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What are you Reading Now?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Mythopoet, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I really do think we are losing something permanently here. There simply isn't going to be another generation like that of Gardner Dozois, H.L. Gold, James Blish, James Baen, Ben Bova, Damon Knight, Anthony Boucher (not to mention Gernsback and Campbell). The world has changed; it is too fractured now.

    I'm getting old (am old!). I miss the unity when one listened to that one underground radio station, got the news from this newspaper and that network (Cronkite, or Huntley-Brinkley?), and the number of SF (and fantasy) publishers and magazines could be counted on one hand. One belonged to a subculture that was shared right across the country. Seeing someone at the newsstand looking through the latest copy of Astounding meant you could talk to them. They were of our people.

    The magazine editors played a crucial role in creating that feeling.
     
  2. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Archmage

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    Got my copy of "Fire and Blood" a couple of days ago. Everything else is on hold for now.
     
  3. You ever feel like youve run into so many sucky books in a row you dont want to read anymore for a while?
     
  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Not quite exactly like this, but close. Last few years, I've come across books that I didn't enjoy for various reasons, but I've still felt compelled to give them a good chance and not pick up a new story before I've finished the ones I've started. This then lead to me just not reading at all. It became a chore rather than a pleasure.
    I'm now trying real hard to not get back into that situation, and I allow myself to put away and forget about books I don't enjoy.
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    My trusty reading list protects me from this. I'm slogging my way through Robin Hobb's Royal Assassin. Whenever I get discouraged (which is every couple of chapters), I turn to my reading list.

    I just finished Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Good story. It also reminded me that good fiction about 19thc or early 20thc rural America is a great place for fantasy writers to find pre-industrial tidbits--not only about material life but also habits of mind and speech. La vie quotidienne.

    At a far extreme, I'm also reading Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote.
     
  6. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Archmage

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    I never thought it could possibly come to this for me, but I feel disillusioned with GRRM at this moment after reading "Fire and Blood" as I realize that I have tricked myself into seeing things that were not there in the story. GRRM is an excellent author and deserves great credit praise for his work, but I can't personally love it any longer, even if I hope I will still appreciate it. The flaws of fantasy stories that I thought he might not have, have become clear to me.

    I don't feel much bitterness but more feeling a bit of emptiness over a wonderful dream I once had, but can no longer recall.
     
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I gave up on that story years ago. I just gradually stopped caring.
     
  8. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Archmage

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    And right now I am currently reading four books at the same time while jumping between them; Russia: People and Empire, A History of the Archaic Greek World, A Complete Guide to Heraldry and Fire and Blood.

    After these ones are done I hope to continue with Mary Renault and Tolostoy.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Breakfast at Tiffany's was an embarrassment and a disappointment. But now I'm reading On the Beach. Much better.

    This is the third Neville Shute book I've read. This fellow deserves wider recognition. Yes, some of his works were made into movies, but one hardly ever hears his name these days. Each book of his so far has been utterly memorable, even though his prose is ... homely? Workaday? Understated. Straightforward. Whatever, his prose manages to snag me within the first chapter without being in the least showy or dramatic.

    This book is a prime example. He's writing about nuclear Armageddon, but does he narrate the war? No. Does he show us people struggling in a nuclear wasteland? No. Instead, he gives us people untouched by the war, but waiting for the winds of the planet to bring death from the northern to the southern hemisphere. It's surprisingly touching.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Started Camelot 30K, by Robert L. Forward. In addition to the others I already had going.
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    What flaws? Both in fantasy in general and GRRM? I’m curious, haven’t read Fire and Blood, yet.

     
  12. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Archmage

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    The most crucial flaw that I see and which has turned me off many authors, and reduced my enjoyment of the fantasy genre in general, is the predictable moralism of the author as delivered by the story. When you've got black-and-white conflicts with essentially immorale idiots vs morale wise men/women then you're losing my interests because I know that the conflict will be one-sided and the outcome can never be doubted by the reader, and as such I know that there's no way for the good guys to lose or suffer drastic losses in the pursue of victory.

    It's not just fantasy, but I've come to associate it with fantasy to a higher degree than historical fiction. The numbing sense of the good guys walking from victory to victory to victory with the bad guys not standing a chance due to their overwhelming stupidity. Its just boring and the victories for the good guys losses all meaning in the absence of resistance and failure.

    And finally I must keep looking for the fantasy author I dream about. An author who is not going to force down the proper way to read his story down my throat but says. "Ok, this is the scenario. These characters do this and those characters do that. Now you the reader can decide for yourself who your heroes and villains are in this story."
     
  13. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    I can see that. I think Martin does a good job with moral ambiguity.

    I’m playing around with stuff in my series. Winning and losing itself are ambiguous. But, my stories wll be all over the board, they’re following a history rather than just telling particular stories.

     
    Gurkhal likes this.
  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    That's curious, Gurkhal, because my reaction is the opposite. Much fantasy bores me because of the heavy reliance upon grim and dark. Most books in that genre don't push a moral down my throat, other than the implied moral that the world is grim and dark and look how grim and dark my world is, isn't that grim and dark, and the characters in it are so very grim. And dark.

    I'm much more of the Philip Marlowe type. Give me a hero, first of all, which means someone who knows their own mind, and who goes through a difficult world staying true to that. This doesn't mean the hero doesn't make mistakes, doesn't even deliberately do the wrong thing (though always for a higher good, as defined by hero), but is always absolutely aware of the choice they're making and the consequences thereof.

    No shining knights, sure. That's thin writing. But so is the ultra-cynic who's hip to the world and goes through it with one eyebrow raised.

    I guess there's a market for just about everything!
     
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  15. I have this thing where I can't both read regularly and write regularly. Which means my books are receiving neglect. Library books. Oh dear. A couple are due on the 17th; I cannot remember which.
     
  16. As per my Christmas tradition, I'm reading the Discworld novel Hogfather.
     
  17. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I feel like I've read a ton of stuff since I last posted but for the life of me can't remember any of it right now. Recently most Tolkien ebooks went massively on sale so I stocked up on a ton of them. Almost all stuff I already have in print, but these days I like reading on my kindle best. Also, I like to keep my Tolkien hardcovers nice so carrying them around isn't something I like to do.

    Since then I've been working my way through Tolkien's Letters. Since unfortunately, I never read it cover to cover in print. I've really been learning a lot. It's fascinating to see Tolkien's personality coming through the words and hear his point of view about his work. I've also been reading The Story of Kullervo, one of his oldest pieces of writing. You can see exactly where certain words of Quenya first came from and where some of the ideas in The Silmarillion first appear. I have come to really appreciate and relate to Tolkien as a person. And feel better about my potential as a fantasy writer, which foolishly I can never help comparing to his genius.
     
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  18. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    Eeeyes, a Tolkien book gave Eve of Snows no chance of hitting #1 in category... My Tolkien fandom came back to bite me, heh heh.

     
  19. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I made a new year's resolution to read more in 2019, and so far I'm holding to it pretty well. At the end of December I read Hogfather (a must), and over the last few weeks I've also read Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House, The Yellow Wallpaper (free on Google Play right now), and The Changeling by Joy Williams. Right now I'm starting on the first volume of The Unreal and the Real, a collection of short stories by Ursula K Le Guin.

    I got a Samsung tablet in the fall and it's really helped me get back on the reading wagon--I often don't have time to go to the library and can't really afford physical books, so having an ereader has made reading accessible to me again. I have all my books at the tips of my fingers wherever I am.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  20. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm reading The Expanse series, currently on volume 3. Gotta say, I haven't had this much fun reading SF in a very long time. It's an extraordinary story told with great skill.
     
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