, and the writing is fun to read (one reviewer compared him to Nabokov, and maybe that's overstatement, but I did enjoy the prose in the same way I enjoyed Lolita's.)

Now working on Shadow of the Wind, which I've had trouble staying interested in, but is moderately interesting. I'll hold off on a final judgement until I finish it. 
I think I got recommended Cloud Atlas recently. 
Close to done with World War Z, An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Quite an entertaining little book, even if you're not a fan of zombies (let's face it, of course you are.) It's a collection of stories from people from all over the world who survived the zombie holocaust that engulfed earth for ~15-20 years. Lots of different stories, and they cover the early outbreaks to the main swarms of zombies covering earth to victory.

A really intelligent (I thought so anyway) read, lots of variety in the stories and very good pacing. Recommended. 
That sounds rather good actually. I do like "contemporary" twists on horror stories, because let's face it, most horror is generic, purposeless, cliched, badly written shite - despite the potential the genre has.

I read I Am Legend a while back, that was rather cool. 
I was wondering if anyone had read Cloud Atlas as I was skimming through this page. I read it last summer and thought it was quite good. I found it hard to get through sometimes; in most of the sections there's an overwhelming feeling of civilization driving itself in to the ground.

I was also introduced to Lovecraft from reading this forum, and I finally read some: The Rats in the Walls, The Dunwich Horror, and a few other short stories. My favorite so far has been the first half of At the Mountains of Madness; it was really awesome. I loved the description of the airplane approaching the mountains, and the main character beginning to see the ancient fortresses. 
Mignola Strikes Again 
Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser comic book adaptation by Mike Mignola (Hellboy, BPRD.) Story about two thieves (one big Norsey kinda guy, and a grayer, mousier one) who lose their girl friends and go on crazy adventures together afterwards. Pretty good if you like those 70s-ish fantasy novel type stories, where people have crazy names and wizards/sorcerers/interdminsional merchants selling trash to take over the world/thieves are commonplace. Y'know, the type of stuff Mignola is good at. It doesn't have the type of universal conspiracy feel Hellboy's got, but if you like Mignola you should probably read this. 
Lawrence Block 
just rereading the scudder series - so fucking brilliant (for a crime novel, anyways) - i just love the style. 
Christopher Priest.

You guys need to read his stuff, both his sci-fi and contemporary fiction. Intriguing concepts, gripping ideas, nicely peaceful writing style. Can't do any wrong so far. 
Rewind Selecta. 
1. Fuck Harry Potter.

2. Fuck Terry Pratchett.

3. There's a lot of fucking better fantasy out there.

Okay, a couple of replies needed:

HeadThump - DeathGate Cycle - did you stick with it??

I remember picking up the first book of that series and enjoying the story about an assassin who is caught and nearly killed by townfolk only to be saved for the purpose of carrying out a quest.
I was really into it and then suddenly it jerks you out of that story into a realy stupid one about a tinker dwarf couple and their Goddamned cutesy story of domestic tranquility.

Basically none of those are the actual story. The scope of the series is far bigger than that. There is a larger overriding meta-plot and then lots of events (like the two you described) relating to that, across various different worlds. Some of them are quite light and jolly, some of them are pretty dark and bleak. It may be worth sticking with it.

Zwiffle - World War Z - I finished reading that recently...

A really intelligent (I thought so anyway) read, lots of variety in the stories and very good pacing. Recommended.

I agree entirely with that. It is a modern classic and could do a great job of dragging the zombie genre out of cliched cheese and into contemporary culture. I personally liked that the vibe was as much "apocalypse" as it was "horror".

And finally.

Currently reading: China Meiville - Iron Council. Good so far, not sure why, it's just a good intriguing, well written book. 
I Have 
HeadThump - DeathGate Cycle - did you stick with it??

I have read it up to Serpent Mage, and I believe that leaves me with two more to complete, and I'm glad I have stuck with it so far. There are far more things I like about the cycle so far than the annoying aspects that bring it down a little bit. 
Have you read the Zombie Survival Guide or whatever its called, also by the World War Z author? I haven't read it, just wondered if you could give input on it. 
HT: Cool.

Zwiff: Not yet but might well do. 
Yeah Deathgate Cycle is pretty nice, I read it quite a while ago (I was a silly kid) so I can't really be objective about it, but I loved it back then (was my favorite series with Zelazny's Amber books).

About Meiville, even though I liked Iron Council, it didn't quite grab me as much as Perdido Street Station and The Scar (The Scar still being my favourite of his). I read some of his short stories in Looking for Jake, some nice ideas in that.

Still catching up on my K. Dick these days, last one being Valis, which was just pretty fucked up, but interesting.

Quite enjoyed Light and Nova Swing from M. John Harrison recently, some very strange stuff, but very intriguing.

Waiting for Amazon to send me latest Iain Banks, Richard Morgan, and Alastair Reynold books, gimme! 
To Be Honest. 
Perdido St Station and The Scar are going to take some beating!! 
I Read TheAmber Series 
and loved it as a kid, about ten years of age, I would guess, too. My brother is several years older than I am, and I relied on him to supply my Science Fiction/Fantasy fix. Hundreds of those old paper backs still lie around our houses.

First HorseLover Fat book I read was Martian Time Slip about at the same time. 
Yeah, first PKD book I read was Martian Time Slip too, didn't really like it at the time, and let a couple years pass before I gave him another try with A Scanner Darkly (wanted to read it before seeing the movie), and Man in the High Castle, both of which I quite enjoyed. 
so I havent really read much over the last 7-8 years (no real reason, just stopped) but during my holiday I did read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Apocalypse Now has always been one of my favorite movies and I was looking forward to this for a long time, but it simply blew me away. The level of writing involved here is so much better than your average good book, it's amazing that its only 120 or so pages long because it feels a lot more dense and packed.

Its also no wonder that it took Coppola so much trouble to adapt it because it is definitely something that is very difficult t adapt well.

Bottom line - I was very very impressed. 
Visited A Bookstore 
and wandered up and down the fiction/literature aisles trying to remember who wrote One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and wound up picking up two other books before I spotted it, Closing Time (the sequel to catch 22 which I'm currently reading for the 3rd time) and a new William Gibson novel called Spook Country.

I found Pattern Recognition, Gibson's last effort, to be full of his usual cool ideas and wary take on technology, but with an ending that didn't really do more than cushion the reader from smacking suddenly into the back cover once he'd run out of writing, like stopping short at a traffic light. I read Nest in high school and it stuck with me more than the other books in the curriculum, so I'm going to retrace it now that I'm smart enough to think as analytically as I was expected too back then.

I want to read Nostromo, also, but I was already carrying three books at that point. 
'IT' Was The Best And Last Book I Ever Read 
The only thing I read since then was Mr Nice, the autobiography of Howard Marks, cause I was on holiday. 
Recent Read... 
Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire

by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Was a quick, easy read featuring several short horror/myth stories wound together with a Victorian children's tale and a man seeking serious revenge on a Vampire. Even without Mignola's art accompaniment, it generates a lot of vivid mental imagery and would make an excellent movie. It has an odd little ending too.

One wooden leg up :) 
Iain Banks 
I picked up that "watch the windward side" or whatever it was, of the Culture series from 2000.
It was mostly talking heads in very elaborate set pieces, but there were some nice things like the different personalities of the various species and individuals, robots and minds.
But what bothered me was that the environments were not relevant to the story in much any way and didn't affect the plot mechanics much. It was almost as if I had read a product placement advertisement brochure (for Masaqi for example, you'll know if you read the book).

I actually think it borders pulp fantasy like Eddings, of which I've read two thirds of a series (two books) ten years ago.

*spoiler* The lack of plot mechanics and existence of fantasy-like omnipotent benevolent creatures etc etc leave little space for the story as you know not that much interesting happens to the good guys... *spoiler* 
Use of weapons, the second in the series, or the Algebraist, the most recent. Excession is also pretty good, but hard to follow.

Look to Windward is one of the weaker ones and don't touch Against a Dark Background. 
Excession might be hard to follow but you should read it through a couple more times anyway, so don't worry about that!

Well, Look to Windward is one of my fav from him actually, but it's pretty pointless reading it if you haven't read Consider Phlebas, and at least a few other culture books, as it was kind of meant as a conclusion to the culture series (even though it seems he'll be writing at least another one).
Comparing Banks to Eddings? ugh... 
Well, (spoilers) 
I haven't read the rest of the Culture series, so I might miss something, but the comparisons to Eddings are well founded when you look at this book alone. It's not as bad but has many elements to that direction.

I read some Eddings book (well, two of three) with a guy called Sparhawk fighting some evil empire. Don't remember the name of it anymore.

1) The good guys are in practice invulnerable. They most of the time have numerous fallbacks and god-like sidekicks that take care of everything. There is never any real danger to the main characters. If it was fantasy, it would be some elves, spirits and sages.
If someone dies, he/she can just be revived.
The only exception was the immediate start, and even that was not a real character but more of just a motivation.

2) The bad guys are hopelessly outdated and stupid in their backwards culture and ways.

3) There are lots of elaborate set pieces where some characters constantly move. For example every time we had Ziller or Kabe, they were at some sightseeing place doing something pointless and the real plot mechanic was just something they talked about. Maybe these sets are used in other books but here they just serve no purpose whatsoever. I almost skipped over the long descriptions of floating trees or flying women or cable tracks in a desert or hunting in a forest or the glass walkways of Aquime or the intricate shapes on a floating megacreature's back or... . Completely useless, and they must have filled one third of the book's considerable length. Why did Quilan even have to go to that gas world for that meeting? I mean, it's almost south park like, maybe there is a secret headquarters of some evil organization in the head of the statue of liberty, just because it's a fun set piece?
I realize part of this was done to show the beauty of Masaqi so you'd care for its destruction, and that partly worked, but it could have been done in some other way like following the life of some more everyday people.

4) The "comical" situations where mishaps happen and people joke about in good spirit. They are in it just for fun. There is no real danger because of magic, often this involves mixing very old and ultramodern technology in a contrived way. The most obvious was the desert cable car trip thing. But there were lots of others too.

I'll read more of him to get a fairer view. 
That's why it's not my favourite - it kind of wanders off into describing things that he'd wanted to include in other books. Really its more like a collection of short stories with one narrative holding it all together.

It was the same in the worst he's written, as I mentioned before, Against a Dark Background. Not really bad but its just a bunch of cool ideas with a fairly weak plot holding it all together. I'dve preferred a collection of short stories, tbh.

The ones that are well written are excellent though. A strong narrative that really drives the story forward, at times there are still the descriptions of complicated stuff, but they never overshadow the story (they're almost overshadowed by it) and feel right, not coercive or just dropped in there for the sake of it.

I agree - what the hell did that oskendari (?) Airsphere have to do with anything? It nearly came off as a nice epilogue attachment, but didn't. 
Heart of Darkness is one of the best books I've ever read. It's such a good expression of the idea that everything is ultimately descended from, and indeed an expression of, primitive savagery.

To me it seemed really Darwinian, Conrad somehow had a better grasp of the subject than plenty of educated people today do, but he was writing in a time that was still early enough in the history of the idea for him to be shocked by it and find it dark and disturbing.

When Coppola was having difficulty adapting the book, with Apocalpyse Now going way over budget and him having too much material filmed, he referred to it (or maybe the filming process of it) as "The Idiodicy" (as opposed to The Odyssey, which the screenwriter said was another influence - the playboy bunnies were the sirens, that little dog was Cerberus, etc). I always found that amusing. 
I Never 
Connected the two as being linked, but I can see it now. I found the book hard work to be honest, but can't put my finger on why. 
Bit of a fanboy, I think I've read everything of his but Dead Air... his earlier stuff is better and nastier though. Consider Phlebas, Use Of Weapons, Complicity, The Wasp Factory... all worth reading.

I think often enjoy books as much for the imagination as the stories -- I really liked the airspheres and the gigabehemoths and so in in Look to Windward. They helped distract from the plot and the terrible ending at least :-) 
Heart Of Darkness 
Although one of the most challenging reads i have come across, i did find it very much worthwhile. Even wrote a paper on it for university, which i thought was rather poorly done, but the professor gave me an A, so i guess he liked it. 
agree with all that, specifically the second paragraph. That pretty much nails it I think, I've read it twice again since when I posted :)

It also helps that Conrad' use of language to express his ideas is absolutely fantastic. 
Kimmo Lehtonen - Yli Uusien Rantojen 
Finnish scifi. Probably not translated anywhere, a decent if uneven book, has impressing amount of imagination and breadth of details but the overarching story is a bit of a mess and there's some weird pathos. (Can't say exactly without spoilers but a lot about religion, science and the western world.)

But why am I writing about this for you, as most of you have no way to read it anyway?

Well, the writer is an open information and open source guy, his latest book is even available in the internet with a creative commons licence (titled Lueminut - which translates to Readme). I think that is an interesting way. I'm still wondering about the different profit models with internet. How can you create content and get some compensation without the whole convoluted publisher thing, marketing etc?

I also notice the book has some errors, which shows that the small publisher didn't do much editing. I've heard from a guy who works as an editor for a publisher how much editors actually shape the novelists' work. For example Stephen King uses always some same guy.

Interesting. There are probably guys or girls on func who have thought about penning something themselves.

As a side note, the most famous finnish scifi writer, Risto Isom�ki has a bit of a similar style: the plots and people can be somewhat corny at times but damn the visions are so grand and extraordinary, and that's what scifi is mostly about. I hope someone translated for example his latest, "Sarasvatin hiekkaa" to swedish, german, french or english. 
Trying To Track Something Down... 
trying to find a book i read ages ago... i think it *may* be Survivors by John Nahmlos, but there's not a single synopsis/summary on the entire internet to check and verify it's the book i'm looking for.

so... has anyone here read it? if you've got it, could you type out the back summary please? 
Revelation Space And Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? 
Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds - pretty good, lots of interesting ideas in here. Some unnecessary parts, and some characters seem tacked on to make the universe seem bigger or more complex than it is, or perhaps he is setting the story up for the later books. I can't be sure. There are only two complaints I have with this book, and they are :

1.) Bio-engineered assassin peacocks
2.) Perhaps I just don't read enough science fiction, but the author uses the phrase "of course" entirely too damn much - in the narration and in the character speech. All of the personality he tries to fill his characters with gets bled dry when they all use 'of course' like czg uses TF2-gay-porn web sites. (A whole lot.)

The story itself is not unlike that of Mass Effect - not the same thing, but very close to it. There's really not a lot of action, most of it is based around archeological evidence and so on, but it's a pretty intriguing read none the less. I'll be getting to Chasm City sooner or later, the 2nd book in the series.


Also, the ending was a bit cliche (giant boom that saves the day, the main characters survive, no big surprise if you read the book) when really he could have done something much more interesting and cliff-hangery. But whatever, the ride was fun.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick - This is just like Blade Runner - if Blade Runner were written by Douglas Adams. I mean I can see why the movie left out and changed a huge portion of the book, because the book is just plain silly in so many parts that I find it hard to believe Ridley Scott could have gotten the same mood if he left it in - the whole story line with the goat made me laugh out loud.

And really, while I understand the events happening in Electric Sheep, if there is any sort of moral or philosophical goal to get across, it's completely wasted on me because too damn much happens in a relatively short amount of time. The book is a breeze to read, but it really is all over the damn place. Rick Deckard changes moods like czg changes condoms while looking at TF2-gay-porn web sites. (A whole lot.)

It's completely possible that it's just a story about the times (1968 I believe) and more a social commentary, which would go over my head mostly. There seems to be a strong religious view point, as Wilbur Mercer would make a good parallel for Jesus Christ, but I can't find the others to fill in the metaphor or reap any kind of message from it other than that Jesus is fake and people are androids. Or something. I don't know.

Blade Runner = good
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? = what 
I Liked DADOES? 
just as much as i liked Blade Runner

tought me spiders can live with only 4 legs but they just dont feel like it 
Revelation Space 
Dude--a cliche ending? It was a fucking neutron star! And Chasm City is a side story. And, the rest of the series is awesome. SHIT MAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING 
Alastair Reynolds 
He gets better as he goes really, the characters in his earlier books like Revelation Space are a bit meh.

I thought Electric Sheep was great, but it's definitely got that very weirdo old-school sci-fi vibe that Dick quite alot of. 
I Read Some Peter F. Hamilton Recently 
I don't know why, I mostly spent the time (and it was a lot of it, that man writes bricks) thinking about what was wrong with it in detail. Oh well. 
Peter F. Hamilton 
I thought his newest stuff was quite good, the Whole Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained, and the new series, Dreaming Void etc. Definitely feels stronger than his older books. 
It Was Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained I Just Finished 
And yeah, it's not bad exactly, but it's not that good either...

I'm not sure what it is about his books I find so strange. I think they have a really odd dramatic structure -- he mostly seems to try for a massively detailed at least semi-plausible future history sort of thing but the way all the story arcs come together at the end gives it an echo of an epic tale like the Lord of the Rings, and the two really don't sit well together.

And of course they're far, far, far too long. These two books are about 2500 pages in total -- the same story less a few subplots in 800 pages might have been really good. 
Im Currently Reading A Book Called 
Volks Game

its alright 
Im Currently Reading A Book 
it's alright 
I Read A Book Once 
IBooks Vs Kindle 
So if you've seen the iPad stuff you know they have an iBooks store to go along with it. Quite intriguing. I remember a discussion about Kindle in some other thread, cba to find it, so I'm putting this here.

Any thoughts/opinions on iPad's iBooks vs Kindle? I wouldn't want to pay $200+ for an electronic personal library, but $500+ for a pretty neat laptop along with the electronic personal library sounds good.

But then when iPad comes out the price of the Kindle might drop to something pretty affordable as well, and really what good is a laptop if you can't play Crysis on it maxed out, amirite?

'Course, the iPad does have all that other stuff, so maybe it's not exactly fair to compare the two? 
Kindle is a different experience due to the e-ink screen. It's very different from reading off of an LCD screen like the iPad. It depends on whether or not you like reading on LCD screens. Reading forums and such is one thing but books are another. You're basically staring into a flashlight for hours.

The Kindle has the same eye strain as reading paper.

So if books are your primary concern, I would recommend a Kindle. But of course there are many shades of grey here. 
by China Mi�ville. A review:
I won't read the review as I hate spoilers but the first few lines piqued my interest. He/she is a lovecraft fan anyway. 
China Mieville. 
Yeah looking forward to Kraken. His last book was nice (the City and the City), but The Scar is still my favorite from him. 
Eh Wot? 
I didn't know he'd done anything since Iron Road. Someone update me. 
updates Shambler to version - --- already broken :( 
Any Kurzweilian Near-future Sci-fi 
that's interesting? 
/me googles kurzweilian 
Dark Tower 
i've never read this masterpiece before, but it got me totally. i'm in the middle of the fifth part - song of susannah and i can't stop reading. highly recommended. 
i liked the first 4 or 5 the most. by the end, the story felt like it was moving too far away from the original content. obviously, it's an epic story, so that's to be expected to an extent, but it would have as if all the swords were replaced with ducks in the third lotr book or something. 
just picked up 'a game of thrones' (first in the 'a song of ice and fire' series). only started, but it's solid so far. i'd venture to say it might be better than wheel of time, but i haven't read enough yet to be sure. 
Little Error 
i'm sorry - song of susannah is number six. stephen king is real king... his imagination has no limits. i've heard about plans to make a movie based on dark tower series. i'm afraid it will be disaster. 
i'm afraid it will be disaster.
i would be surprised if it wasn't.

honestly, the books are way too big to put on screen. some of the books would have to be split into two films themselves.

it might be possible to make an adaptation out the first book with bits of the second though. 
i'm afraid it will be disaster.
i would be surprised if it wasn't.

miracles sometimes happen :-) 
Anyone Ever Read "the Iron Heel"? 
it looks and sounds interesting, i'm just-a wondering. 
I think Song of Ice and Fire is way better than any Wheel of Time stuff, it's alot less cheesy and the characters are just much more interesting. Oh and it's not stealing 90% of it's content from other novels. 
well, good to know i've got a good book ahead of me then. 
I Tried To Read Stephen King. 
Struggled to get through the first book. Dunno what it is about him but really not an inspiring writer. 
I like Stephen King a lot but I never got into The Dark Tower. I'd recommend It or Salem's Lot from the top of my head. 
bans Zwiffle from this thread. 
If you're just going to suggest shitty books I don't want to be here anyway. 
I read A Game of Thrones last summer, and was intrigued by it enough to read A Clash of Kings this summer. Some aspects of both books and the universe they are set in annoyed me, but overall they were both pretty good, if a little too epic like most fantasy. Now I'm reading a book of Glen Cook's early short stories, that should be exactly the right antidote to "too epic-ness." 
on game of thrones,

i originally got the first book after a discussion with some random cashier dude at the local computer parts store...

he brought it up when i expressed my annoyance with wheel of time, and how about 75% of the characters are just plain unlikeable. it *is* possible to have likable villains after all.

game of thrones is filled with likable characters, or at least characters that you can understand why they are pieces of shit. from that point alone i would recommend the book because even if you don't really like the direction the story is heading in, you can at least root for almost all the characters. 
I've never read Wheel of Time but it seems like generic fantasy; I agree that Game of Thrones is more interesting than the genre average which seems to be largely character-free, the dwarf character for example (Tyrion) is awesome. 
yeah, wheel of time has some really great things. one of my favourite is the magic system. it's very scientific in that there's no inexplicable wand waving but instead concrete rules that the system functions on. it's thing like that they make me wish i could stand most of the characters behaving like complete and utter morons. 
So Yeah.. 
ass goblins. i'm totally insulting someone with that today. 
The Scar By China Mieville 
First book of China's that I've read, and I love his writing style. It's smooth and largely cliche free, sometimes bordering on poetry instead of prose.

The characters themselves are pretty interesting, there wasn't really a good guy but rather a bunch of anti-heroes with differing desires. They range from the mundane (Shekel) to the downright creepy and bizarre (The Lovers) with most everything in between (Kruach Aum or whatever his name was.)

The plot was alright, but I kind of wish it ended a little more ... resolutely than it did.

SPOILER - they ended up putting in all that effort (and thus most of the story) really for nothing, forfeiting their prize and the sacrifices they made when their goal was finally within reach. /SPOILER

I'm totally intrigued by all the places/people of Bas-Lag, and I'm pretty into China's writing style, so I think I will probably check out his other stuff as well. 
You're All 
Ass Goblins. 
shouldn't this maybe go in the drunk thread?
btw I thought it was ass pirates. shows how much I know about internet terminology. 
NOSE Goblins! 
Kurzweilian Near-future Sci-fi 
I read Accelerando by Charles Stross this past summer and found it quite enjoyable. It starts out something like a near future cyberpunk Neal Stephenson novel, but then, well, accelerates into something else entirely. Lots of speculation about where AIs, nanotech, transhumanism, etc might take us as a species. The writing is technical at times, which can be fun if you understand what Stross is talking about. (for instance, speculative discussion of futuristic routers, firewalls, and network protocols)

There is a sequel as well, called Glass House, that I have not read and I've heard that it doesn't really directly follow from the first book's story or tie up its loose ends. 
The Atrocity Archives & The Jennifer Morgue Are Fun Too 
I can't remember which else of his I've read, I read several in rapid succession and now they're all blurred in my memory :-)

Something I found strangely satisfying about the ministry stories is that the lead character's love life is important to the plot, but there's no contrived rom-com style stress between the two of them, 
Laundry, Not Ministry 
finished reading ringworld a few days ago.

i love scifi that makes humans caught in the machinations of another more ridiculously advanced species. 
Welcome to having good taste in books.

Get Perdido Street Station obviously. Iron Council is skippable.

The City And The City is completely unrelated but is great. 
Thanks, I've been here for a quite a while now. 
Currently reading" Our Enemy, The State" by Albert Jay Nock. 
What About 
Those silly statists. 
I Got Lent "Surface Detail" 
Iain M. Banks' latest. It's not exactly bad, but it's certainly not very good either. I read it on a 13 hour flight and it was fine for that purpose -- but I said the same thing about the A Team movie :-)

This review gets it about right: 
Against A Dark Background By Iain M Banks 
Stupid. Just awful. Avoid. 1/2 out of 10, would have gotten a 1/10 if Sharrow died at the end too. 
Uh Huh. 
Do you like books, Zwiffle?

If I was reading anything less than 3/10, I wouldn't even GET to the end... 
Read half way through, and I made a call. I could quit reading like I tend to do or force myself to finish it. I forced myself to finish it just to see if it would pick up pace or change or something. I can safely say Iain M Banks is a poop author. 
Player Of Games, Feersum Endjinn, Consider Phlebas, The Algebraist, State Of The Art etc etc 
Against a Dark Background is probably one of his weakest books in my opinion... 
Excession Was Banks' First Book I Read 
Found it incredibly shallow and irritating, with characters that really had no reason to be in the god damned book in the first place (you've been pregnant for 20 years because a man-slut CHEATED ON YOU??? Did you not see that coming you stupid bitch?), and unbearably annoying and unnecessary ship-format text. I also give it a 1/2 of 10. 
You fail at books! 
Banks Fails At Books 
A Few 
She is the Darkness by Glen Cook - still slowly working away at this 80s-90s fantasy series, The Black Company (which inspired bungie's 1997 game Myth: The Fallen Lords). It is awesome how obvious it is that Cook is writing _AMERICAN_ fantasy - based on Vietnam - confusion, cynicism, greed - rather than WW1 (Tolkien) or WW2 (most fantasy) with the good/evil/despair etc. Cook writes in a low register, it's all slang, people are sick, cynical, greedy, pock-marked, liars - most of the soliders are black - and there are lying priests EVERYWHERE. All of this anti-fantasy praised since that's what Cook, does, he could have done a lot better if he thought things out more carefully, but then that's the curse of genre fiction, quantity over quality.

The Ancestor's Tale by Dawkins - a crazily intense view of evolution, starting with modern humans and going back to the dawn of time. Slow reading for a layman but incredibly enlightening and interesting, and well-written and engaging. Some of the life-forms described in this book have never made it into popular consciousness (2-foot long sea scorpions, carnivorous kangaroos, jesus) and I wonder why.

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris - just started reading this, and it seems like his best book yet. I don't understand how anyone could disagree with this guy he has the clearest thinking and the most eloquent prose style I can think of. 
Art & Fear 
Just picked up Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, and so far it seems to be an amazing (and very wise) book on what it means to be an artist. Granted, level design isn't what most people think of when they think of art, but I think it qualifies, even though materials, modeling, etc. might be better examples. An excerpt:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the �quantity� group: fifty pounds of pots rated an �A�, forty pounds a �B�, and so on. Those being graded on �quality�, however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an �A�.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the �quantity� group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the �quality� group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
That's A Good Ass Quote 
The Risen Empire By Scott Westerfeld 
I liked it. Pretty fast read, both in pacing and that you can read it in an afternoon if you wanted to. Doesn't get bogged down in detail, and what detail is given is interesting and pertains to the story. My only real complaint is the over use of the phrase 'of course' which I abhor. (Alistair Reynollddddsss!!!! *shakes fist*) 
My only real complaint is the over use of the phrase i've noticed this a lot these days... every author seems to have some phrase that they like to write over and over and over again... :\
for god sakes, brandon sanderson kept writing 'In addition'... ffs, is this a WoW spell tooltip?!
or david weber as his damn 'like so many/much xxxxx' 
Anyone Know Murakami? 
I Want To Check Him Out 
based on reading some David Mitchell (cloud atlas, number9dream), who is supposed to have borrowed a lot from Murakami 
Darwinia By Robert Charles Wilson 
Overnight, the vast majority of Europe is replaced with alien wilderness in the early 1900s. As countries begin to explore and recolonize this new Europe, the story goes from the Finch Expedition to end of time to a final confrontation between the Archive and some galactic virus or something.

The only 'twist' in the book I didn't really accept was the one where it ended up as essentially Underworld - semi-immortal super-humans on side A face off against semi-immortal super-humans on side B in a covert war waged through the ages (though the build up of the 2nd half wasn't as gripping as the 1st half.)

I actually appreciated the explanation of what The Miracle was and how the entirety of Europe was replaced -

(SPOILER - A super galactic historical computer called the Archive which recreates history inside itself was attacked by super-complex viruses which invaded the Archive and tried to re-write things for its own purposes. /SPOILER)

- it seemed elegant enough an explanation and offered a lot of possibilities. I was expecting more of the 1900s exploration through alien wilderness story, it was sort of why I picked the book up in the first place. Kind of a shame it didn't continue down that path really, but I suppose the 2nd half of the book is alright in its own light.

P.S. Also a pretty light read, clocks in under 400 pages and goes pretty fast. 
Yeah I was pretty dissapointed by that one, it's ok though.
He's done better in my opinion, his best is still Spin I think (sequel doesn't live up to it unfortunatly). And I quite enjoyed his last one, Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America. 
AFAIK I really liked that one.

Must check out more of his stuff. I'd read some previous ones (Chronoliths, Bios). 
Death By Black Hole - Neil DeGrasse Tyson 
Awesome book. If you know Neil DeGrasse Tyson, then you can read the book imagining him narrating it, which is pretty damn cool. It's like an extended episode of Nova Science! Now (if you're unfamiliar, it's a science show on PBS hosted by Mr Tyson that covers a range of scientific topics.)

It's essentially an easy-to-read science extravaganza for laymen. It's just got a ton of interesting, I suppose you could say trivia, but it seems so much more than that. It's all the cool things that science has discovered that you didn't know, or perhaps did know if you're a nerd like me.

Like I said, it's pretty easy to read, under 400 pages and just plain fascinating. The last section of the book addresses science vs religion, and their roles in relation to each other, if you're interested in that sort of thing. Pretty big deal in the states, so I was pretty interested.

Cool book. 
Sounds Really Interesting! 
totally into religious/scientific discourse

I will check this out. thanks 
Well only the last part is dedicated to that - it's a small part (30 - 50 pages or so?) 
Thanks For The Caveat 
still interested 
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card WITH SPOILERS 
Yo, this book is damn good. It's like all about this empathic genius kid named Ender Wiggin who basically gets drafted into the space army at age 6 and then later on saves the world and stuff. That's some crazy story telling.

Meanwhile, on Earth... his older brother and sister begin taking over the planet while he's all up in space yo and then they like all unify the planet and then Ender and his sister are like Yo bitch we leavin and then they go and start a colony, where like Ender finds the last of the alien species he killed off and then goes and gets them bitches goin again.

Yo that shit was deep. 
Hey, at least you get now! 
Nope, still don't get it. :/ 
Rendezvous With Rama + Foundation 
Like Ender's Game, these two books are also considered staples of sci-fi.

Rama is fantastic adventure to an alien spaceship, lying dormant flying through space aimed suspiciously at our solar system's sun. A team is assembled to land on it and find out wtf is going on. I don't want to give up any details, but the rest of the book is fascinating as Mr. Arthur C. Clarke explains this alien ship and the adventures of the crew that explores it. Solid book, looking forward to the other two in the series (Ramans do everything in threes, after all.)

Foundation - I view this sort of as the anti-Ender's game. Whereas Ender's Game was about the world who pinned their hopes on a genius boy to save their bacon by combating an alien threat head on, Foundation is all about fore thought and planning on a grand, statistical scale. Relying on psycho-history (basically statistics and economics) the future has been mapped out very thoroughly by the greatest psycho historian the world has known (I forget his name though.) Long story short, the galactic empire is about to crumble and enter a thirty thousand year dark age. The psycho historians can't stop it, but they can shorten the dark age to only 1,000 years if they are allowed to do as they please. Well, the entire story takes places over 1,000 years, the first book only about 200 of those years, wherein Foundation, the bastion of scientific understanding, fends off threats in its small back-water part of the galaxy.

(Slight spoiler) Violence is a last resort, and the problems Foundation faces are all met through non-violent means, utilizing instead religion to control ignorance and trade embargoes to stifle war. I am looking forward to the other books in the series as well, this kind of story (handling conflict through non-violent means) very intriguing.

Good shit from scifi juggernauts. 
The Other Rama Books... 
... are not very good :-( 
Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kobo Glo??

Read mostly sci-fi and fantasy, occasional thrillers and horror. 
I think either one is fine really, maybe a bit more book choices on Kindle because of amazon, but probably better interface/usability on the Kobo, and more DRM free books (all books on Amazon have DRM, so you can only read them on your kindle). 
Name me some good semi-obscure sfi-etc books that I can test, please xxx 
The Kobo looks nicer because cheaper, microSD and lighther (185g vs 220g). Now I want one too. 
For Spirit 
How Locked In Are You With That Device? 
So Now I Want One Too! 
Who here really, really likes the quakeinjector? :-D 
Me But No! 
Silly EFF chart:

Without a cellular modem you should be pretty safe against remote backdoors like Amazon uses. is a long review video. PDF reading seems not so great, no reflow or column snapping. Damn. 
Anyone got any good recommendations for modern horror??

Particularly stuff where the environment / scenario / world-view is dark, fucked up and evil.

I do NOT like stuff where it all boils down to someone vaguely humanoid offing people in a cliched serial killer type way. I don't like vintage / classic horror with archaic writing.

Must have good, clear, snappy writing. NOT Stephen King (dull as fuck) nor Dean Koontz (lightweight as fuck) style.

Here's a few I've read recently with varying degrees of enjoyment:

Adam Nevill - Last Days - probably the best I've read, first 2/3 is great and genuinely creepy, last 1/3 both a bit long-winded and Hollywood-y but still good overall.

Dan Simmons - The Terror - lengthy but still quite gripping, gruelling setting and intriguing mythology.

FG Cottam - Dark Echo - can't remember much but it was spooky and the obsession of the characters in the mystery was good.

Michelle Paver - Dark Matter - great setting and initially intruiging although fades out at end.

Adam Nevill - The Ritual - pretty good, classic lost in the woods style to start and then goes into odder and less rewarding territory.

Dean Koontz - Phantoms - cliched characters and interactions but quite a good set-up.

Stephen Laws - Chasm - ditto! cool set-up but the epic potential a bit wasted with bland interactions.

Joe Hill - Horns - interesting idea but didn't really capitalise on it.

Dean Koontz - Hideaway - the Radio 1 of horror, yes that bland and lightweight. 
Have you read The Terror by Dan Simmons? You'd like it. Historical metafiction with a blatant, shameless lovecraft/poe influence.
Its not a modern masterpiece but its very good enjoyable, page turning horror. 
Laird Barron 
I read a story of his in an anthology of Lovecraft-influenced stuff - normally I don't buy those, but this one was edited by S. T. Joshi, and I'll buy basically any book with his name on it. Anyway, Barron had a story in there called "The Broadsword" which I thought was really creepy, a few times I was thinking "just what the fuck!!" Anyway, apparently he came out with a book a while ago called "The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All." I'm planning to check it out when I get a chance, probably over christmas. 
Did you read my post? 
Re the e-book reader discussion above, I got myself a 250� chinese 10 inch 1920x1080 tablet and am very happy with it for reading. 
I Usually Hate This Kind Of Announcement 
but these look quite neat.

The Video Game Bundle 2.0

Does anyone know a book out of these? 
Andy Weir - The Martian

Very nice book this. Basically "Gravity, on Mars, written by a droll blogger" - easy to read, witty in places, and grounded with lots of logic and scientific procedure - probably enough to satisfy even the most boring pedant who prefers nit-picking the science rather than enjoying the fiction. Well recommended.

Other than that I have been reading a lot of Robert Charles Wilson recently, Blind Lake and The Harvest being highlights, almost as good as Darwinia and The Chronoliths. 
Welp I just bought The Martian for reading-on-train purposes. Looks like a good fit for that!

I finished _The City and The City_ by China Mieville a couple of days ago. Very satisfying. It's a completely odd premise but the prose and the plot built on it are grounded... not what I expected from Mieville, but it works for what is essentially a noir police procedural. It's made me interested in picking up some more recent Mieville stuff. 
The City And The City. 
Brilliant book, was my favourite book of whichever year it came out. I should get it digitally, it's one I'd just like to have in my collection.

I then read his Kraken after it which was relatively bollox. 
Have you read Embassytown or Railsea? I'm eyeing both of those. 
Railsea Was Okay. 
Quite Young Adult but more entertaining than Kraken. Didn't try Embassytown. 
Great Author, Great Speech 
Some Recent Stuff 
Joe Hill - NOS4A2

Quick-paced epic about a woman's life-long conflict with a soul-destroying child kidnapper. Grotesque imagery abound, chilling villains, and even if it does somewhat run out of steam at the end, the journey itself is more than worth it.

Patrick Rothfuss - The Slow Regard of Silent Things

As much as I appreciate the author's attempt to do something that defies conventional was this a fucking slog to get through. It has the strange effect of making my eyelids unbearably heavy each time I opened the book. Get back to 'The Doors of Stone', please. 
Joe Hill. 
Horns - didn't inspire me to read much more of his stuff. 
Southern Reach 
Southern Reach trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer, you should all go read it before Hollywood makes a shitty movie adaptation!
It's got some nice weird Lovecraft-ish stuff even, kind of. 
Give the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson a try. The second book of the Kingkiller series was such rubbish I gave up on it. :( 
Joe Hill... 
I cannot get enough of, though to be fair, I thought Horns was the least of his works. If you have the chance to check out 'Heart-Shaped Box', give it a try. One of my favorite ghost stories ever written.

Lovecraft stuff! I'm sold

I am searching for new reading material right now (once I finish Stephen King's 'Revival'), so maybe the Stormlight Archive is for me.

I love 'The Wise Man's Fear' with an unhealthy intensity. I appreciate it's meandering sections, as it delves into the tedium and non-glorious parts that lie between the reality of legend. I was having this exact debate with someone on facebook just yesterday. Not to mention one of the 'villains' introduced in the latter part of the books is one of the coolest ideas for an antagonist I've seen.

It even inspired me to try to write my own version of Book Three. Only got 30k words into it before stopping, though...maybe I'll pick it up again someday. 
Stephen King's 'Revival' 
Just finished Stephen King's 'Revival'. Never has King's admiration for Lovecraft been on more obvious display; it almost feels like a love letter to H.P. Not that this is a negative; rather, it works wonderfully, a slow-burn that builds up to one the more chilling and unnerving climaxes in his bibliography.

Not to mention quotes of pure gold such as this one:
"There's no proof of these after-life destinations; no backbone of science; there is only the bald assurance, coupled with out powerful need to believe that it all makes sense. But as I stood in the back room of Peabody's and looked down at the mangled remains of my boy, who wanted to go to Disneyland much more than he wanted to go to heaven, I had a revelation. Religion is the theological equivalent of a quick-buck insurance scam, where you pay in your premium year after year, and then, when you need the benefits you paid so - pardon the pun - so religiously, you discover the company that took your money does not, in fact, exist." 
Sounds Just As Turgid... any other King novel I've had the misfortune to dip in briefly before realising that he is a terrible writer. 
I Liked IT 
and Pet Cemetery 
I have a soft spot for King's good stuff, which is indeed good.

his book on writing - 'on writing' -is fucking awesome. 
2nd "On Writing" 
Very good book. 
Reading N0S4R2 on your reccommendation, am "partway" through (spoiler: CM has now got W at B's place), and I am quite enjoying it. It's still slightly annoyingly americanish and modern-fairy-tale-ish in places, but the pace is good and some of it is pretty creepy, plus the underlying theme is intruiging. Keeps me reading for sure. 
Glad To Hear The Recommendation Panned Out... 
So many great setpieces in the book. If memory serves correct, you're almost at one of my favorite ones, which takes place at a gas station. 
Reading Group 
Should a book like the Necronomicon be considered on its own or as part of a larger conversation with the people it kills or drives insane? 
For H.P. Lovecraft Lovers 
Bump For Muk 
maybe if this thread was more active, OTP wouldnt be behind on his book reading.

get to it guys! 
We Have A Book Thread? 
Narrow Road To The Deep North Richard Flanagan was an amazing WW2 book based in part, on his father's stories of being a POW. You won't forget some of the passages. Best book I've read in a long time and it won the Mann Booker Prize two years ago.

I've read two others of Flanagan's: Gould's Book of Fish which was quite surreal and The Sound of One Hand Clapping which is a bit more feminine in appeal but still excellent.

I'm a fan of Hemingway, McCarthy and Flanagan is similar in many ways to those two. He plays with structure a lot so things are not linear at all in his books but bounce back and forth over many years. 
High Fantasy Reccomendations 
No wheel of time pls 
Have You Ever Read The Series 
The Black Company? (by Glen Cook)
I really liked that series because it set aside a lot of fantasy conventions, and it's easy to get into because the books are actually of a sane length (200-250 pages) with quick-moving plots.

Lord Dunsany's stuff is not really high fantasy and I'm sure you've read it, but damn, Dunsany is awesome, especially the early stuff like The Gods of Pegana and Time and the Gods. I would recommend to anyone to get the Penguin Classics version of Dunsany, it's got a good selection of works including the entire Gods of Pegana. 
No problems here when it comes to insane page counts.

have read minimal Dunsany, will look for penguin.

thanks for suggestions! 
The Lord Of The Rings 
First time really reading Tolkien. Just phenomenal. I don't often re-read, but this is one I can see reading annually. Up next is the Silmarillion probably followed by the Children of Hurin. 
Easily in my bottom 5% of "most likely to ever read again", if not lower. If I started fantasy reading now I doubt I would bother. Still, he sorta did okay for the genre I guess. 
He Did Ok For The Genre? 
He kind of founded the genre! 
Yeah, people either really like or dislike his work, it seems. *shrugs*

He kind of founded the genre!

that's the joke (I think). 
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