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What non-comics are you reading these days?


#2052

Read This Book Is Full of Spiders, which was a fun read but not as good as John Dies at the End. In comparison to the first book, the plot was a bit arbitrary and lacked scope. It did have many really good moments though, and was entertaining throughout. Some great characters, too, especially Lance Falconer, super-cop.

I’ll get to What the Hell Did I Just Read soon.


#2053

Yeah, I’d say it was, though it wasn’t a novel in the traditional sense and shouldn’t really be read for the purpose of enjoying a “story” as such. The best part about it IMO is really just witnessing the breadth and level of moore’s craft.


#2054

The Iain M Banks Culture books were mentioned on the 2000AD podcast this week and got me thinking about reading them. Are there a lot of them? Do they need to be read in a particular order? Are there any that are standout ones I should focus on? Any that aren’t as strong and skipable? Any thoughts / suggestions welcome.


#2055

Not a lot of them no, they’re worth reading, Amazon have just announced Dennis Kelly is adapting them for them for TV, there’s a basic reading order, but it’s very flexible. I usually recommend “The Player of Games” to start with, but starting with the first one written (“Consider Phlebas”) is a decent start point too, but it’s mainly told from the viewpoint of someone on the other side of a major war with the Culture.

“Use of Weapons” is often considered the standout, but many of them are great.

The stories collectively form my favourite SF universe.

(I can’t overstate that enough. I bloody love the Culture, and Banks’ writing style)


#2056

I think Matter was the first one I read. I’m not sure why; I think it was the most recent one, and I didn’t realise it was part of a series.


#2057

Consider Phlebas or The Player of Games are probably the best starting points, since they are reasonably straighforward. Use of Weapons is great, but uses a very complex structure with no less than three timelines: two moving forwards and one backwards.

This would be my recommended order based on how much I like them:

  1. The Player of Games
  2. Look to Windward
  3. Surface Detail
  4. Use of Weapons
  5. Excession
  6. Consider Phlebas
  7. Matter
  8. The Hydrogen Sonata
  9. Inversions

#2058

I remembered this and expected you to reply pretty quickly!

I’m pretty sure I’ve read Consider Phlebas years ago. Might see if I can find my copy and reread that before getting further books.


#2059

I’ve only read Consider Phlebas and can’t say I was particularly taken with it. It’s part of why I never sought out the other books.


#2060

It’s worth giving The Player of Games a go then; Consider Phlebas is a relatively atypical Culture novel in that it mainly shows the Culture from the perspective of someone they’re at war with. The Player of Games is a different sort of story, and told from the Culture’s perspective. I think if you disliked both of those it’s less likely any of them would appeal.

(Consider Phlebas isn’t particularly one of my favourite ones either)


#2061

A translation of Shmuel-Bukh, by a pseudonymous Moshe Esrim Ve’arba, a Yiddish Epic Poem expanding on The Biblical Book of Samuel, that went unpublished for centuries, that has been said is to be in literary value to Ashkenazim (Jews who lived in Europe) as Homer was to the Greeks, or the Aeneid to the Romans, or The Mahabharata or Ramayana to Indians, or Gilgamesh to the Sumerians/Assyrians/Babylonians or the Shahnameh to the Iranians, or Chant de Roland to the French, or Beowulf to the Anglo-Saxons.


#2062

I’ve settled into Kostova’s Historian, but at this point it’s really because I want to know how she concludes it. I’ve been all over the place with it. Early on there was a time I thought it was genius, and then I started thinking it was nonsense, and of course I registered my thoughts earlier of it being passable for young adult literature…The best she has going is her passably fake history, which requires a kind of supernatural suspension of disbelief, once you’ve done the research and see where she willfully (and I suppose by pop culture standards) branched off. Whatever else she achieved in this book, she obviously did a lot of research to make it believable. Even if a little research now makes it read like nonsense. It’s not surprising that the publishing industry was so eager to bid for it in the wake of Da Vinci Code, as it shares the exact same storytelling logic, with a thin sheen of literary respectability.


#2063

Just started reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It was apparently an Oprah Book Club choice a few years back, but I won’t let that discourage me.


#2064

Read that as an advance reader copy. I remember liking it.


#2065

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - There’s a lot to like about this book. The approach to alien culture and world building is quite unique. There is an odd way that gender pronouns are dealt with that I never quite got on with but it does tend to highlight the alieness of it all. The way the story is told bouncing back and forth between flashbacks and present day slowly reveal the mystery of what is happening. This is solid sci-fi that I recommend.


#2066

The entire series is great though it never reaches the same heights as the first book. Even her newest book, which is a bit more typical than the Ancillary series, is really enjoyable. If you like this first one you’ll like all the others too. It’s some of the best modern science fiction around.


#2067

I finished Ready Player One today after having it sitting around the house for ages.

I was determined to get to it before the movie is released.

I found it a lot of fun, although a bit of a cringeworthy cheesefest in places.

Happy to overlook some of that though, as it was a real page turner.

Coming up for 40 I’m probably the right age for the references that make the book so much fun, except maybe a handful of instances where they were a bit laboured.

I am concerend that in by adapting the movie to be more inclusive for a wider audience they will make something that doesn’t appeal to me personally - the real attraction of this book were the callbacks to my childhood.

I think they could have still have had a successful movie keeping the references to the era covered in the book.
I’d even argue it would be more successful - but I’ll wait and see how the movie is.


#2068

I finished the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books the other day. I liked Life, The Universe And Everything the best but was pleased that all the books held up pretty well (though I am cooler on the fairly Earth centric So Long and Thanks For All The Fish). I don’t like the way it all ended though, it seems like a needlessly dark end to the run. It’s a shame Adam’s didn’t get around to a sixth book himself.


#2069

You may like to know that there is an all new HHGTTG series just started on BBC R4 with many of the original actors 40 years later.


#2070

The announcement was one of the things that inspired my reread. I’m not sure if I want to listen. On the plus side there’s, as you mentioned, the original cast but, on the negative, is the fact that I’m not sure if I want to bother with the non Adams stuff. I may give the first episode (fit, isn’t that what the radio episodes are called?) a bash and make my mind up after that.


#2071

It is based on the 6th book in the Trilogy written by Eoin Colfer. I read it when it came out. He is perhaps better known for his Artemis Fowl series of young adult books, which I have also read. An ardent Adam’s fan, if anything he is guilty of over emulation in the book, less would have been more.

The radio series has been mildly tweaked, for example Zaphod being described as the maverick President of the Galaxy with the slogan ‘make Aplha Centauri great again.’

It also features Stephen Hawking as the voice of HHGTTG II in one of the last things he did.

Eoin was asked to write it by Douglas’s widow and existing unpublished work by DA was included.

My main crit is the plot is so frenetic that there is little time to savour the personalities of the protaganists. Should have been a slower paced two or three books,