Novels

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Novels

Postby Mr. Perfect » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:19 am

Was interested in people discussing their favorites, looking for new ideas.

My favorite series is probably rather cliche, but it is the Bob Lee Swagger series from Stephen Hunter. The first one was made into a movie with Markie Mark and was barely ok. The book just kicks @$$ and I can read it over and over again. The remaining in the series can only be read like once or twice, but there is only one Bob Lee. Right up there with Indiana Jones or Han Solo as far as fun action characters.

I feel guilty about it, but what makes me feel better is am definitely NOT a knee jerk fan of gun novels, many are simply terrible.

Stephen is a very interesting writer, I enjoy him quite a bit, although I am not a sycophant and he has his share.

I am interested in getting into the cyberpunk thing now which surprised me. We Netflixed Star Wars IV the other day, which I had not seen since the awful prequels came out, they ruined it for me. It was refreshingly entertaining and enjoyable, although at this point what used to feel timeless now felt quite dated. Finally.

But it occured to me that there has been no big sci fi story since then, and that is a shame really. Even though Star Wars was only a sci fi in setting, still.

So I have a friend I haven't seen in 15 years who went to Hollywood and got chewed up and spit out. He has some talent but no sense whatsoever. I have been doing some side music projects for the entertainment market for a few years just for fun, and have a potential project that would give me a career for the rest of my life in Hollywood music. I am not sure if I'm going to take it, it would be a massive life adjustment with the reward of having my ditherings going to widespread audiences at the expense of sitting in a dark studio all day every day. Were I younger...

Anyway, my old friend came by and we're talking about movie ideas. Between the two of us we could potentially put together a project, combing our abilities and contacts, and my curiosity is leaning toward sci fi, that seems to have nothing going on in the movie world.

Not to get into to it, but creatively I am pretty lopsided. I get blocks, and some of the best ways I get around them is to listen or read someone else's material, not to copy but just to sort of break out of whatever ditch I am in. So I am looking at maybe some of those novels.
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Re: Novels

Postby Zack Morris » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:53 am

I used to like sci-fi when I was younger but now I can't stand it. This goes doubly for sci-fi movies, which I absolutely hate. But I can recommend Neal Stephenson's work if you're interested in cyber-punk. He's a good writer with a knack for vivid, frenetic language that I think you would like. I've personally only read 'Snow Crash', which is a cyber-punk novel, but I liked it a lot and perhaps it's what you're looking for. I hear he has some other good stuff, like 'Diamond Age'. I've also been meaning to read some Stanslaw Lem books but I don't think that's the kind of sci-fi you're looking for.
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Re: Novels

Postby Typhoon » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:19 pm

Will second Stanislaw Lem: The Cyberiad and Solaris are both in their way outstanding.

The distinction between sci-fi and supernatural/fantasy/horror seems to have been blurred over the last several decades.
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Re: Novels

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:25 pm

Just beginning Bleak House over here.
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Re: Novels

Postby ansuchin » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:47 am

"Confessions of a Bangkok Private Eye" by Warren Olson has been fun, but the Sonchai Jitpleecheep Series by John Burdett is much better. Farangs always do have their excellent adventures. :D

I have always found the tabloids revealing the lives of celebrities are enjoyable. Famous people are interesting when they reveal that they have the same failings as the rest of us. (does this belong in “Hell” :? ).

Ahem. Need to be serious… :geek:

Gulliver’s Travels.

I came across a particularly thought provoking essay on Swift’s novel delivered some years ago by Richard Webster who unfortunately passed away last July:

The diminutive insect; Gulliver’s Travels, Original Sin and the imagery of size…
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Re: Novels

Postby Typhoon » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:15 pm

Mr. P.,

Years ago a friend introduced me to the detective genre novels of Raymond Chandler.

I go so far as to claim that not only was he the best writer in his genre, but one of the best American writers of the 20th century, transcending the constraints of the genre.

____

As you probably know many of Philip K. Dick's sci-fi novels have been turned into screenplays. Apparently someone is giving Ubik another go, not clear if it will make it into production . . .
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Re: Novels

Postby Marcus » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:20 pm

Just finished Philip Roth's American Pastoral. . pretty good . . "lavender happens" . . .
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Re: Novels

Postby Typhoon » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:52 pm

Mr. P.,

The series by C. P. Snow Strangers and Brothers may also be of interest.
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Re: Novels

Postby Enki » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:47 pm

Shantaram: The fictionalized quasi-biography of Gregory David Roberts time as a fugitive in Bombay.

One of the best books I have ever read. A lot of heart a lot of adventure and goes deep into the politics of that part of the world in the early 80s.
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Re: Novels

Postby noddy » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:17 am

http://io9.com/5961961/a-new-translatio ... -must-read

The great Russian science fiction author Boris Strugatsky died today in Saint Petersburg at 79. He and his brother Arkady (who died in 1991) wrote some of the most iconic works of Soviet science fiction. In their honor, we are republishing this review of the most recent translation of one of their most famous works, Roadside Picnic, published in Russian as Stalker.

If you're going to read just one Soviet-era Russian science fiction novel, it should be Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's dark, ambiguous Roadside Picnic. Originally written in the early 1970s, it's back in print in English after 30 years, with a brand-new translation by Olena Bormashenko and a riveting afterword by Boris Strugatsky about how the book was butchered by Soviet censors. It's a seriously intense tale of a man who risks his life and freedom to smuggle artifacts out of mysterious "Zones" where aliens landed.


i have had several friends raves about this but have yet to read it myself, apparently this new translation is better than the previous so i think i just might.
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Re: Novels

Postby Hoosiernorm » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:41 am

Image

From the dead on Neocon characters (They are adorable) to the methodical bureaucratic difficulties faced by the Chairman of the CCP (Who all really look like the neighborhood dentist). The back and forth and difficult moments of BIrd who is trying to keep the wife in horses, his brother in civil war period clothing, his mother out of a nursing home, and his caretaker from operating a meth lab in the barn he must also figure out a way to recover after his latest lobbying to congress selling them the Dumbo project (A drone the size of a B-52) and set up an invisible front group to whip up support against an enemy that no one really wants to confront (largely due to the fact no one in America really knows the men who run China). The scene in the book when the state department and the Chinese general council both decide that it is in everyone's interest to kill the Dalai Lama is dark humor on a wonderfully horrible but all too human level of understanding.
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Re: Novels

Postby Hoosiernorm » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:40 am

Image

Just finished John Dies in the End and I am really ready for the second book in the set to be delivered. The book starts out in "Undisclosed Midwestern Town" and between the deaths of people he knows after the local music festival, the guy with the weird Jamaican accent, the death of people who I swear to God existed...even if there isn't any proof that they were ever born, Molly the talking Dog, Cucumber, John (not his real name) and of course "Soy Sauce" the book is a real page turner. It's inter-dimensional, Zombie, shadow people, monster cross over space time ........Dude my penis is magnificent to a degree of excellence that is unknown to mortal men! The bids and pieces of humor, bad dead end jobs, and secret plots in abandoned businesses and large chemical plants is really quite good. The humor is as solid as the horror aspect of the book and the scene when they decide to shave half the dog and make a bomb into a dog biscuit which the dog eats (Damn it Molly we were trying to disguise it so they wouldn't know what we were doing!) and they debate whether to cut it open with a chain saw or make it throw up is side splitting... They decide to feed it leftover frozen burritos but the damn thing still won't lavender them out. The moments of conversations on a bratwurst (hey man the phone died and we had to continue the conversation about how to escape the police station after John is pronounced dead). Korrock is there always there watching and you aren't quite sure who the good guys are or the bad guys or who is lying dead out in the tool shed (man I have to go check that out after we get back from the mall seriously). All the weird lavender people have mailed to them comes in handy sort of......I guess......well at least it's interesting.
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Re: Novels

Postby Enki » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:53 pm

I just watched Jon Dies at the End last night. It was halfway decent. I don't passionately recommend it, but it's a fun Lovecraftian horror flick in the Evil Dead vein.
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Re: Novels

Postby jerryberry » Fri May 31, 2013 5:42 am

I would like to see a story that takes place in the context of an Abrahamic afterlife. Avoiding the obvious "oh no, everything is not perfect," or shock type drama. I do think it should be scifi drama. Approached skillfully, one could really challenge existing templates, ideas, perceptions about an life after life. Also, this would not take place in heaven. I envision heaven as a resting point between this earth and the "new Jerusalem." So, how does one create a scifi drama in that context? I'm no writer.
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Re: Novels

Postby Enki » Fri May 31, 2013 10:29 pm

jerryberry wrote:I would like to see a story that takes place in the context of an Abrahamic afterlife. Avoiding the obvious "oh no, everything is not perfect," or shock type drama. I do think it should be scifi drama. Approached skillfully, one could really challenge existing templates, ideas, perceptions about an life after life. Also, this would not take place in heaven. I envision heaven as a resting point between this earth and the "new Jerusalem." So, how does one create a scifi drama in that context? I'm no writer.


I've thought about this. One of the ideas I wanted to do was serial novels that follow the same soul through reincarnation telling a narrative of a particular telos spanning many lives.

Urth of the New Sun takes place in Abrahamic Heaven on the hypercube that the Priesthood of Melchizedek travels through time and space upon. Gene Wolfe is a devout Catholic, he is also an engineer who invented the oven that makes Pringles. Definitely check out the New Sun books if this is your bag. The Long Sun books follow the religious nature of people living on a generation ship, a la Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein, probably my favorite Heinlein book.
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Re: Novels

Postby cincinnatus » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:02 am

I've been reading a bunch of small and first time authors with Kindle Prime lending library. Some pretty good o decent (zombie books like 900 Miles and Apocalypse Z: the beginning of the end, a sci-fi "Doom Star Series", John Ringo's funny but biased "Live Free or Die," another series called "The Redemption Trilogy."

For more hardback/paperback, do yourself a favor and read "Gates of Fire" by Pressfield (and "the Profession" too). Ringo's "The Last Centurion" is good, albeit scewed heavily for Conservatives to enjoy. Aside from the crappy film adaptation to come, World War Z was pretty good.

If you liked Star Wars IV, the Star Wars Thrawn series is the natural succesor, not the train wrecks of the I through III movies.
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Re: Novels

Postby jerryberry » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:39 am

Thanks Enki, I will check out that author.
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Ol' Grandad's Wet Work by Christopher Buckley

Postby monster_gardener » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:57 am

Hoosiernorm wrote:Image

From the dead on Neocon characters (They are adorable) to the methodical bureaucratic difficulties faced by the Chairman of the CCP (Who all really look like the neighborhood dentist). The back and forth and difficult moments of BIrd who is trying to keep the wife in horses, his brother in civil war period clothing, his mother out of a nursing home, and his caretaker from operating a meth lab in the barn he must also figure out a way to recover after his latest lobbying to congress selling them the Dumbo project (A drone the size of a B-52) and set up an invisible front group to whip up support against an enemy that no one really wants to confront (largely due to the fact no one in America really knows the men who run China). The scene in the book when the state department and the Chinese general council both decide that it is in everyone's interest to kill the Dalai Lama is dark humor on a wonderfully horrible but all too human level of understanding.


Thank You Very Much for your post, HoosierNorm.

Have not read this one but thanks for the recommendation.....

Years ago I did enjoy "Wet Work" by Christopher Buckley.....

a wealthy American businessman's only granddaugter dies of a cocaine overdose. He decides that he's going to kill everyone who had anything to do with it, starting with her boyfriend and ending with the head of the Columbian drug cartel. Along the way yachts are wrecked and burned, secret love affairs are revealed, priests are consulted, and plenty of smartass dialogue is emitted. Buckley obviously knows what really rich people are really like, and in addition to having a great plot and memorable charactes, it's full of consistently interesting observations. A good book


Still remember some of the clever little twists......

Like when the cop who is out to stop Ol' Grandad ;) from causing an international incident, realizes that he is likely on a suicide mission, he sends a will to each of his ex-wives leaving all of his estate to each of them ;) :twisted:

Or when the drug dealer who agrees to sell out his superiors for money, is asked by Ol' Grandad who he wants the money sent to.... :twisted:
Actually he was one of the wiser perps..... he managed to get Ol' Grandad to let him do a telephone last confession to a Catholic priest......

http://www.amazon.com/Wet-Work-Christop ... 0394571932
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Re: Novels

Postby Juggernaut Nihilism » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:34 pm

My favorite novel is Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and it's way out in front of whatever's in second place.

I enjoyed EL Doctorow's stuff, especially Ragtime and The March.

Roth is hit and miss for me, although American Pastoral was brilliant and The Plot Against America was fun. A lot of his other stuff is too much of the angsty Jew bullshit that is skillfully written and generally provides interesting characters, but I just usually can't get into it.

I've never been able to get into a lot of the "great" late 20th century American writers like Delillo, Ballard, Bellow, etc. I especially despise Jonathan Franzen. I just can't get myself to give a lavender about the obscene shopping habits of some skank in Manhattan who thinks that anything in her life matters when it doesn't... and no amount of Franzen's supposedly brilliant prose can convince me that it does.

If you want something fun and quick that you can tear through in an afternoon, check out Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 (yes I know it's douchey to recommend Pynchon, blow me), John Gardner's Grendel (although that's more of a book you love when you're in your late teens, earlier twenties), and especially Italo Calvino's spectacular Invisible Cities and Cosmicomics. Calvino is something else.

The Vietnam book The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien is heartbreaking and beautiful.

When I was in high school my favorite novel was Shogun. I haven't looked back at it, but I'll bet it would still be pretty badass.

It's a history book, not a novel, but it's told in a sort of story format, so I'll also recommend The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers, which an incredible book.

Someone above mentioned Neal Stephenson... Check out The Baroque Cycle (it's a trilogy about 2700 pages long) and Cryptonomicon. He's writing style can be a bit hackneyed, but those books are still freaking great.

Neil Gaiman is fun if you're looking for an easy read. Even his Sandman graphic novels deserve mention, since they represent one of the high water marks of that medium.

Tom Wolfe is consistently brilliant, of course. Here in the aftermath of the Trayvesty is not a bad time to go read Bonfire of the Vanities again. But his most recent novel Back to Blood is great as well.
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Re: Novels

Postby YMix » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:54 am

I'm rereading The Dosadi Experiment, something I haven't done in a while. Was struck by one of Herbert's chapter opening quotes:

Does a population have informed consent when that population is not taught the inner workings of its monetary system, and then is drawn, all unknowing, into economic adventures?


Quite.
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Re: Novels

Postby Typhoon » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:07 pm

All the world's a stage.
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Re: Novels

Postby Mr. Perfect » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:35 am

YMix wrote:I'm rereading The Dosadi Experiment, something I haven't done in a while. Was struck by one of Herbert's chapter opening quotes:

Does a population have informed consent when that population is not taught the inner workings of its monetary system, and then is drawn, all unknowing, into economic adventures?


Quite.

Democrat Public Schools. They do it on purpose over here.
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Re: Novels

Postby Mr. Perfect » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:36 am

Jack Reacher novel was terrible. Nothing ever happens. The movie was more tolerable because they trimmed it way down.
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Unpublished draft excerpt from Dahl's "Charlie"

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:25 pm

“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

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Librivox

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:59 pm

Free MP3 recordings of readings of books in the public domain.

https://librivox.org
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