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Out of the Blue

Things have been a little off kilter here this week as Kapi and Frans fight a problem on the server over at 3D Gamers, which is unfortunate enough as it is, but also impacts our mail here, since they have been kindly handling that over there for a while to provide more reliability (but of course the Alanis effect kicked in). This has only had a minor impact so far, as the mail has been brought back a couple of times in between outages allowing me to catch up, but this has certainly hurt my plans to get off this roll of later-than-normal updates. Update: This mail situation continues to cause trouble, so if you need to contact me, an alternative email address to use is bluesnews@abydos.com.

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48 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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48. More recommendations... Oct 30, 2002, 08:45 Lightbringer
 
For those that like hard sci-fi I highly recommend the novel's of Greg Egan, Brian Stableford, and Robert Charles Wilson. Dan Simmons Hyperion series is also quite amazing.

Egan's stuff can be truly mind bending and Stableford does some excellent near future sepculative fiction dealing with the complex social change involved in advances in technology. Wilson's "BIOS" is very similar to James Cameron's unfilmed "Avatar" if youw ant a taste of what that film could have been.

For military sci-fi/space opera I recommend David Drake and David Weber (Honor Harrington is tons of fun), and William C. Deitz.

For fantasy I'll second the opinion that George R.R. Martin is the best active writer in the market right now. Robin Hobb is also excellent.

For horror I strongly recommend Richard Laymon. But be forewarned that his stuff tends to be _very_ graphic (makes Stephen King look positively tame). Fans of Half-Life should also checkout Dean R. Koontz's "Fear Nothing" and "Sieze the Night" (his best work in decades). Dan Simmons also does great non-traditional horror stories in addition to his deep sci-fi novels.

This comment was edited on Oct 30, 08:46.
 
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47. Really... Oct 26, 2002, 10:34 Ray Marden
 
...just go and find anything with Star Wars in the title. He, he, he...

Quietly avoiding any mention of the books that I reeed read :),
Ray

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Tumor marker up to 500 and allergic reactions to the one drug that is good at fighting pancreatic cancer. Damn.
 
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Everything is awesome!!!
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46. Re: Baxter Oct 25, 2002, 08:27 Hump
 
I do like Bear quite a bit. "Blood Music" would be among my 10 favorites of all time probably. I find a lot of his other stuff kinda dry though. Just personal taste I suppose.

I also hear Greg Egan has some pretty heavy-duty stuff as well so I hope to get to that eventually.

 
Avatar 10137
 
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"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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45. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 25, 2002, 08:17 Bronco
 
Mark Twain is over rated in my book just as much as Walt Whitman is.

snide,

I'm not qualified to comment on Whitman but Twain? He changed American literature with his style. No American authors wrote in his fashion prior to him. He provided a strong personal view of race relations (like that was a term back then). His explorations of mans inhumanity to man is exceptional in my view.

When he is put into the proper perspective he stands tall. IMO.


-TPFKAS2S
 
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-TPFKAS2S
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44. Re: Baxter Oct 25, 2002, 06:32 Anvil
 
I've got the only author that matters for the HARD stuff

I think you have to add in Greg Bear and Iain Banks to that category. Bear in particular does a much much better job IMO of extrapolating actual science trends into the far future.



Anvil
 
Anvil - from the land of warm beer and mad cattle.
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43. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 25, 2002, 05:43 snide
 
Heatwave,

Mark Twain is over rated in my book just as much as Walt Whitman is. Same period and I think both get too much credit just for writing consistantly in an "american" scope. Poe is good, but I was mentioning mostly novel writers. F. Scott Fitzgerald is the one you caught me on, should definitely have included him. Looks like I'll have to bite into the dark tower series as well.

 
dave snider
comicvine.com
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42. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 25, 2002, 02:39 Heatwave
 
He says that the Dark Tower series explains and ties together his entire world.

-Heatwave
(Apologies for wasting anyones space or time with this message.)
(Edit: *nostalgic sniff* It's not the same without Loonie Boy to correct me about The Dark Tower series... )
This comment was edited on Oct 25, 02:42.
 
-Heatwave
(Apologies for wasting anyones space or time with this message.)
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41. Even more good books... Oct 24, 2002, 22:14 Elrix
 
For Fantasy, I would recommend Guy Gavriel Kay. His 1990 novel named Tigana is brilliant and a good introduction to his work. (He also assisted Christopher Tolkien bring The Silmarillion to fruition)

For Sci-Fi, I'll throw out an author by the name of Verner Vinge. His recent novels include A Fire Upon The Deep and the sequel/prequel, A Deepness in The Sky. I picked them up myself thanks to a recommendation from Id's John Carmack, who praised them in an article I read.

 
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40. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 22:01 WarPig
 
Eyes of the Dragon was great and Insomnia was just freakin' weird! You're right though about how many of his books reference the Dark Tower theme, including Hearts in Atlantis, which I enjoyed throughout. That's also the case with a lot of the stories set in Maine - he often throws in a little snippet here and there about "that rabid dog who killed those people" or "that trouble they had with the missing children in Derry". It's fun if you know what he's talking about, and if you don't know it just seems like a natural part of a conversation so you don't feel like you're missing anything.

I'm going to mention another author that has written some of my favorite books. Joseph Wambaugh. He's an ex-cop who writes books about cops. His books The Blue Knight, The Choirboys, and The Glitter Dome are just so good and so funny... that's it, I'm digging through my old books!

*** As usual, I could be wrong. But really, what are the odds of that happening twice? ***
 
Avatar 1750
 
________________________________

GO SEAHAWKS!
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39. Re: on another note... Oct 24, 2002, 21:29 mag
 
If you're into the Dark Tower books and looking for things that might hint at other things in Roland's universe, you might want to check out Dark House. Of course, Dark House is the sequel to The Talisman, so you'd want to read that also.

 
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38. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 21:25 WarPig
 
From what I hear I'd really like Stephen King's stuff but I'm a bit of a completest when it comes to books so it'd be quite a committment to jump into.

With King you don't really have to read them all (although I have) because he has written books covering many genres. If you like fantasy (which isn't my favorite) I would also recommend the Dark Tower series - but if you're looking for a single book instead of an open ended series I did enjoy The Talisman quite a bit, plus it's pretty long. As far as sci-fi goes, The Tommyknockers was pretty good, and Dreamcatcher is absolutely great.

I know a lot of people turn their nose up at King because he's too popular, but the man can tell a story. The other thing I like about him is this... anybody can die at any time, and even if they don't die they can have any number of nasty things happen to them (he writes pain really well). Kind of keeps you on your toes.

Btw, if there's a more depressing book than The Grapes of Wrath, I don't want to know about it.

*** As usual, I could be wrong. But really, what are the odds of that happening twice? ***
 
Avatar 1750
 
________________________________

GO SEAHAWKS!
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37. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 21:05 Heatwave
 
Apparently there's a direct reference to Eyes of the Dragon actually existing within the Dark Tower books, but I've never beenable to see it. Insomnia is also said to exist inside of them, with the two people that the protagonist tries to save supposedly being Roland and Eddie. Also there's a Dark Tower short in the "Legends" Fantasy compilation... In fact... "Legends" is basically everything we've touched upon since snide asked.

Woo! 1 par. post!


This comment was edited on Oct 24, 21:06.
 
-Heatwave
(Apologies for wasting anyones space or time with this message.)
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36. Re: Pop limit Oct 24, 2002, 20:55 Heatwave
 
Yeah, forgot Amber. What I read before putting it down and forgetting to get back to it for 2 years was good.
Card writes Fantasy as well, but I got sick of the Alvin Maker series after a few books, and have no real intention of picking it back up. His Sci-Fi is AMAZING though. 'Enders' Game' been in consideration for a film forever. I'm glad it doesn't seem to be happening. No way anyone could ever do it justice, without being criticized as a 'Harry Potter clone.'
Which ironically is what "Harry Potter" is to "Enders' Game"...

Striving for brevity,
 
-Heatwave
(Apologies for wasting anyones space or time with this message.)
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35. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 20:49 Dead Man Walking
 
Thinking about King and the Dark Tower series...did you guys read Hearts in Atlantis? This novel does give a small insight into what is going on on the bad guys' side of the dark tower story. Hearts in Atlantis wasn't his best work but it was worth it to read until the dark tower reference and then throw it away.

On a side note, another story of King's to read if one likes the dark tower books is The Eyes of the Dragon. This story was written to prove to his kids that he could write a story that wasn't horror. Nothing like his other books but I feel its one of his best.

 
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34. Re: Pop limit Oct 24, 2002, 20:43 The Pyro
 
Doh. Silly browser "remembered" the subject from the last time I posted.

 
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33. Pop limit Oct 24, 2002, 20:42 The Pyro
 
Yikes! I can't believe nobody's mentioned Roger Zelazny yet. he's one of my all-time favorite fantasy / sci-fi authoris.

If you haven't read the Chronicles of Amber (10 books in all), do so! At least read the first five of them (they're quick reads), as those are all part of the same story arc. Most large bookstores will have "The Great Book of Amber" which contains all 10 of the books.

There's a new Amber book by a different author, but I'm hesitant to pick it up... Zelazny made it clear that he didn't want other people writing in his universe after he died, but his family seems to have sold the rights anyway. No telling what junk snuck in there.

Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" is also surprisingly absent from the previous posts. A great, great read. I believe they're making it into a movie... read the book now before the movie spoils your impression of it! My fond memories of Starship Troopers seemed to fade rather quickly after that abominable movie was released...


 
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32. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 20:41 Bronco
 
I can't stand Steinbeck, although I dig the way he writes I hate his themes.

To each their own. I really do enjoy his story telling.

Ken Follet, who should quit trying to make money and be clancy all the time and get back to his pillars of the earth (awesome awesome book) writing.

He has always been hit or miss for me. I enjoyed Key to/for Rebekah and Pillars. The others, eh.

From what I hear I'd really like Stephen King's stuff but I'm a bit of a completest when it comes to books so it'd be quite a committment to jump into.

In my opinion anything up to The Tommyknockers was good. After that I dunno. Maybe I just grew up. I read The Shinning when I was in 5th grade. Whoa!

I never got the oppurtunity as a kid to roll a 12 sided die! Damn football, rock music and girls, they ruined my ability to be a true nerd.

Funny, I did all of those things, does that make me a quasi-nerd like you? A new sub-genre of the 'true nerd'.

I think I like geek better than nerd anyway.


-TPFKAS2S
 
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-TPFKAS2S
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31. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 20:41 Heatwave
 
Well I was going to say pretty much everything you just said... several times becasue my password wasn't working all day(problem was on my end). So I'll just commend your taste, especially:
Henry James technically being a Victorian writer...LOL!
Ken Follet stop being Clancy and Getting Back to Pillars...
AMEN!
but...
The only American "classic" authors I can handle are salinger, heller, and all the beatnick guys.
Mark Twain? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Poe(to a lesser extent)?

My 2-late-cents on recomendations,
My theory was that if there was no way i could read every book ever written then I should fall back on the classics.
My thoughts exactly. Which is why when indulging my geek side I like to read what I think will be a classic tommorrow.

Stephen Kings' Dark Tower, I just can't recommend enough. Since you haven't read him I suggest you do. Start in from the fantasy angle with 'The Stand' or 'It.' I actually would consider "The Stand" to fit perfectly on a shelf of Fantasy works.
I haven't read a lot of his work because I'm something of a completist as well, and the scope of that is difficult unless you're a die-hard. But I find that King tends to write everythign in certain categories, he has his 'Stand by Me Kids'(IT, Stand By Me(the body), Dreamcatcher) his 'Creepy reality'(Misery, Rose Madder) and the best example 'Bachman Books'(The Long Walk, The Running Man). Concentrating on either a single category or just reading the classics are what I tend to do. As he is extremely repetitive in his themes and trademarks. Don't think of him as just one author in the approach, think of him as and entire genre of his own.

The two Covenant Trilogy are definitely what I would have suggested after reading quite a bit of the fantasy genre, it sets above the others. It also stands out to me because although it manages to borrow more from Lord of the Rings and D&D than most other recent works(I think the gold ring clinches that)It uses it in a less repackaged and unique way. Not to knock any series I don't mention, but for me when I think back on the Fantasy that I've read the others that stand out with their own unique 'flare' are

Terry Pratchett, whose book written with Neil Gaiman is being made into film by Terry Gilliam

Robert Jordan, Even with the longwindedness and questioning him as an author I have to finish it. It does have a level of depth and story quality rarely found. Although I do wonder if what we do end up with will be lower quality than we would have gotten if he had written say... 8 books in the time that it will take him to finish all 12+.

Terry Goodkinds Sword of Truth. I'm surprised noone mentioned this. The man tells a great story. The quality(in my opinion) goes down as you progress in the series, but not in the same rehashed way as Jordan does it. I can't suggest the whole series for these reasons while sticking to time constraints, but I can suggest the first book "Wizards First Rule."

Also, I don't suggest getting involved in many of the D&D series' but "Dragons of the Summer Flame" is just amazing, especially if you know a a touch of the backstory. But as far as completism goes... just pretend that there aren't any other books. Not that there aren't others of quality.

And just because I think he's underapreciated,
Iain M. Banks
His books are hard to find outside of Britain(where I've seen entire Bookshelves dedicated to him), but I'd suggest "Feersum Endjinn" Which is basically a post-technological Fantasy (think Final Fantasy past 6) thing, "Player of Games" and my favorite, a classic example of a space-opera "Consider Phlebas". He also writes contemporary fiction as Iain Banks. It's on and off, and usually incredibly odd. Start with the Wasp Factory if you feel the need.

my 2(00,000,000)-cents,
-Heatwave
(Apologies for wasting anyones space or time with this message.)(ed. cutting )
This comment was edited on Oct 25, 02:33.
 
-Heatwave
(Apologies for wasting anyones space or time with this message.)
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30. Re: Fantasy Author Oct 24, 2002, 20:09 Quaternion
 
Yeah Salvatore's one of the best. I've read all his Forgotten Realms novels and I'd like to try out his Demon Wars series. I hear those are just as good as the Drizzt and Cadderly series. They revolve around an epic plot (Dragonlance Chronicles or Wheel of Time style) more than they do around a single character.

I just went to a book signing 2 days ago and got a poster and his new book, The Thousand Orcs, autographed. My friends and I also got to talk to him for about 15 minutes before the signing. He's a really nice guy and enjoys talking to his fans, even during the signing, instead of just trying to rush everyone along. He was telling us how he logged in to EQ a few days ago to play his level 51 wizard. He killed a few critters, sat down to meditate... waited... played the gems game... waited... waited... was at half mana, then remembered that's why he hadn't played in a while and logged out. LOL! I know the feeling.

 
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29. Re: Books and.. wth? Oct 24, 2002, 18:59 snide
 
I can't stand Steinbeck, although I dig the way he writes I hate his themes. I also can't stand Hemingway. The only American "classic" authors I can handle are salinger, heller, and all the beatnick guys. Oh and Rand, whose writing is more American then any "native" American I can think of. Does Hunter S. Thompson count as well? hehe. Classic Lit I mostly dig the Russians (Tolstoy, Checkov and Dostoyevsky) and the Frogmen (Hugo and Dumas). Most Victorian era shit I can't stand aside from Henry James, who despite writing in the style is obviously not a Victorian writer, lol. The only contemporary authors I regularly read are Colleen McCullough (thorn birds) and Ken Follet, who should quit trying to make money and be clancy all the time and get back to his pillars of the earth (awesome awesome book) writing. Oh and nick hornby for light reading, just because High Fidelity is basically like reading my autobiography except for its character being in his 30s. From what I hear I'd really like Stephen King's stuff but I'm a bit of a completest when it comes to books so it'd be quite a committment to jump into.

As for the homogenious comment, I've thought the same thing but find it even funnier that I have zero friends with similar interests in real life. I wish I had more nerd friends like myself, I never got the oppurtunity as a kid to roll a 12 sided die! Damn football, rock music and girls, they ruined my ability to be a true nerd. Is there a nerd city we could all move to? I bet the economy would rock there and the sims wouldn't be the best selling game. The TV would have well financed sci-fi shows followed by Monte Python comedy. Too bad the male to female ratio in such a city would be worse than a military school. Blue, go found this mecca, you already have a blue tower, you could be the king. All hail Blue and his praise be his name. According to the media, we are all trained killers and could make quite an army.

 
dave snider
comicvine.com
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