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>> No. 5456 Anonymous
4th April 2014
Friday 3:02 am
5456 Vurt
This was really good.
394 posts omitted. Last 50 posts shown. Expand all images.
>> No. 7345 Anonymous
18th September 2021
Saturday 10:51 pm
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>>7344
Just read it. Characteristically silly ending.
>> No. 7346 Anonymous
19th September 2021
Sunday 12:59 am
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Fuck Thomas Mann and fuck Germany. There's no humanity in this book, it's just a young insular man pattering about in a mountain health retreat getting browbeaten by an Giuseppe, a failed clergyman, some hoe and his doctor. Yes, you can certainly tell that the author stopped and came back to it at which point he shoved his mental diarrhea onto the pages and found a narcoleptic editor to approve it.

I make a point not to leave books unfinished so after 752 pages I assure you I will not be following Mann's advice to 'read it again' to get it.
>> No. 7347 Anonymous
19th September 2021
Sunday 8:07 pm
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>>7346

I was struggling to read his Doctor Faustus and your post I feel has justified me in my decision to desist from continuing it.

I've started reading Ottessa Moshfegh's 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' and I really like the voice, and would recommend that if you're looking for good fiction.

I am also reading the Francis Bacon Biog that came out this year and it is likewise really interesting.
>> No. 7348 Anonymous
26th September 2021
Sunday 11:43 am
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I should read Douglas Adams more.
>> No. 7351 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 12:42 pm
7351 The Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux
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The author is a misanthropic bastard, but this is really good travel writing.

It transports the reader to another place (a railway tour of Europe and Asia), but also another time (the 1970s). The 50 years that have passed since this book was written mean that you simply cannot visit these places any more. I found it fascinating.
>> No. 7352 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 1:26 pm
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I'm finding Brave New World difficult to finish. I don't care about the characters nor understand how the 'civilised world' works. Thank god it's short, else it'd join the long list of books I've only partially read.

I guess this is one of those books that must be viewed from the perspective of its own time? Apparently this was written in the 1930's.
>> No. 7353 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 1:58 pm
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>>7352
It's best read from the perspective that Huxley initially thought he was writing a novel set in a utopian world until a friend upon reading a draft commented that it was an absolute nightmare. Drop it and if you must read 20th century dystopian literature then pick up Zamyatin's We and read it in the context of the early years of the USSR.

Ever notice how we don't get books like these anymore. Or revolutionary movements outside of Islamism.
>> No. 7354 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 2:57 pm
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>>7353
"Books like these" in what sense?
>> No. 7355 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 5:48 pm
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>>7354
Dystopian sci-fi novels where the 'sci' is merely a part of advancing the setting, a handwave to address how a civilization built a new reality for itself. For example you can scan any library and find books like The Algebraist or Last Contact but they're always quite hard on human's adapting to this or that but no grand social-engineering. We make a lot of fiction about a future humanity dealing with some concept on physics these days.

In another example you have the review Philip K. Dick made of 1984 as being not so much science fiction but a caricature of the Soviet Union at the time of writing. Which let's be honest it unmistakably was.
>> No. 7356 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 6:18 pm
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>>7355
The most recent Hunger Games book was released last year. That sort of thing was immensely popular until quite recently. I'm sure there's still plenty being written hoping to catch the Zeitgeist again.
>> No. 7357 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 6:22 pm
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>>7352
It's shit
>> No. 7358 Anonymous
11th December 2021
Saturday 6:26 pm
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>>7355

Have a look at Manna by Marshall Brain. It was written in 2003 by a Silicon Valley insider and is extraordinarily prescient about the implications of automation-led inequality. Along similar lines, you should definitely take a look at The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster, which is hugely influential but broadly unknown.
>> No. 7359 Anonymous
15th December 2021
Wednesday 7:50 am
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This is the second Iain Banks novel I've read. I picked up The Wasp Factory about four years ago and it's one of my favourite books. I've found A Song of Stone, on the other hand, to be rather shite.

I get that the protagonist is a conceited twat and that's why the writing was very flowery, but I found the first half in particular a bit of a drudge to get through; you could have cut about 50 pages out between returning to the castle and the shell with no real detriment to the story. Banks' shtick of getting weird for the sake of getting weird also felt like too much of a gimmick for me.
>> No. 7360 Anonymous
15th December 2021
Wednesday 10:05 am
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>>7359
I didn't really get The Wasp Factory. It was just grim from cover to cover. Almost like a nightmare.
>> No. 7361 Anonymous
15th December 2021
Wednesday 10:24 am
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>>7360
That ghastliness of The Wasp Factory didn't bother me and I found it engrossing. I like stories with a sense of adventure where you're not entirely sure what's going to happen next.

A Song of Stone was largely a foregone conclusion about what would happen. It's essentially a long aristocrats joke meshed in with the horrors of an unspecified war, it'll have been written about the time Bosnia was being cleansed, with the odd juxtaposition on morality thrown in.
>> No. 7362 Anonymous
15th December 2021
Wednesday 9:02 pm
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Complicity is pretty good. Hard Boiled Scottish Detective Noire written in the second person with a soundtrack by the Pixies.

The Crow Road is arguably his best.

Not including the Iain M Banks Culture series which you should start working your way through immediately.
>> No. 7363 Anonymous
15th December 2021
Wednesday 10:44 pm
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This book is fucking dumb and I say that as a fan of Joe Pera. What we got for the long wait was a simple picture book that isn't particularly funny or insightful and whose artwork is just ugly.

Oh well at least I gave him some money for keeping me relaxed during the pandemic and I now have a bathroom book for guests.
>> No. 7364 Anonymous
23rd December 2021
Thursday 9:41 pm
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The Sleeper Awakes is a dystopian science fiction novel about a man who finds out he owns most of the world, thanks to a trust managing his money on his behalf whilst he slept for just over 200 years. The trust, of course, never expected him to wake up again. It's alright, quite campy, but it gets very racist when the 'negro police' are on the scene.
>> No. 7366 Anonymous
2nd January 2022
Sunday 7:19 pm
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Qualityland is hilarious, its a dystopian novel about what if Amazon was brought in as consultants to help fix Germany following a financial crisis. In one section in outlines how books have become personalised to the user so the Bible becomes a father-son story with a Star Wars twist and The Trial is an action story.
>> No. 7367 Anonymous
2nd January 2022
Sunday 7:48 pm
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The title is a little clickbait but its an assessment of what has gone wrong between Sino-American relations in recent years followed by a sober analysis of the difference between the two and some predictions for the future.

The main selling point is it's written by a former senior diplomat for Singapore so you get a different perspective acknowledging how the current rivalry has been caused by strategic miscalculations from both sides. It provides a good overview of how China alienated the American business community from a lack of central control and how it continually fails to provide proper spokesmen and voices to the wider world outside of party slogans - including a report of a British diplomat who found it painful to deal with the Chinese who continually treat Britain with disdain that highlights why China has no friends. Equally you get a look at how the US has pushed conflict with China by violating its own agreements and putting China into position where it can't save face but is now in a position where it faces a serious challenge in beating China in a cold war it started. Also contains such gems as Europe needing to work with China in Africa because the US cannot possibly afford to support African development and the existential problem that eleventy-billion African migrants crossing the Mediterranean over the next century will either erase Europe or send it into right-wing extremism.

You can tell it was written in late 2019 though. In one comparison the author talks about how being born in China may be a better bet than being born in the US as the poorest Chinese will fair better in life, which is probably still valid but obviously the book describes what is going on in Xinjiang as detention motivated by terrorist attacks akin to the US in Afghanistan because I guess the whole genocide angle hadn't become public knowledge by then. It also has a very Singaporean approach to Hong Kong where the issue isn't democracy and the rule of law but how the population wasn't pacified by provision of social housing, which is rather out of step with the Hong Kongers I've met who hate the mainland Chinese as a people and the CCP for deliberately ruining the city.
>> No. 7368 Anonymous
2nd January 2022
Sunday 11:11 pm
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>>7367
Did you read this just to better chat up Hong Kong expats? Be honest.
>> No. 7369 Anonymous
3rd January 2022
Monday 12:22 am
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>>7367
>the book describes what is going on in Xinjiang as detention motivated by terrorist attacks akin to the US in Afghanistan because I guess the whole genocide angle hadn't become public knowledge by then
I am confident that the Uyghur stuff was already being described as a genocide in 2019. I can't prove it, but the Wikipedia page (which is actually titled "Uyghur genocide", in an astonishing statement of non-impartiality for the usually impartial Wikipedia) says it started in 2014, but most of the references are in fact from mid-2019 or later.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyghur_genocide
Anyway, your review of this book makes me suspect its author is more pro-China than I am.

I went into my local library to read a random book a few weeks ago, because I needed to waste a couple of hours. I only read about 30 pages of "America and Iran: A History", but those 30 pages were bloody fantastic so you might enjoy it if you like this sort of thing.
>> No. 7378 Anonymous
11th January 2022
Tuesday 6:50 pm
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I'm hoping the rest of the Culture series is a marked improvement because this was alright, but it certainly wasn't anything to write home about and it dragged in parts.
>> No. 7379 Anonymous
10th February 2022
Thursday 8:02 pm
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This was, indeed, a marked improvement.
>> No. 7380 Anonymous
10th February 2022
Thursday 8:08 pm
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I think Mieville is definitely writing for adults now. Not to everyone's tastes but this one just works as a little gem of a story; somewhere between The Road and... I want to say Kafka but can't really say why. Something Liggotiesque maybe. It has the feel of Urban Fantasy but is extremely bleak.
>> No. 7381 Anonymous
28th February 2022
Monday 11:36 pm
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I've not finished it yet but it, it's an odd book. I get many of the examples are cromulent solutions with real evidence behind them but as a 'maximiser' (you can find the quiz here: https://www.loganury.com/quiz) it feels like it falls into the same pitfall most dating stuff suffers which is that you can't really write a book on men and women at the same time. I'm also horrified at the thought of women freezing their eggs as they reach their 30s - it makes me feel old.

One thing I am now certain about is that I absolutely would not date this woman, she prattles on about Beyoncé and announces her 'dad jokes'. She works at Hinge after an illustrious career working on porn and sex-toy big data research. She seems a uniquely cosmopolitan American stereotype. But it does make sense, I know my mean of a 'good candidate' from boiling down the population I've dated so far - a 33% sample size.
>> No. 7382 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 12:08 am
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>>7381

I don't want to get a cunt off started but I really can't help the thought that the last people anyone should listen to about dating is women. At least, pre-menopause ones, anyway.

Trouble is they don't know what it is they want themselves. They make up all sorts of justifications but they are never quite honest with themselves. It's not their fault, and I don't hold it against them, but it is quite tragic, they have a real handicap, and the vast majority of them are totally blind to it.

I'm not saying men are any better, at least not inherently; but the thing is men have to learn to adapt and overcome. A man doesn't get anywhere unless he examines himself and puts in some effort, but the pressure isn't on women to do that. So they end up having lots of casual flings, but by the time they're hitting 35 and haven't been with anybody for longer than a year in their life, they his a level of bitterness that even the chronics will never surpass.

And yet those are always the kind of women writing the love life and sex tips columns, writing books about dating and self help, and running apps like Hinge. The least qualified people.

It baffles me.

Is she single by any chance?
>> No. 7383 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 12:30 am
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>>7382
I would happily ask a woman for advice, but I always reserve the right to utterly ignore that advice. Like if a woman asked me how to make men like her, I would tell her how to make me like her. And a woman would not give advice on how to make women in general like me; she would just tell me how to make her like me. And that advice could be completely and utterly wrong. But I am aware of this possibility when I offer such advice, and I can't see this woman having that self-awareness. So many women get outraged if I say no women like me, that I think I am just entitled to them personally, but if I ask them to set me up with another woman who isn't them and who might like me more, they refuse and then I post on britfa.gs about it.
>> No. 7384 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 12:34 am
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And I've just done her quiz and I hate it. And it doesn't even tell you your results unless you hand over your email address. Nope. What a shit quiz.
>> No. 7385 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 2:23 am
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>>7383

The problem as I see it is that women don't have an equivalent concept to "thinking with your cock". Men are generally far more aware of and honest about the terrible decisions they make.

If your missus is fucking mental but she sucks like a Dyson, we don't blame her for being mental, we blame you for sticking with her. Very few women will ever admit that awful bastards are their type, they just seem to think that they have terrible luck with men. Maybe it's cultural repression of female sexuality, maybe it's an artefact of the traditional pursuer/pursued dynamic, but women are often completely oblivious to how they choose men. There's a mindset of passivity, as if they don't actually have any agency in the process.
>> No. 7386 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 7:57 am
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>>7385
>Very few women will ever admit that awful bastards are their type, they just seem to think that they have terrible luck with men

I realise this is a sweeping generation, but women tend to be more interested in adrenalised love than men are. They need the lows so they can get the rush from the highs, rather than a steady relationship. They're bombarded with the narrative that they'll meet the one and the romance will be so exciting that it'll blow their socks off. The reality is they'll only get that validation when they don't entirely know where they stand with someone, getting that high once they're fleetingly showered with positive attention.

Women have so much choice when it comes to potential partners that it's easier for them to move on to someone else if they're not getting that rush. If you regularly give them positive attention they'll take it for granted and see it as boring. Again, I'm aware this is a huge generalisation.
>> No. 7387 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 2:45 pm
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>>7386

Then again, once a lot of women have gotten all the bad boys out of their system, they often settle for somebody who gives them stability. Faced with shrinking choice of potential mates by their early 30s, women often realise they have only so many rounds of dick on demand left to play. Getting near the end of their reproductive window then also plays a part in that.

Which is no guarantee that it'll work out with stability lad. Because deep down, women never lose that yearning for the brash bad boy who gives them that rollercoaster.
>> No. 7388 Anonymous
1st March 2022
Tuesday 3:14 pm
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>>7385

>The problem as I see it is that women don't have an equivalent concept to "thinking with your cock". Men are generally far more aware of and honest about the terrible decisions they make.

Yeah, this is what I meant by being honest with themselves. They have all the same agency as men do, both sexes are capable of being shallow and making poor decisions; the difference is they typically insist on going through the motions of pretending like it could be a real relationship, so that they don't feel like a slut, or that they're using somebody. The trouble with that is they'll often lose sight of their own self deception and end up a year and a half down the line with a lad they only really wanted to be with because he had a big cock and a flash car, wondering why he's such an arsehole.

Lads are, at least, generally capable of acknowledging to themselves that they only liked a bird because of her tits or whatever. It is probably a gender role/social conditioning thing, because the root of it seems to be attempting to avoid being a bad person, even if ultimately it's by lying to themselves, whereas men are more comfortable with just being a bastard and owning it. I think this is ultimately what those slay queen, "boss bitch" type fisherfolk are really trying to emulate, but they're always overcompensating and never quite pull it off.

>>7386

There's probably some truth to this too, I realise you acknowledge it's a generalisation (as is all of this) but I think that applies more to a certain class of woman than to others. I hate to bring class into yet another discussion again, but I think the desire for "excitement" like that is a bit more of a chav lass thing. They generally don't expect a partner to be loaded, because nobody they'll ever be taken seriously by is. They might be fit enough to gold dig with some rich blokes, but those rich blokes will only ever treat them as a fling and they learn that pretty quickly. So for them the excitement fills in for it.

Middle and upper class women on the other hand are much more content to find a dull but reliable lad who has a good career and offers a lot of stability. The trouble is that falls into the same trap of self deceit, they eventually forget they were mainly attracted to his career prospects, and that they overlooked the fact he can't hold an extended conversation about anything but PC hardware or Warhammer. So they find themselves disillusioned when they've been with him for three years and realise they hate the cunt, but really it was their choice.
>> No. 7389 Anonymous
2nd March 2022
Wednesday 10:13 am
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I'm about 120 pages into this, roughly a quarter of the way through, and I'm toying with whether to give it up. This is the third Banks novel where it's very hard for me to care about any of the characters or be invested in what happens to them. I've noticed all three of them have a female character whose sole personality is "being a badass", but his female characters in general seem quite two-dimensional.

It's very rare for me to give up on a book, I think I've only done it twice in the past twenty years of regular reading, but I don't feel motivated when I see I have another ~370 pages of this to go. Does it get better?
>> No. 7390 Anonymous
2nd March 2022
Wednesday 12:57 pm
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>>7389
It does get better, but it never gets properly good. It's one I rarely return to, despite being an appalling autist for re-reading stuff.
If you're not feeling it, why not spend your precious time elsewhere? There's plenty of choice. Just been round matter & algebraist again on audiobook at a few hours a day, and they're in a different league.
>> No. 7391 Anonymous
2nd March 2022
Wednesday 8:58 pm
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>>7390
Thanks, lad. I'll give it another chapter or two and if I'm still not feeling it I'll sack it off. I was planning on reading Feersum Endjinn next, but I might have a bit of a break from Banks' work instead.
>> No. 7392 Anonymous
3rd March 2022
Thursday 4:38 pm
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>>7388

>So they find themselves disillusioned when they've been with him for three years and realise they hate the cunt, but really it was their choice.

You kind of can't win with women in that respect. You ticked all the boxes when you met, but that is then held against you when she changes her mind and thinks you're a boring git.

I guess you're getting nowhere if you're not at least one or two percent arsehole underneath. It will make even the most tedious dinner party conversation about the finer points of your IT job forgivable.
>> No. 7393 Anonymous
21st March 2022
Monday 1:04 am
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Finished Against A Dark Background (and the unpublished epilogue online).

>It does get better, but it never gets properly good.

Summed it up pretty accurately.
>> No. 7394 Anonymous
23rd March 2022
Wednesday 5:59 pm
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I've been reading Ray Dalio's recent book Changing World Order. Basically a billionaire investor talking about his process to understand and predict economic trends on a global level and how we're at the end of a 75 year debt cycle and about to get utterly fucked in about 10-15 years as China becomes the dominant superpower.

Anyway, it's a throwaway line but I can't believe nobody has picked up on him talking about genetic differences between populations representing a 10% difference in capacity. This he regards as insignificant compared to other factors like a society actually investing in human capital but, fucking hell, if I said that at work I'd be out on my arse. Can billionaires just say whatever they want?
>> No. 7395 Anonymous
23rd March 2022
Wednesday 10:24 pm
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>>7394


>> No. 7396 Anonymous
24th March 2022
Thursday 10:04 pm
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The other week I was chatting with a couple of sci-fi enthusiasts, aged in their eighties, and asked them to recommend a few books to try.

Their first suggestion was The Death of Grass. The Chung-Li virus originated in China, where it wiped out the rice crop and led to mass famine; as the Chinese downplayed the virus it rapidly spread around Asia, bringing about societal collapse. Efforts to create a counter-virus lead to it mutating and affecting all grasses, including crops such as wheat, and eventually it devastates Europe. America and the Antipodes stop sending aid supplies because they decide they need to isolate and look after themselves. Despite talking about the stiff upper lip and being more civilised than "the Asiatics" the shit hits the fan once the public realise the government have been lying to them about the continuation of aid and progress against treating the virus, as well as the secret plans to nuke most major cities to bring the population down to a more sustainable level.

That's the backdrop anyway. The story concerns one man, his family and the people they pick up along the way trying to flee from London to his brother's farm in Cumbria as the country descends into barbarism and the need to survive overrides everything else. It's a fairly light read and only took about three days for me to work my way through it.
>> No. 7397 Anonymous
31st March 2022
Thursday 9:04 pm
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This was the first thing I'd read by Harlan Ellison. It left me with the distinct feeling that his writing may have been seen as groundbreaking about 60 years, but to the modern reader it won't stick out as being remarkable. My favourite story in the collection was Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes.
>> No. 7398 Anonymous
31st March 2022
Thursday 11:48 pm
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>>7397

He's one of those ideas guys I think. It's more about an exploration of the higher level concept than the storytelling itself.
>> No. 7399 Anonymous
22nd April 2022
Friday 10:48 pm
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It wasn't brilliant, but it was the first book in a while that I've actually felt myself enjoying whilst reading it.
>> No. 7400 Anonymous
23rd April 2022
Saturday 8:31 am
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>>7399
If I'm anything like you, sometimes all it takes is something easily consumable and a bit fun to rekindle (pun intended) my reading habits.

I don't why I can't be arsed reading sometimes, but when it happens I''ll drop a book mid chapter and not return for 6 months, as I've decided that trying to learn how to soder properly is immensely important. Again. For the 20th time.
>> No. 7401 Anonymous
5th May 2022
Thursday 12:57 am
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Finally got around to reading Children of Time and yeah it was alright. The book is Avatar done right where the alien civilization is actually radically different and it's all accounted for which is pretty neat to explore for worldbuilding. Plus there's the whole dying embers of humanity subplot that take place over thousands of years due to the non-FTL universe.

Reading the sequel now but how was that the happy ending. Imagine letting a race of sentient spiders with virus symbionts mess around with your brain and permanently alter your genetic makeup to make you docile and useful to them. I knew it wasn't going to end well when humanity didn't push a dinosaur killer asteroid or two towards the planet either on the outgoing (out of spite) or trip back.
>> No. 7402 Anonymous
5th May 2022
Thursday 1:30 am
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>>7401
Children of Time is one of the best episodes of DS9, never knew it was the title of a novel.
>> No. 7403 Anonymous
7th May 2022
Saturday 1:29 am
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This was entertaining enough, but it did leave the impression what could have been an impressive novella was stretched out by at least a hundred more pages than necessary.

I might try one of his other books down the line, see how he developed as a writer. I don't know if dated is the right term but there were a few things in the book, like the occasional use of 'retarded', which did make it feel like it was of its time and giving a snapshot of how gaming/internet culture was c. 10/15 years ago.
>> No. 7404 Anonymous
22nd June 2022
Wednesday 3:09 pm
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I had been reading If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino, but I made the mistake of putting it down for a week and I just could not get back into it.

Anyway, I had intended to read Lost Boy by Christina Henry as I'd heard good things about her dark fantasy re-tellings of fairy-tales but for some reason (probably because it was cheaper) I ended up getting The Mermaid instead. It's about a mermaid who leaves the ocean after falling in love, although she ages much slower than her human husband and after years alone she eventually agrees to become an exhibit at showman P. T. Barnum's museum so she can earn enough money to travel around the world. It wasn't bad but the writing felt rather simplistic at times and the points it makes through the eyes of a non-human about society, religion and how women are treated as inferior to men, particularly in them days, is done with all of the subtlety of a brick to the face.

In short, meh.
>> No. 7405 Anonymous
29th June 2022
Wednesday 1:11 pm
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I enjoyed this, although I imagine Sedaris would be rather insufferable in real life.

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