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On 6/20/2018 at 3:40 PM, FatherAlabaster said:

I've been really into China Miéville recently. I read Iron Council, Embassytown, and Kraken and just started The Scar. Iron Council is pretty dark (think Clive Barker) and unsatisfying in a good, thought-provoking way (lots of economic and political ideas), although the non-linear narrative gets annoying at times. Embassytown is a bit less dark, a thoughtful and moving novel about (among other things) language, betrayal, and alien contact. Kraken is pretty much just a fun urban fantasy novel, along the lines of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere - a semi-hapless normie protagonist entertainingly thrust into London's dark, magical underground.

Are you familiar with Perdido Street Station? I bought this one a while back but have yet to read it. I only read a couple of chapters,  but it seemed interesting.  

 

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On 7/1/2018 at 9:51 PM, Vampyrique said:

That's a given, but I can't tell you how many reviews of old books I glance at that are full of complaints, rated poorly or criticized harshly because the author's views were not - and couldn't possibly be - in sync with contemporary views, or if certain aspects of everyday life back then manifested themselves within the story. Why continue reading the author's works then whilst complaining about morals if the moral incongruity between then and now is so well known?

On the one hand, I see where you're coming from - it's annoying to read some article about how "Tolkien was a racist because the bad guys had dark skin and Italian fascists were inspired by his novels", or a hot take insisting that anyone who listens to Burzum is a Nazi apologist. On the other hand, it can be disturbing to find out that books you grew up admiring were written by a bigoted asshole; all the more so if you find that sort of outlook pervading their work when you approach it more critically. I don't see a problem with remarking on that. And let's not pretend that "contemporary views" are so enlightened. It's a mess out there.

On 7/1/2018 at 10:40 PM, Vampyrique said:

Are you familiar with Perdido Street Station? I bought this one a while back but have yet to read it. I only read a couple of chapters,  but it seemed interesting.  

 

I haven't read it yet - basically working my way backwards through the New Crobuzon books because of what's available at my library. I'm pretty sure they don't have it. I'm really enjoying The Scar and I'm very interested to get my hands on that one next.

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Now some 200 pages into Orlando Figes’ “A People’s Tragedy - The Russian Revolution”.  Only another 624 pages to go so with my schedule most weeks we are looking at maybe 2020 before I finish it.

It is really well written though, the focus it gives on the perspective of all social classes, social institutions and political cliques is really sharp and builds a strong and obvious narrative as to how the Bolsheviks eventually took power.  The disenchantment with the Tsarist regime virtually permeated all levels of society and civilisation eventually and the complete impotence of Nicholas II as a leader, decision maker and protector of the people bears stark contrast with some people in positions of power still today.

I have read most bios of Soviet leaders.  They have always fascinated me, not just because of my socialist leanings but more out of a morbid interest in how flawed they all were as leaders.  I have no doubts of the failings of the Russian Revolution already given my knowledge of the personalities and volatile tempers involved, most of whom were no better “choices” of leader than the Tsar they overthrew.  This book however pulls everything together nicely so far, sort of a real, before, during and after story.

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Reading ‘Empire - How Britain Made the Modern World’ by Niall Ferguson, a comprehensive and highly engaging exploration of the rise and fall of the British Empire.

A 21st century text already printed by Penguin Classics due to its authoritative and balanced view. 

Perfect poolside reading in a colonial setting, vertiginous mountains looming, azure Andaman Seas drifting salted sensual scent through the palms.

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Passion burned, pages turned, and now with months behind, undead, some books of mine of splendid spine, causally were read:

Lempriere's Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk (great, albeit challenging)
The Chemical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke (pretty good)
Ægypt by John Crowley (excellent)
Numero Zero by Umberto Eco (not bad but underwhelming)
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (mixed on some things, but enjoyed it overall)
It by Stephen King (excellent)
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (great, but wish it was longer)

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

O my brothers, come viddy and let feast thine silver-like glazzies on the heft of this haul, of starry worlds, horrorshow and all.

More on the way. Fancy me, dear droogs, all smarts in me gulliver now, scholar-like and oomny.

 

IMG_0515_zpsxkfpc1cu.jpg

 

 

Alex nods his approval :) 

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Re: Books? I'm an avid reader...to an extent. I like fantasy books, my favorite being Rick Riodan's fantasy series like Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase. (I finished all of them and are now reading his new series: The Trials of Apollo). I like reading fantasy and mythology (which explains why I am a sucker for Power Metal), but I also enjoy science fiction (H.G. Wells), a little mystery (Sherlock Holmes), and I'm now trying to "expand my knowledge" by reading some classics (literature). Right now, I'm also waiting for the new book in the Trials of Apollo series coming out next fall. 🤞

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Just bought a copy of The Vedas, or rather the four books of The Vedas which have been translated and published. Now that going to be an interesting read! Imagine reading something which was written down thousands of years ago describing flying machines...and on a more disturbing note, an ancient nuclear war... amongst other things. I bought it mainly to do some research on a new project of mine, but I think that I will read the whole book now...who knows what more there is to learn. 

And as for a bit of light entertaiment, I bought The Complete Elfquest volume 3, too. 

A bit pissy about not being able to buy The Parasol Protectorate boxset anywhere. I really like the whole supernatural steam punk univers. 

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On 11/9/2018 at 2:27 AM, FatherAlabaster said:

I'm currently re-reading all the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I just started a promising online book about consciousness called "Mind-Body Problems" by John Horgan.

I recently bought the Complete Sherlock Holmes audiobooks read by Stephen Fry. Wonderful midnight listening as I lie in bed in the dark, sexually spent from a sordid evening of voracious physicality. 

I am also working my way through the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. Medieval murder mysteries solved by everyone's favourite Benedictine monk. Every ounce of British decency and quaintness possible, where even the villains are still pretty good chaps. I think that the only people reading these books are me and little old ladies over the age of 70. Good stuff. 

I'm also also reading 'North and South' by Elizabeth Gaskell because I require a good fat Victorian novel from time to time. 

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"That was when I saw the Pendulum. The sphere, hanging from a long wire set into the ceiling of the choir, swayed back and forth with isochronal majesty. I knew - but anyone could have sensed it in the magic of that serene breathing - that the period was governed by the square root of the length of the wire and by π, that number which, however irrational to sublunar minds, through a higher rationality binds the circumference and diameter of all possible circles. The time it took the sphere to swing from end to end was determined by an arcane conspiracy between the most timeless of measures: the singularity of the point of suspension, the duality of the plane’s dimensions, the triadic beginning of π, the secret quadratic nature of the root, and the unnumbered perfection of the circle itself."

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27 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

"That was when I saw the Pendulum. The sphere, hanging from a long wire set into the ceiling of the choir, swayed back and forth with isochronal majesty. I knew - but anyone could have sensed it in the magic of that serene breathing - that the period was governed by the square root of the length of the wire and by π, that number which, however irrational to sublunar minds, through a higher rationality binds the circumference and diameter of all possible circles. The time it took the sphere to swing from end to end was determined by an arcane conspiracy between the most timeless of measures: the singularity of the point of suspension, the duality of the plane’s dimensions, the triadic beginning of π, the secret quadratic nature of the root, and the unnumbered perfection of the circle itself."

Do you know the password?

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On 11/25/2018 at 5:27 AM, Tortuga said:

Just bought a copy of The Vedas, or rather the four books of The Vedas which have been translated and published. Now that going to be an interesting read! Imagine reading something which was written down thousands of years ago describing flying machines...and on a more disturbing note, an ancient nuclear war... amongst other things. I bought it mainly to do some research on a new project of mine, but I think that I will read the whole book now...who knows what more there is to learn. 

How difficult of a read is it?

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8 hours ago, Balor said:

How difficult of a read is it?

I must admit that I have not really begun to read it yet :-$ I bought it mainly because I am writing a fantasy/science fiction novel where I am amongst other things featuring space flight and interdimensional travel based on vimanas and hindu legend as described in The Vedas...so I will be studying it as my novel progresses. 

But I have flicked through the pages, the typing is small and it just seems to go on and on, but I bet it is interesting so despite everything I look forward to getting started. 

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On 2/22/2019 at 8:58 PM, Vampyrique said:

Has anyone read VALIS by Philip K. Dick? I was intrigued by that infamous interview of his where he was talking about his gnostic delusions, or whatever it was that he was trying to say.

I haven't read it, but I'm glad he uses the K initial to distinguish himself from all the other Philip Dicks out there. 

I'm now at the very end of my Robert E Howard (to distinguish between etc etc) 'Conan' books. I have the mandatory Centenary Collectors Edition that includes a map and every single Conan story written by Howard, including his final drafts and synopsis pieces that were later finished by L Sprague De Camp. 

I maintain that Howard, a friend and contemporary of Lovecraft, and who was writing for the same market, wrote the greatest fantasy/adventure stories of all time barring a certain Oxford scholar about twenty years later. 

By the way, the map in the book is ok, but the best map of the world of Conan is this one.: 

Image result for conan map

 

I have this saved on my phone and I check it regularly during readings.

The idea is that this is Earth 10,000 years ago before a cataclysm took place, reshaping the landscape and sending everyone back to square one as a species. As you can see, many of the current countries and place names remain. For instance, the adventures that occur in Stygia are in Egypt, the River Styx is the River Nile etc. I'm telling you, this mythology is amazing and he wrote every word of it in his 20s as he committed suicide at the age of 30 immediately after his mother's death.

 

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21 minutes ago, Requiem said:

I haven't read it, but I'm glad he uses the K initial to distinguish himself from all the other Philip Dicks out there. 

I'm now at the very end of my Robert E Howard (to distinguish between etc etc) 'Conan' books. I have the mandatory Centenary Collectors Edition that includes a map and every single Conan story written by Howard, including his final drafts and synopsis pieces that were later finished by L Sprague De Camp. 

I maintain that Howard, a friend and contemporary of Lovecraft, and who was writing for the same market, wrote the greatest fantasy/adventure stories of all time barring a certain Oxford scholar about twenty years later. 

By the way, the map in the book is ok, but the best map of the world of Conan is this one.: 

Image result for conan map

 

I have this saved on my phone and I check it regularly during readings.

The idea is that this is Earth 10,000 years ago before a cataclysm took place, reshaping the landscape and sending everyone back to square one as a species. As you can see, many of the current countries and place names remain. For instance, the adventures that occur in Stygia are in Egypt, the River Styx is the River Nile etc. I'm telling you, this mythology is amazing and he wrote every word of it in his 20s as he committed suicide at the age of 30 immediately after his mother's death.

 

Do you know what the name Phil means? Look it up. No wonder he needed the K to break up the union of those two words, just in case.

That sounds/looks very cool, but I've never read any of those Conan stories.

Are you familiar with Graham Hancock's work, or John Anthony West, and friends? Interesting work about how we're (possibly) a species with amnesia. How pyramids and such are older than archeologists believe, and how cataclysms rocked the earth etc. Whether this is true or not, it's great fantasy for the mind. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

Do you know what the name Phil means? Look it up. No wonder he need the K to break up the union of those two words, just in case.

That sounds/looks very cool, but I've never read any of those Conan stories.

Are you familiar with Graham Hancock's work, or John Anthony West, and friends? Interesting work about how we're (possibly) a species with amnesia. How pyramids and such are older than archeologists believe, and how cataclysms rocked the earth etc. Whether this is true or not, it's great fantasy for the mind. 

 

No to all of these questions.

The last sounds similar to what Howard is basing his world on. The other thing that stands Howard out is his virtuosity with the English language, like Lovecraft. In order to be published in the 1930s, when there were fewer competing entertainment sources, you had to be top of your craft. Howard's words are a joy to read. An unmitigated joy.

They also pre-date political correctness, so women can be scantily clad and in need of protection and foreigners can be either good or evil. And Conan is the ultimate in heroic values. Look at Howard's verse here:

"What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie? 

I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky. 

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;

Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king."

Gives me chills every time. 

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8 minutes ago, Requiem said:

No to all of these questions.

The last sounds similar to what Howard is basing his world on. The other thing that stands Howard out is his virtuosity with the English language, like Lovecraft. In order to be published in the 1930s, when there were fewer competing entertainment sources, you had to be top of your craft. Howard's words are a joy to read. An unmitigated joy.

They also pre-date political correctness, so women can be scantily clad and in need of protection and foreigners can be either good or evil. And Conan is the ultimate in heroic values. Look at Howard's verse here:

"What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie? 

I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky. 

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;

Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king."

Gives me chills every time. 

Sexism, xenophobia, anglo-privilege, toxic masculinity, and only two genders? Killing that many birds with one stone will have PETA outraged.

But I'm adding this to my list of books I need to look into.

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