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>> No. 5456 Anonymous
4th April 2014
Friday 3:02 am
5456 Vurt
This was really good.
Expand all images.
>> No. 5457 Anonymous
5th April 2014
Saturday 4:26 pm
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Seconded. I enjoy novels where reality is either flexible, blurred or distorted by the viewpoint of a particular character, and Jeff Noon does these things well. I also like the light touch to the surrealism in Vurt which probably shouldn't work, but does.

Also, thanks for the reminder; I still have Falling Out of Cars to read.
>> No. 5458 Anonymous
5th April 2014
Saturday 11:53 pm
5458 spacer
I read a rather interesting analysis of vurt shortly after finishing it which tied the ideas and themes into fractal geometry and some of the ideas put forth by Hofstadter in Eternal Golden Braid and I am a strange loop. It was particularly interesting to me as I'd not made the connection but had bought all three second hand on a whim the same day from the same shop. I also bought something by Campbell that day, who is also mentioned. Not that my own instances of apophenia are of interest to anyone else. Here's the analysis anyway: http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/113/wenaus.html
>> No. 5459 Anonymous
12th April 2014
Saturday 6:56 pm
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This was weird and genius in a number of ways. About fifty pages too long. Should be required reading for conspiracy theorists, it might shut them up occasionally.
>> No. 5461 Anonymous
25th April 2014
Friday 3:35 pm
Oh, this is bloody marvellous. And weird yes, but in the right way.

I'm considering to read Wilson's Prometheus Rising. Looks promising.
>> No. 5462 Anonymous
25th April 2014
Friday 3:59 pm
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This was an easy enough read but a bit pointless. Just well-meaning pop-psych/pop-evo-psych. The whole thing can be summed up in a paragraph.

>Men sexually imprint at about 6 to 10 years of age, women don't imprint but are generally more flexible. Failing to properly teach kids about sex causes more and weirder paraphillias, like plants growing through concrete. It's not their fault they get twisted. Also the author used to wank over pictures of Neanderthals when he was young.

Funnily enough I just ordered a copy of that.
>> No. 5463 Anonymous
25th April 2014
Friday 4:04 pm
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This was entertaining but very silly. Strong YA fiction. The way cyberspace (or levels-of-reality) was handled doesn't compare to the artfulness of Vurt, however.
>> No. 5464 Anonymous
25th April 2014
Friday 4:08 pm
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This is astonishingly well written for a seventeen year old. Reminiscent of Moorcock in terms of themes but the prose is much clearer and entertaining. Sadly the plot is a little bit aimless but it's less than 200 pages so you won't feel like you've wasted much time on it. The what look to be wood-cut illustrations are charming.
>> No. 5465 Anonymous
25th April 2014
Friday 10:50 pm
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> Funnily enough I just ordered a copy of that.

Share your thoughts after reading a few pages of it, please.
>> No. 5466 Anonymous
28th April 2014
Monday 1:12 am
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Vurt Konnegut?
>> No. 5467 Anonymous
28th April 2014
Monday 12:08 pm
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I've not read Prometheus Rising(been meaning to for ages), but The Illuminatus Trilogy blew my tiny little mind when I were a teenlad. Also Cosmic Trigger is well worth a read, it's quite short and a lot more biographical but really interesting. RAW is pretty out there in a lot of ways but the humour and deeply humanistic slant he has on things is lovely.

I'd say also check out some of his talks on youtube, he's a great speaker and just great fun to listen to. Some of his ideas are maybe slightly dated but he was very much a product of his time. Highly intelligent and just seemed like a lovely bloke.
>> No. 5468 Anonymous
28th April 2014
Monday 2:37 pm
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The humour and humanistic slant reminded me of Douglas Adams. So did the plot, in some ways.
>> No. 5469 Anonymous
28th April 2014
Monday 3:33 pm
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Yeah they both have that highly intelligent but absurdist take on things which I enjoy. I can barely remember the plot to Illuminatus it's been so long, aside from the conspiracy within conspiracy Hail Eris! bonkerness of it. I remember it being a proper head fuck and really enjoying it though. Some of Wilson's ideas are pretty fucking mad but he always seems open to the idea that he's entirely wrong about them which is, I think, an admirable quality. All the stuff about channeling entities from the Sirius star system and Pucas and his love of synchonicty are all just fucking bonkers but he seems like a beacon of sanity amongst the madness when you actually listen to or read him.
Either way he is/was an incredibly interesting bloke. I still often listen to his talks and interviews on youtube, there's something really comforting about them. I wish there were more "Old Bobs" about.

I also think he's actually been quite influential on a lot of counter cultural type stuff. I'm sure he'd fucking love all the insane music industry illuminati symbology and theory that is so prevalent nowadays. Although maybe the fact that it often seems to be nothing other than a marketing gimmick nowadays is a bit shit.
I reckon Operation Mindfuck has definitely been in full effect for a while now though.

I think I'll grab Prometheus Rising and maybe Vurt as well. Haven't read any good scifi in a bit.

Also if people are into their scifi and haven't read any of Iain M bank's 'Culture' novels you really are missing out. They're flipping great books.
>> No. 5470 Anonymous
30th April 2014
Wednesday 9:13 pm
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genuinely brilliant, words fucking on a page, not quite so much as nymphomation but still lyrical.
>> No. 5471 Anonymous
30th April 2014
Wednesday 10:04 pm
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Only finished the preface and introduction to PR and I already feel like I should probably rewatch the lectures on the 8-circuit mind then read the Dhammapada and Intro to General Semantics before I carry on with the rest of the book. Never mind, time for that later.
>> No. 5472 Anonymous
30th April 2014
Wednesday 11:52 pm
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This one. Quite good, I'd say.
>> No. 5473 Anonymous
1st May 2014
Thursday 1:37 am
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I've heard Stephenson is quite unsubtle and more for the YA market than anything. Do correct me if I'm wrong.
>> No. 5474 Anonymous
1st May 2014
Thursday 3:39 pm
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I don't really know, lad; I'm no expert in appraising books. I find his books (so far I have read the Baroque Cycle) interesting and entertaining.
>> No. 5475 Anonymous
6th May 2014
Tuesday 2:32 pm
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This took a lot longer to finish than I expected as life got in the way. I started off making notes on each chapter as I went along but they weren't anything of any interest to anyone else and were making me pick holes in the writing rather than appreciating it for itself so I stopped after a couple of chapters.
It is definitely worth reading. Witty and full of interesting ideas presented clearly. Some of it is clearly false or suspect but the author acknowledges that as being unavoidable and it doesn't really detract from the theories. There's probably some validity to the stuff about circuits but I'm not entirely convinced. The imprinting stuff seems close to the mark. The best bits are probably the way he explains subjective reality, even if you are aware of it, it's very good at repeating the same point in a way that isn't boring but makes it easier to remember yourself and use as a tool in that way. The Milligan-esque drawings are a nice touch. I'd certainly recommend the book, it's generally logical and nothing like the hippy claptrap one might expect. Not a whole lot in it that you couldn't learn from Illuminatus! if you tried but it does clarify the points he's making.

Sorry, I'm instinctively inclined to be snobbish about books, completely unfairly in this case as I've never read anything of his. I'll give it a go in the near future.
>> No. 5476 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 6:43 am
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I wouldn't bother with Stephenson, to be honest. I picked up Quicksilver from my local second hand bookshop, because it was big, cheap, and the owner had heard it might be worth a read. I guess it isn't bad, but yeah more YA I feel. I got about two thirds of the way through, put it down because I had picked up something else, and haven't bothered picking it up again for over a month. I don't usually do that.

Also, Stephenson is nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Nowhere near...

If you haven't read any Iain M Banks, go for that. Get Excession. I think you will enjoy that as a (incredibly intense) starter book.
>> No. 5477 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 11:53 am
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Maybe I am far too YA in my head for my own good still but I liked Stephenson's earlier work particularly Snow Crash which is still a latter-day classic of the genre. I found Cryptonomicon a bit too over-arching for me and I would have preferred if it'd just stayed on the present-day thread. I haven't read any of his Baroque trilogy stuff because it seemed just too self-masturbatory. The last book of his I managed to complete was The Diamond Age which I seem to have fond memories of despite not actually enjoying reading it at all at the time.

Pic related is one of my more recent reads, just to reduce the pointlessness of this post slightly.
>> No. 5478 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 2:21 pm
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I've read a lot of Greg Bear and Asimov, but only Ian Banks not Ian M. How does he compare to the other two?

Any comments to make on that 69 book?
>> No. 5479 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 2:52 pm
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> Any comments to make on that 69 book?

Bizarre but enjoyable enough that I'm hunting down one of his other books at the moment. The main downside is that the author obviously tries far too hard to be clever (or perhaps I mean tries far too hard to be avant-garde/post-modern/arty. You could almost imagine the book being displayed in the Tate Modern).

His writing style could be comparable to Will Self or William S Burroughs, although I'm sure the author himself would hate such comparisons.
>> No. 5480 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 4:11 pm
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It's okay, lad. I don't mind I am a bit like that myself. And thank you for the comment on „Prometheus rising”.
> Also, Stephenson is nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Nowhere near...
Can you please elaborate on that?
>> No. 5481 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 4:27 pm
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I know the author slightly and know just how much he would indeed hate those comparisons. I think your overall assessment is about right. Other titles of his which are especially worth seeking out are Come Before Christ and Murder Love and Memphis Underground.
>> No. 5482 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 5:47 pm
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Thanks for the tips. I'm currently waiting for an Amazon marketplace vendor to send me an apparently out of print Down and Out in Shoreditch and Hoxton. I'll see if I can track down the ones you recommend too.
>> No. 5483 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 6:36 pm
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Oh that is a good one. A curious fact about it is that every paragraph is exactly 100 words long - he was inspired by the sort of literary self-restrictions used by Georges Perec where he wrote a book without using the letter 'E'.

With 69 Things one of his primary sources was Ann Quin's novel 'Berg'. "A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father..."
>> No. 5484 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 10:23 pm
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Those are both pretty awesome things to know, thank you. I look forward to receiving Down and out, apparently some paragraphs are essentially cut-n-pasted with only key words changed in an almost Burroughsian style. That's about the only other thing I know about it.
>> No. 5485 Anonymous
7th May 2014
Wednesday 10:30 pm
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Just picked up a copy of Berg off Amazon, allegedly an original 1964 copy (although I'm dubious). Thanks again.
>> No. 5486 Anonymous
12th May 2014
Monday 2:46 pm
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Just finished this. Seems like a strong early novel but the use of alliteration and pointlessly obscure vocabulary crowbarred in detracts from the immersion somewhat. It felt like a serious version of Pratchett's, which is no bad thing. Not much connection felt to the characters plus the creature design was a bit weak. Points for effort in not using the same old fantasy world though. The world itself was intriguing and the plot enthralling enough. Very hard to shake the impression it wasn't just set in a weird London but that's ok. It's about on par with the city and the city, the best of his books in my humble opinion.
>> No. 5487 Anonymous
15th May 2014
Thursday 11:30 am
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This was an interesting contrast to Perdido Street Station. There are a lot of things to take issue with such as the oddly simplistic way her world functions, the obvious satires, the retro-active attempts to crowbar cultural references into the third novel and most particularly the infantile understanding of computers. A lot of it was just silly and it's unclear how intentional that is. In terms of the setting it's a lot weaker than The Handmaiden's Tale if only because that book didn't try to explain their reality in much detail so there's less to fall apart. But I'm being massively over-critical, because none of that stuff is particularly important. The storytelling and the dialogue is wonderful, the female characters seem very real and human, they're beautifully portrayed. Particularly the format she uses in the final of the trilogy, it was an engaging read.
Trigger warning: all three of these books have overt feminist and ecological agendas. Almost to Sexing the Cherry level of dogmatism but without the unpleasantness.
>> No. 5488 Anonymous
20th May 2014
Tuesday 10:49 pm
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A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking by G.R. Haskins.
A nice intro to cognitive biases, arguments and things like that.
>> No. 5489 Anonymous
20th May 2014
Tuesday 10:59 pm
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So simultaneously wacky, pretentious, yet ultimately middle-of-the-road. Sounds like standard Míeville to me.
>> No. 5490 Anonymous
20th May 2014
Tuesday 11:41 pm
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For some reason HR Giger dying inspired me to finally get around to reading Dune, he was meant to work on the film that never happened.

Also bought Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and a Ray Bradbury short stories collection for good measure.
>> No. 5491 Anonymous
21st May 2014
Wednesday 1:21 am
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Please don't remind me of Railsea. I maintain that Looking For Jake was a solid collection of stories.

I could be mistaken but I think Giger did do quite a bit of art in prep for it. I'm picturing a strange baby-faced tank. If you haven't seen them they're probably floating around somewhere assuming I didn't just imagine this.
>> No. 5492 Anonymous
21st May 2014
Wednesday 1:47 am
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Search for a documentary called Jodorowski's Dune, it shows a lot of the artwork that Giger and Moebius did for the film.
>> No. 5493 Anonymous
29th May 2014
Thursday 9:58 am
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Thanks, grabbing that now. Sounds fascinating.
>> No. 5494 Anonymous
3rd June 2014
Tuesday 10:59 pm
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Correct me if I'm wrong but I sense a slight despisal towards YA literature in your posts. Why? Lack of mature finesse? Lack of depth?
>> No. 5495 Anonymous
3rd June 2014
Tuesday 11:35 pm
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I don't know if I analyse literature in enough depth to know exactly what I dislike about it, I just usually find some fault or another with it.
Then again, I'm probably just trying too hard to feel like an adult.
>> No. 5496 Anonymous
4th June 2014
Wednesday 11:03 pm
5496 spacer
All right, cheers.
>> No. 5497 Anonymous
4th June 2014
Wednesday 11:48 pm
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Just finished re-reading this. Not much to say except it was definitely better the second time around. There's an awful lot I missed out on originally but it was much easier to understand the second time. The prose (even translated) is fluid and beautiful, the ideas complex and fascinating. It's a little like reading a kaleidoscope. Very difficult to explain to anyone what it's about.
In a way, not unlike the Stanley Parable of fiction. Only less depressing.
>> No. 5513 Anonymous
5th June 2014
Thursday 10:59 pm
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Orwell's "Politics and the English language". I tend to think that it can be applied to some other things as well, not only to the language.

Also I have started reading the aforementioned Prometheus Rising. Makes me wonder how will I carry out the bloody party exercises being a recluse. So far I have read only the introduction and the first chapter. Looks promising.
>> No. 5518 Anonymous
5th June 2014
Thursday 11:58 pm
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>> No. 5520 Anonymous
6th June 2014
Friday 12:33 am
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That article is far worse than the fact of any adult reading YA fiction. It's also addressing a far more juvenile level of novel than Gibson, Stephenson et al who've been name-dropped in this thread thus far.
>> No. 5521 Anonymous
6th June 2014
Friday 12:46 am
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>> No. 5548 Anonymous
6th June 2014
Friday 4:04 pm
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That prejudice only makes sense if you're one of those weirdos who fetishises the very idea of books and reading and want to make sure everyone knows what you're reading and what an intellectual you are.
>> No. 5578 Anonymous
29th June 2014
Sunday 2:24 pm
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You sound more than a little intellectually insecure yourself.
>> No. 5579 Anonymous
29th June 2014
Sunday 2:41 pm
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Nice one, "no u" is a classic of the genre.
>> No. 5580 Anonymous
29th June 2014
Sunday 2:51 pm
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It's also a valid observation.
>> No. 5581 Anonymous
29th June 2014
Sunday 3:59 pm
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I'll be sure to take note, Sigmund.
>> No. 5582 Anonymous
29th June 2014
Sunday 4:13 pm
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Four chapters through so far. It does assuredly maintain its status as an interesting book. Still struggling with exercises. I suppose it is all right, since the whole idea is about overcoming your "programming" but anyway.
> Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper.
> 2. Get roaring drunk and pound the table, telling everybody in
a loud voice just what dumb assholes they all are.
Gave me a good laugh.
>> No. 5583 Anonymous
29th June 2014
Sunday 4:33 pm
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I'll look forward to your equally lucid rants on /e/ and /v/ at people daring to discuss their opinions on the media they've enjoyed lately.

He has a great sense of humour. Do you think you'll try any of the exercises?
>> No. 5584 Anonymous
30th June 2014
Monday 3:53 pm
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> Do you think you'll try any of the exercises?
I have already. Haven't found enough coins yet but anyway. The one with discerning what people's Thinkers think and Provers prove is interesting but I think I haven't reached the full understanding. Assumptions only.

The "50-something questions" exercise was kind of easy. Get in and there are all kinds of weird questions flood in, just pick those on-topic. A very good thing to do whilst in the bogs.

The "can I beat the shit out of that person" exercise makes me somewhat wary. I think that's partly because of my combining it with Cooper's advice on remaining in condition yellow [1] when not home. As for getting pissed and knocking the table - tough shit.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Cooper#Combat_Mindset_and_the_Cooper_Color_Code
>> No. 5598 Anonymous
30th July 2014
Wednesday 3:54 pm
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>> No. 5599 Anonymous
30th July 2014
Wednesday 4:15 pm
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>> No. 5650 Anonymous
16th August 2014
Saturday 9:56 pm
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Going forwards. Chapters 8 and 9. This is where it starts to echo with some stuff I read earlier. Upbringing methods, specifically, and other things related.

> 1. Recreate vividly in imagination your first orgasm. To what extent do you still use the same accessories (stimuli) to turn you on?
Bloody hell. I have been consulting prof. Hans Jerkov since the age of 7, I think. It is going to be tough.
> 2. Try to change your sexual imprint. See if you can reach orgasm by some method that has been taboo or unthinkable to you before.
Well, shit. What do I do now, wank to fat transsexuals? This is going to be fun indeed.

There is another problem I have run into whilst reading this book. I think I have finally realised (or I am approaching to that realisation) how actually daft and ignorant I am. Not sure whether this is good or bad. I'd say it's rather good but something needs to be done about this.

Otherwise, continuing to read the book.
>> No. 5651 Anonymous
16th August 2014
Saturday 10:12 pm
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> 2. Try to change your sexual imprint. See if you can reach orgasm by some method that has been taboo or unthinkable to you before.
Doesn't sound like a very healthy book to me...
>> No. 5652 Anonymous
16th August 2014
Saturday 10:15 pm
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> I think I have finally realised (or I am approaching to that realisation) how actually daft and ignorant I am.

Cleverer individuals than you have been saying for a long time that the trick to being intelligent is remembering precisely how little of absolutely fuck all you actually know. You'll be fine.
>> No. 5653 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 2:45 pm
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Funniest book i've read.
>> No. 5654 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 3:10 pm
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>> No. 5655 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 3:27 pm
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This one advice is really innocent. See the discussion above.
I hope so.
>> No. 5656 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 5:31 pm
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>> No. 5657 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 7:10 pm
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This was really quite interesting. I read it as a child and somehow only picked up on one of the plots which stuck with me for years, but it was well worth re-reading.
>> No. 5658 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 7:13 pm
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This was ... weak. The plot is under developed and while striving to cover a great deal, feels short. It's also weirdly self-consciously sexist; the protagonists wife being a generally useless proto-MacGuffin who is aware of her own status as something to simply run around after the protagonist.
>> No. 5659 Anonymous
17th August 2014
Sunday 7:16 pm
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I haven't yet finished reading this but it is much better than Time. Sadly, a lot of what's interesting about it wouldn't make sense without having read Time. I don't know how sensible any of the authors ideas are, really, the stories being not very hard science, but reading this has thrown a lot of light on what Baxter and Pratchett are trying to achieve with the Long series.
I guess if you read the first and enjoy it, save your time and money by reading a synopsis of Time rather than reading the book itself, then move onto this one.
>> No. 5686 Anonymous
2nd September 2014
Tuesday 9:34 pm
5686 Chapter 10
> Refute this whole book
Well Mr. Wilson, I have been wondering when you'd ask. Whether the expectation of such request is obvious or not, I have been asking this question to myself since I started to read this book.

Anyway. Going through the "we are all right, you are all wrong; it is unlikely that one as wrong as you will become right ever but we'll try to teach you" part has reminded me one particular tech forum. I doubt they had ever been trying to reimprint someone (and if they had, they probably failed miserably) but the principle echoes the very principles of communication with "newchaps" on that forum. I do even recall behaving like that myself sometimes. Damn shame.

I have also hit the metaphorical trap door of thinking about brainwashing evasion. It seems to be fairly easy from the comfy arm-chair but I doubt that it really is. I am not sure what would I do if I were drafted and thrown into a boot camp. Could I theoretically devise a strategy to remain myself, throw out all incoming bullshit whilst learning anything that's good? Or would that be too resource-consuming?

The following exercises propose to learn to listen and to observe. Maybe that'll help.
>> No. 5687 Anonymous
5th September 2014
Friday 3:12 pm
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At Swim-Two-Birds- image 3.jpg
Some fantastic and witty meta-fiction writing here, aside from the occasional segment composed of Epic Irish poetry, which tends to drag. At just over 200 pages this is a great light read.
>> No. 5688 Anonymous
5th September 2014
Friday 3:19 pm
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This is just absolute excellence in writing. The sort of book you can read and re-read and keep finding new stuff in. I've no idea where the treasure is hidden yet. There's not even any noncing, other than a strong pederast subtext, the most graphic of which is a sentence which refers to "plucking ripe figs and peaches" (paraphrased). It's worth reading for the poem alone, never mind the commentary. Best to not get a copy that says the author's name in a large font anywhere if there's any chance anyone will see it, else you will get some funny looks.
>> No. 5689 Anonymous
5th September 2014
Friday 3:29 pm
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>Best to not get a copy that says the author's name in a large font anywhere if there's any chance anyone will see it, else you will get some funny looks.
Which is a damn shame, because even Lolita is not the book people think it is. You do get some bloody funny looks if you read it on the bus though.
>> No. 5690 Anonymous
10th September 2014
Wednesday 7:38 pm
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This book is hilariously ineptly written. The author doesn't seem to know anything about teenagers or drugs.
>> No. 5691 Anonymous
10th September 2014
Wednesday 10:54 pm
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Oh, she's gloriously bad. Her name escapes me, but she wrote loads of similar books claiming to be the diaries of teenagers who got involved in [insert scare topic here] and had various awful things happen. I found 'Jay's Journal' in a charity shop a while back, which is another of hers, and it's hilarious. A teenager sells his soul to the devil via a demon named Raoul, with cattle mutilation and all sorts of other nonsense thrown in.
>> No. 5692 Anonymous
10th September 2014
Wednesday 11:00 pm
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This https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay%27s_Journal ?
I can't help but think Sparks has more harm than good with these ludicrous diaries. I'm sure she means well.
>> No. 5693 Anonymous
10th September 2014
Wednesday 11:45 pm
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That's the one; apologies for mis-spelling the demon's name. Comedy value of the books aside, I've no doubt you're right that she's done more harm than good, though given some of the allegations of unethical behaviour against her (the Barrett family aren't the only ones unhappy with the way she used material given to her if I remember rightly) I'm not sure if she genuinely means well or is simply the equivalent of a tabloid editor at their worst, not caring that's she's exploiting real people's misery and then distorting it beyond all recognition because she knows it'll sell. It really was the most overblown and hysterical nonsense, a version of Satanism so cartoonish that a seventies Hammer film would look tame in comparison - she's a lot like Jack Chick, actually.
>> No. 5694 Anonymous
10th September 2014
Wednesday 11:51 pm
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Well, she is a Mormon. Jack Chick is a pretty good comparison.
>> No. 5695 Anonymous
11th September 2014
Thursday 8:07 am
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I wish I was part of a Satanic cult, but they'd probably just boot me out for being a dickhead anyway.
>> No. 5696 Anonymous
11th September 2014
Thursday 3:36 pm
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The Man Who Was Thursday. I stumbled upon it whilst playing Deus Ex. Cannot say anything as I've just started reading it. The excerpts from the game were quite intriguing though.
>> No. 5697 Anonymous
11th September 2014
Thursday 5:44 pm
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Only at a Satanic cult meeting would the bald prick in the next row forward so obstinately stand in the way of the shot.
>> No. 5698 Anonymous
11th September 2014
Thursday 6:22 pm
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>> No. 5699 Anonymous
11th September 2014
Thursday 8:18 pm
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Well you've ruined that picture for me, thanks very much.
>> No. 5700 Anonymous
11th September 2014
Thursday 9:47 pm
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That fucking Anton.
>> No. 6016 Anonymous
13th July 2015
Monday 4:10 pm
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Finished Aldington's Death of a Hero.
I was told it is an anti-war novel but it seems to me that the author steamrolled many other things as well in it. Good read. Wish I read it several years ago.
>> No. 6017 Anonymous
13th July 2015
Monday 4:46 pm
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Posted about 10 months ago, but still got a laugh out of me. Good job.

Assuming this is the 'what are you reading' thread, I'm getting through Broca's Brain by Carl Sagan at the moment. I ditched it a year ago because the bulk of the book is made up of debunking, point-by-point, questionable scientific arguments in texts from the period it was published that really aren't very relevant anymore. It's a bit tedious getting through the fine details of debates that ended forty odd years ago, but I'm trying to draw more general knowledge out of it, and Sagan's writing is really pleasant.

I really love his short biography of Einstein, not cloying, but captures what made him an inspirational figure.
>> No. 6018 Anonymous
13th July 2015
Monday 4:51 pm
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Apologies for double posting, but not coincidentally there was a lovely bit about Sagan and Voyager's audio recordings on the BBC World Service's Science Hour just recently. It's why I picked up the book again. Worth a listen:

>> No. 6162 Anonymous
5th September 2015
Saturday 1:28 pm
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Just finished this over my morning coffee. Definitely lives up to the reviews, and just as stylish as his Mars trilogy. I've always maintained that good SF is a study of human nature, and this really excels at blending the technological aspects with the human story without falling into the trap of just becoming a dumpload of dry technical data. Very enjoyable book.
>> No. 6178 Anonymous
7th October 2015
Wednesday 5:54 pm
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Geoff Thompson's Dead or Alive. I don't even remember where I got this one.

Haven't finished it so nothing substantial to say for now. Sorry for the lousy quality pic.
>> No. 6222 Anonymous
22nd November 2015
Sunday 5:00 pm
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Just 4 months and I've finished re-reading it. I did not notice how the author's snarkiness decreased as I approached the end of the book the first time but I have noticed it now.

I have also really appreciated his description of George's alienation from his former environment. Somewhat reminds me of London's Martin Eden's finale. Exactly as bitter. Exactly as hard to fathom it truly if you have never been in any of the two situations portrayed.
>> No. 6243 Anonymous
13th December 2015
Sunday 4:50 pm
6243 The Day of the Jackal
'They can't shoot straight.'

Then a fuck-up by OAS where a jocular question asked by one of the policemen prompted the reveal of the whole plot.

So far, nice.
>> No. 6244 Anonymous
14th December 2015
Monday 10:27 am
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Picked this up on the recommendation of a friend, enjoyed it quite a lot.
>> No. 6245 Anonymous
14th December 2015
Monday 11:23 pm
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Anything like Snow Crash or The Diamond Age as far as you know?
>> No. 6280 Anonymous
27th February 2016
Saturday 7:22 pm
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Not at all like Snow Crash. Seveneves is very much SF whereas Snowcrash is a homage to/satire of Cyberpunk. Personally I much preferred Seveneves; it goes on a bit but some of the scenes are really magnificent. There's a wonderful description of the end of the world as viewed from the ISS where they're all listening on the radio to the last broadcasts, mainly live orchestras around the world in cathedrals and stadiums and so on, playing various classical pieces as the world dies around them.
>> No. 6292 Anonymous
2nd March 2016
Wednesday 10:14 pm
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God, I found Snowcrash unbearable. It literally gave me a headache at parts.
>> No. 6293 Anonymous
3rd March 2016
Thursday 12:14 am
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I can't say I was a big fan of it. It seemed to be trying to satirise cyberpunk whilst still being a totally sincere cyberpunk novel with nothing new to say.
>> No. 6295 Anonymous
3rd March 2016
Thursday 2:11 am
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It didn't occur to me at any point that it was trying to satirise cyberpunk, but then I've not read that much so there may well have been references or in-jokes I missed. I just found the style of breathless run-on sentences, the "dynamic fast-paced futuristic" tone or whatever, to be exhausting; the cyberpunk I've read has been bad for this but I found it particularly grating in Snowcrash. The characters and plot were also fucking ridiculous.

Which doesn't leave much, really.
>> No. 6296 Anonymous
3rd March 2016
Thursday 2:21 am
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>there may well have been references or in-jokes I missed.
The protagonists name is Hiro Protagonist.
>The characters and plot were also fucking ridiculous.
That's probably part of the "joke", or at least the sort of thing fans of it will claim is the joke.
>> No. 6297 Anonymous
10th March 2016
Thursday 7:46 pm
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Kelly Victor.jpg
Some time last year I thought I'd have a go at reading some modern Welsh literature, see what the taff answer to Trainspotting is, that sort of thing. So I got this on recommendation.
It's not very good. The story of two young people falling into a rather violent love affair, told from both their perspectives. Aside from the plot itself being a non-starter and going somewhere predictable, the prose is tedious. The first half of the book is told from Victor's perspective, then it tells the same story again but from Kelly's. That could be interesting, but it's not. You don't learn anything new from what she says and she narrates in exactly the same way as him, even using the same imagery. If you're into amateurish, dangerously violent sub/dom sex stuff then you might enjoy it, otherwise it's a complete waste of paper.
>> No. 6298 Anonymous
10th March 2016
Thursday 7:55 pm
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At the same time for the same reasons, I picked up The Long Dry by Cynan Jones.
A real gem of a book, if a gem can be made from bleakness and despair. A heartwrenchingly beautiful story of life on a small British farm, I ordered his second and third novels as soon as I'd finished. Really can't recommend this any more highly, especially if you've had any sort of connection with rural life. The other two weren't quite as good, similar stuff; one about a fisherman and a Polish immigrant, one a farmer and a dodgy gypsy but told in the same captivating melancholy style. Cynan Jones makes Irvine Welsh read like cheap, tawdry entertainment.
>> No. 6299 Anonymous
11th March 2016
Friday 7:44 pm
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> with nothing new to say

To be fair it was written in 1992. The genre defining Neuromancer was only written in 1984 (with follow ups released in '86 and '88 respectively) so I'm fairly sure that in 1992 Snowcrash was a breath of fresh air, especially compared to the genre it served to satirize and Gibson's sprawl trilogy that exemplified it.

For what it's worth, I found the plot fairly good when I read it as a teenlad. I especially enjoyed the way it blended religion, linguistics, and a much more realistic and accurate interpretation of virtual reality than Gibson's novels ever did (Second Life, anyone?).

If Snowcrash is guilty of anything, it's being a novel very much of its time. I'll admit that taken out of that context it may not make very much sense at all.

Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age are also both very good, although the 1000 and 500 page heft of them is enough to put more than a few people off.
>> No. 6300 Anonymous
11th March 2016
Friday 10:10 pm
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I can't say I agree with Cryptonomicon being very good. It was good enough that I bothered to finish reading it but no more. It didn't really have a plot, did you notice that? It was just a bunch of stuff that happened.

>a much more realistic and accurate interpretation of virtual reality than Gibson's novels ever did (Second Life, anyone?).
Are we using Second Life now? Is anyone? The idea that the entire internet would be some sort of Second Life analogue is no more realistic than Gibson's confused reckoning of VR.
>> No. 6302 Anonymous
11th March 2016
Friday 11:07 pm
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> It didn't really have a plot, did you notice that? It was just a bunch of stuff that happened.

It's been nigh on fifteen years since I read it but I'd have to tentatively disagree with you on that, pending my rereading it. The plot was extremely convoluted though, being divided as it was across two time periods, and I felt exceedingly frustrated by the ending of the book; it felt as though there was another book or two's worth of plot missing off the end. Unfortunately Stephenson didn't continue with the story but rather segued off into writing The Baroque Cycle which I didn't take to at all.

> Are we using Second Life now? Is anyone? The idea that the entire internet would be some sort of Second Life analogue is no more realistic than Gibson's confused reckoning of VR.

I suppose my point was much more that at least Stephenson's avatar vision of internet representation has been played out to some extent in reality in everything from Second Life to every MMORPG ever. Granted our own current internet has gone in a totally different and more logical direction, but it's still vastly more realistic than Gibson's vision. We might not literally wander through a 3D internet world, but in some ways Facebook, Instagram etc force us to project an idealized avatar of ourselves, and what difference between the gargoyles in Snowcrash and the majority of us who live glued to smartphone screens?
>> No. 6303 Anonymous
11th March 2016
Friday 11:52 pm
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The book ended with them finding all the gold, as though that was what it had all been building up towards, but we didn't even know it existed until half way through the book, and it didn't feel like anything very important hinged on them doing so. The plot was meandering rather than convoluted. And don't get me started on the sections where he just dumped in mathematical equations related to cryptography that he'd sometimes explain in prose and sometimes not.

I suppose you have a point about the SL thing, but it was written almost ten years later, he must have been more aware of computers and the internet in a way that Gibson wasn't at the time of writing Neuromancer.
>> No. 6304 Anonymous
15th March 2016
Tuesday 12:25 pm
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I'd been meaning to read this for years and finally got around to it now there's a mini tv-series. It's entertaining but utterly ludicrous and morally iffy, at best. The human race is essentially eaten by a vast, unknowable hive-mind intelligence and this is to be applauded. Was Clarke a psychopath? All the characters seem to be identikit manipulators and there's little emotion in the prose beyond his euphoria at what seemed to me an incredibly dark apotheosis.
>> No. 6305 Anonymous
16th March 2016
Wednesday 8:12 pm
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He did almost the same in The Baroque Cycle, featuring the 1660+ timeline and the 1714 timeline. As the plot progresses they slowly converge into one year 1714 timeline.

It's nearly 3,000 pages long. I enjoyed it. But I'm no stranger to long novels.
>> No. 6310 Anonymous
5th April 2016
Tuesday 11:47 pm
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Shall I continue with this (with other people welcome to contribute as they always have) or will I just get shit for "showing off" how much I've read?
>> No. 6311 Anonymous
5th April 2016
Tuesday 11:52 pm
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Don't pay any attention to or respond to someone like that.
>> No. 6312 Anonymous
6th April 2016
Wednesday 3:12 am
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Yeah mate. I look forwards to your threads about which Operas you've been to see lately, and your inevitable /uhu/ post about your new wine cellar too.
>> No. 6313 Anonymous
6th April 2016
Wednesday 4:23 am
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To help you along here are a couple mildly-sozzled capsule reviews of two books I've read lately:

The first is A decent ride by Irvine Welsh. If you're primarily a fan of Porno, Filth, Glue, or Skagboys you will probably not like this book. However, if you were a fan of Carry On or the first part of Ecstasy then you perhaps might. For, unlike earlier novels involving 'Juice' Terry, this book has much more of a Confessions of a window cleaner vibe with most of the book played out in a very slapstick "wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more" manner with most of the action happening off page, and with what was described being, as I said, predominantly slapstick as opposed to realist in nature.

On the plus side I read this book in less than 24 hours due to its very easy-reading nature. I would liken the experience of reading this book to the feeling of reading the latest Viz while taking a leisurely shit, or the warm fuzziness of hurling abuse at Question Time whilst drinking your sixteenth can of Strongbow.

The second is Death of a princess by Alex Norris. This book was recommended to me by the self same person who recommended 69 things to do with a dead princess and I shall forever curse his immortal soul for doing so, for it is a hellacious wankstain of a book.

If you want a detailed review of it then just imagine the tabloid coverage of the death of Princess Diana taking place within the backdrop of 1984 blandly reimagined into a mildly dystopic near future by a version of Will Self lacking all the original's charm, wit, and talent.
>> No. 6314 Anonymous
6th April 2016
Wednesday 10:30 am
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Fucking posho.
>> No. 6346 Anonymous
11th April 2016
Monday 4:18 pm
6346 Slobgollion
>Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,—Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness.

I wrote a really long-winded post explaining in detail all the things I didn't like about this book, which mostly amount to the 400-odd pages of (often wrong) whale biology, and the narrator being a bit of an unreliable dickhead who can't decide whether he's an omniscient narrator or a character in the story. That said, if you can get over the Shakespearean language and endless soliloquising, the introductory description of Nantucket and getting to know Queequeeg were as enchanting as the final encounter with the whale was gripping. But it's an unbelievable slog to read the adjoining parts. The sense of awe Ishmael seems to be trying to create in the whale by describing it in endless detail simply fell flat for me, reading instead like so many tonnes of dripping mammalian gore.
>> No. 6347 Anonymous
11th April 2016
Monday 4:45 pm
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I picked up a fair few Penguin Classics last year because they were going cheap at a local bookstore. The Maldive Shark convinced me not to read anything further from Melville. The same applies to Dostoevsky after reading The Meek One.
>> No. 6348 Anonymous
11th April 2016
Monday 5:01 pm
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That's probably reasonable. I wouldn't really recommend Moby Dick to anyone unless they were planning on joining the merchant navy and needed something to read on the way.
>> No. 6349 Anonymous
11th April 2016
Monday 10:30 pm
6349 The new and improved Romie Futch
I read this as a palette cleanser after Moby Dick; someone recommended it to me on the basis I was reading the former. It was lovely; while the narrator has a little habit of dropping quotations and references that scream "liberal arts school education" it never quite becomes obnoxious, and there's a reason for it all in the end. The book is often compared to Moby Dick but that seems erroneous; it just mentions him a lot. I want to compare it to Atwood's Oryx and Crake Trilogy. Not only are a lot of the themes and messages or at least attitudes similar, but they both have the same sort of contemporary references and wonderfully clear storytelling style - except in these examples, Elliott does both better.
Moby Dick is a lot more quotable though. There isn't a single sentence in this book that stood out to me that wasn't an overt quotation or reference to another work or recent cultural phenomenon.
>> No. 6350 Anonymous
11th April 2016
Monday 10:59 pm
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"Palate" cleanser. The only thing that cleans your palette is turps.
>> No. 6351 Anonymous
11th April 2016
Monday 11:01 pm
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Noted, thank you.
>> No. 6352 Anonymous
12th April 2016
Tuesday 12:34 am
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Turps does make a delightful palate cleanser if you've been on the meths all day.
>> No. 6354 Anonymous
12th April 2016
Tuesday 1:16 am
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Fuck me lads I think I just emotionally scarred myself before bedtime. A bit of a slow start to this one but the ending is like a car crash in slow motion and visceral detail. You can see what's coming and it gets closer and closer and then it's no longer just the vague idea of it and you have to see all the horrible details. One for the resting actors and anyone who's ever felt badly used or manipulated. Far too fucking believable.
>> No. 6359 Anonymous
13th April 2016
Wednesday 3:51 pm
6359 Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
Pretty solid novel as far as writing goes. Good pacing, some good characters, all threads (maybe too) satisfyingly tied up at the end. Gibson's undeniably a competent author but there's nothing really new here. I don't feel like I gained anything from having read it. It has more of that American obsession with 9/11 in that personally I'm sick of hearing about but for its 2003 publishing date it's not the book's fault. It's not at all cyberpunk, which is counter to my expectations of Gibson. Frankly, Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge is more cyberpunk than this, although they're both pretty similar, that being a less schlocky version of this in many ways.
>> No. 6360 Anonymous
13th April 2016
Wednesday 11:35 pm
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Finish the trilogy; it gets better. And worse, in ways. Gibson's trilogies always do.
>> No. 6361 Anonymous
13th April 2016
Wednesday 11:38 pm
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While I'm here, and you probably already know this, I might as well crib this from Wikipedia:

In September 2001 Gibson had written about 100 pages but was struggling to finish. He stopped writing after watching the September 11, 2001 attacks on television and "realized [the novel] had become a story that took place in an alternate time track, in which Sept. 11 hadn't happened". He considered abandoning the novel but a few weeks later re-wrote portions to use the attacks as a motivating factor for the distress the main character feels.
>> No. 6362 Anonymous
14th April 2016
Thursday 1:25 am
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I wasn't aware it was a trilogy even. I probably won't read the other two in the near future, sorry. There are way too many books that might be better.
>> No. 6364 Anonymous
14th April 2016
Thursday 2:15 am
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He went full American Psycho on this one, every character is described in terms of what brands they're wearing, few of which mean anything to me or I imagine to most other .gs users.
>> No. 6365 Anonymous
14th April 2016
Thursday 2:33 am
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Sorry deleted post just after you had posted this since I realized I had used redundant words in the sentence. (I'm quite tired).
>> No. 6366 Anonymous
18th April 2016
Monday 3:50 am
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He put the cigar to his lips. "Goddamn" he said grimly. She took a drag on her cigarette. He lit a match. He was too distracted to light his cigar. She brushed imaginary ash off her lap.
"Why is everybody in the world but us such a goddamn phony?" she whined nasally. He lit his cigar with a fresh match and took a deep drag.
"Don't be such a goddamn fool about it", he replied grimly. "You don't understand. You have to take multiple, contradictory religious ideologies at face value as truth, simultaneously." He tapped the ash from the end of his cigar. She lit a fresh cigarette.
"So what's the point of it all?" she asked, stubbing out the cigarette and lighting a new one.
"You have to act for God". And everything was resolved.
>> No. 6367 Anonymous
18th April 2016
Monday 7:23 pm
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That reminded me some book from Deus Ex.
>> No. 6368 Anonymous
18th April 2016
Monday 7:33 pm
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It was a good read but I do wonder if it was sponsored by Chesterfields or something. Every character smokes, and is smoking almost constantly.
>> No. 6369 Anonymous
18th April 2016
Monday 8:02 pm
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It's hard to convey chiaroscuro lighting and smooth jazz in prose, so he had to compensate somehow I suppose.
>> No. 6370 Anonymous
18th April 2016
Monday 8:13 pm
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That's what the past was like. Everyone was smoking all the time.

>> No. 6371 Anonymous
18th April 2016
Monday 8:17 pm
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I still sometimes use the phrase sad-making. Thankyou Mr Salinger.
>> No. 6372 Anonymous
23rd April 2016
Saturday 7:26 pm
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I don't think I've seen such a succinct capsule review of book anywhere else, ever. I really, really like both F&Z and Catcher in the rye but that summation really made me giggle. It's spot on.


>> No. 6373 Anonymous
25th April 2016
Monday 11:09 pm
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>> No. 6374 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 4:50 pm
6374 Three books by Kevin Mitnick
The Art of Intrusion, The Art of Deception and Ghost In The Wires.

Someone on here recommended these to someone else. I don't suggest you bother reading them all.
Intrusion's a fantastic primer/workbook on how to improve the digital security of the business you're running — fifteen years ago. Not without value still.
Deception is the most varied of the three, quite a quick read even for something of that length as it has stories taken from a range of backgrounds with different approaches which keep it light and entertaining.
Ghost was a slow biography of Mitnick's hacking life which left me reeling with obsolete technical jargon about VMS switches, telephone loops and rooting .rhost files. A harrowing tale of addiction to hacking despite it ruining pretty much every human relationship he had. The man wasn't a ghost in the wires he was a blathering idiot who just would not stop doing pointless hacks despite being fully aware of the law enforcement attention it was drawing. Technically very accomplished of course but his MO varied so little, by the nth long winded description of hacking and social engineering yet another phone company I was rooting for him to get nicked. I think what he did was very interesting and approve of the hacker ethos presented but I regret having read about it in such depth.

I think I'd recommend Underground by Dreyfus and Assange above these as it has the variety of Deception with the human interest of Ghost and a third of the length of these three combined.

Around page 1250 of this "trilogy" I took a break to read the short version of Flowers for Algernon, which was really quite touching (even if the prose seemed a little affected and/or inconsistent in places). Worth the thirty minutes maximum it'll take you to read.
>> No. 6375 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 5:39 pm
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Everyone always seems to recommend this book, so I read it and now I do too. Bit of a slog to read, it pathologises everything Corporate, blaming them (seemingly fairly) for all sorts of atrocities.
The copy I read was a modern edition which had an introduction reframing the Obama administration as a government reworking of this Body without Organs modern corporate face, fascinating perspective given that a similar thing is happening here with the privatisation of the various social services. Worth reading that introduction alone if you don't feel like being bashed over the head with her full anti-globalist message for three days.
>> No. 6376 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 7:03 pm
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They were recommended to me. I haven't even started — life got in the way. Besides, I've recalled that I want to read the Cosmic Trigger trilogy mentioned somewhere above in this thread.

Thanks for the review. I'll keep it in mind.
>> No. 6377 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 7:06 pm
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American Pyscho always seemed like such an overhyped obvious book to read.

I don't mean that in a snobby sense, but I couldn't help get the feeling it probably wasn't that good because it was one of those that 'everybody else read it so it must be good'.

I'm not regretting my ignorance, I'm really enjoying it and it's really fantastic. I enjoyed the film, but as usual, it doesn't even come close to touching on the book.

Are there any others people can recommend similar to this, a bit morose and black comedy themed with a hint of mind-fuck.
>> No. 6378 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 7:27 pm
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I really liked Ghost In The Wires because it made a lovely counterpoint to The Fugitive Game, and I dare say that the inverse is true. Say what you like about Mitnick's technical skills (and they are dross and why I haven't read the other two books mentioned) but reading this more autobiographical book was a joy; the guy had serious balls.

Underground is probably the best hacker book yet written, although The Hacker Crackdown might be the most poignant. On a slight tangent, although it's not a book, there is a fantastic article available online that was published in Esquire in 1971 entitled "Secrets of
the Little Blue Box". It is, in my very considerable opinion, the absolutely best piece of writing on (early )hackers and (early) hacker culture ever written.


If you liked American Psycho then you'll probably like My Idea Of Fun by Will Self.
>> No. 6379 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 8:25 pm
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I may be judging Ghost too harshly as I'm definitely suffering from hacker lexicon fatigue right now; I'll look up the others you mention when I've had some time to recover.

I'll second that Self novel, too. Maybe it's just because one's a Brit and the other's septic but B.E.E doesn't hold a candle to Will.
>> No. 6380 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 10:42 pm
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Honestly if you're not completely au-fait with the terminology I could see the book being quite tiresome. The main reason that I enjoyed it was that it provided an opposite point of view to Takedown by John Markoff (not The Fugitive Game as I said before, that was actually a more even handed book by a third party) as it was written by the man himself, not the man who helped to bring him down. I suppose that after decades of Mitnick hype it was just refreshing to read (even a grandiose) tell-all from the man himself.

Kingpin by Kevin Poulsen (when will his tell all be out?) and Darkmarket by Misha Glenny (of McMafia fame) are both hugely accessible journalistic insights into their respective areas of cybercrime.

> I'll second that Self novel, too. Maybe it's just because one's a Brit and the other's septic but B.E.E doesn't hold a candle to Will.

Will Self is definitely one of my favourite contemporary authors.
>> No. 6381 Anonymous
27th April 2016
Wednesday 10:48 pm
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While we're on the topic of books about hacker culture, my favourite is probably Kingpin by Kevin Poulsen. It's a good companion to The Hacker Crackdown, as mentioned by >>6378 (the two would be my picks out of the books in that field); The Hacker Crackdown is fascinating largely because it documents just how tame the 80s/early 90s hacker scene was, a bunch of kids goofing around on (almost completely unsecured) networks, who got slammed by a grossly disproportionate response from law enforcement agencies that didn't have the first clue what these kids were doing. By contrast, Kingpin covers the encroaching criminal element of the 2000s, the carding scene (credit card fraud) and so on, and provides a good insight into the gradual metamorphosis of hacking from being primarily a pastime for tinkerers, to being the new playground for organised crime.
>> No. 6383 Anonymous
28th April 2016
Thursday 12:42 am
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That sounds like it's edging on True Crime fiction which is a lot less interesting.

Just FYI, all the hacker culture books we've mentioned so far are available on libgen (dot) io.
I found Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy on there something like two months before it was originally released.
>> No. 6384 Anonymous
28th April 2016
Thursday 12:49 am
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> [The Hacker Crackdown and Kingpin provide] a good insight into the gradual metamorphosis of hacking from being primarily a pastime for tinkerers, to being the new playground for organised crime.

And to top it all off read The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll. While I found myself more and more infuriated with the author's unthinking, unquestioning, work a day attitude the further I got into the book it tops the other two books off by being an example of how global spy agencies have been using computer intrusion since at least the early 1980s.

If you follow this up with some light reading on Robert T Morris (both Sr and Jr) then you'll have a fairly good idea of exactly how far the NSA et al are in front of everyone else and also that they've been there since around the 70s.

The more things change, and all that.
>> No. 6394 Anonymous
3rd May 2016
Tuesday 6:24 pm
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I mentioned reading the short-story version of this earlier. I just finished the novel and it was significantly better. The prose isn't terribly exciting and feels a little gimmicky to begin with, but the themes and motifs work beautifully and the plot/message is tragic. You know that horrible drop in your gut when you realise you've unknowingly been the butt of a cruel joke? This novel is that feeling.

There are a few bits I thought were odd, the way the bakery workers suddenly like Charlie again when he becomes retarded and why they even hated him to begin with. They had motivations but those felt inadequate justifications for their actions. I also struggled to reconcile Charlie's original condition with the idea of someone that you can just make smarter and they'll appeal totally normal. I could be wrong but don't most people with severe mental deficiencies tend to also have physical abnormalities, too? It's not important.
>> No. 6395 Anonymous
4th May 2016
Wednesday 5:24 am
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what am i doing here.jpg
A couple of amusing stories in here, but the rest of it gives a peculiarly fresh glance at a variety of people and places during the 20th century. I don't know if it's Chatwin's writing style or choice of subjects (mainly now-forgotten artists) and places to write about, but he manages to make interesting a number of things I'd never have thought to read about.
I don't know if it was intentional, but I did crack a smile at his agreement with Werner Herzog that
>Walking is virtue, tourism deadly sin.
in the last section of the book before he writes about travelling, at times in arranged tourist groups.

The segment on Madeleine Vionnet was especially pleasing.
>> No. 6396 Anonymous
4th May 2016
Wednesday 7:51 am
6396 My Secret Garden (1973) by Nancy Friday
my secret garden.jpg
>… there’s this giant centipede or prawn, or a cross between the two, crawling into me head first, my legs being really wide apart to accommodate him. As he crawls into me, his thousands of fuzzy legs fall off onto the sheets around me. He tickles and excites me as he undulates and wiggles from side to side getting further and further in, and he becomes drenched with my nectar, which he licks up and is strengthened by. He goes on up and up. This all takes hours as he is ten thousand feet long, but I like every inch of it …

This book is really badly organised so I'm not going to organise my thoughts on it, to reflect that. It's a compilation of anonymously submitted women's sexual fantasies, apparently with the intention of blowing everyone's minds by proving women do have sexual fantasies. Welcome to The Seventies.
Old-fashioned views on lesbians ("they must masturbate and use their imagination more than heterosexual women because of the thought required to switch from imagining they're a man to a woman, and back"), so many references to "blacks" or "negroes" and she barely understands bisexuality, let alone transgenderism or anything else on the possible gamut. So dated.
So, so, so many of these fantasies involve other women, but are listed as "other women" fantasies, not bisexual.
So many women would apparently love to have "faceless" people watch them have sex. To a lesser but still surprising degree are sheer number of dog and piss fantasies, although not usually at the same time.
Supports the idea that fantasies/kinks are from formulating experiences when young.
There's a big undercurrent of women wishing their partners would make more noise during sex. Especially talking. It seems like people benefit more from just talking about their fantasies while fucking than they ever get from actually experiencing them, if they get the chance.
The number of women with sadist or masochistic fantasies and the pure evilness of what they imagine makes me recategorise guro comics I've seen online as almost unremarkable. There's a funny contrast between the women who begin their fantasies by warning the author that "this might be too shocking" then telling her something completely vanilla and the woman who freely admits to actually making little boys strip naked before she whips them, then asks if the author can send her some of the right sorts of whips.

Somewhat unsurprising number of women like being dominated or made to feel like they're not in control of it, even though it's what they want.

Some of them are pretty outlandish but with others they're very much composed from a small set number of topics. Someone watching, that person is black, they are female (feel guilt for this), there is a dog licking them, someone is pissing in their vagina; you could build an erotic Aarne-Thompson classification system from this and generate all the possible standard variations on women's fantasies.

This might be TMI but I was interested to note that despite the majority of the book being vivid descriptions of sex, it was only very select parts of it that I found actually sexy. Not always the parts I expected, either.

Eye-opening in some ways, in others the author and the subjects seemed blinkered or naive.

>The next morning, happily exhausted, I begin the ritual of carefully gathering up the thousands of orange fuzzy legs that surround me, and take them in a wicker basket to the kitchen. There I dump them into my blue enamel jam making pot, and add sugar, orange peel, lemon, nutmeg, banana peel scrapings, and a bit of hash when available (very optional). At the hard-ball, or so-called crack stage of cooling, I pour the orange mass into penis-shaped molds (can be bought in your nearest sex shop), and allow them to cool and harden. To be sucked later when desired, but I usually give mine away to my friends, as the penis-shaped mold itself is far more satisfying and I share him with no one. You’d be surprised how many of my friends drop by for their sucks.
>> No. 6397 Anonymous
4th May 2016
Wednesday 8:19 am
6397 Slaughterhouse V
I decided it was about time I re-read this, now as an adult. Fantastic piece of work, seemed totally heart-felt and honest in the way he admitted to struggling so much with finding the right way to write about such a tragedy. The little bit about Mary O'Hare seemed like it must have been true. Not sure what to make of the Tralfamadorians though.
>> No. 6398 Anonymous
4th May 2016
Wednesday 11:06 am
6398 spacer

Some of my most furious early teen lad wanks were to that, unless the porn fairies had deposited Razzle/Knave/Penthouse in some bushes.
>> No. 6399 Anonymous
4th May 2016
Wednesday 11:44 am
6399 spacer
Even the one about the woman who fantasised about being vivisected then eaten?
>> No. 6403 Anonymous
9th May 2016
Monday 6:57 pm
6403 Season of Storms
I read this a few months ago. All right. Almost made me smile wryly when the effeminate lame psychopathic antagonist was killed. A bit full of himself he was.
>> No. 6404 Anonymous
13th May 2016
Friday 12:38 pm
6404 spacer
One more thing. The magicians from the Rissberg Castle seem quite an allusion to the real world IT sector. To me, at least.
>> No. 6405 Anonymous
27th May 2016
Friday 10:05 pm
6405 Bonk: The Curious Coupling Of Science And Sex
I didn't actually set out to read this as I've read so many other books about the psychology and so on about sex lately but I glanced at the intro and was hooked for the whole thing. It covers a lot of the same stuff as the others mention but Ms Roach obviously did an awful lot of research and she has a fucking brilliant sense of humour, I genuinely laughed out loud a couple of times every chapter. I wasn't expecting that.
>> No. 6406 Anonymous
27th May 2016
Friday 10:10 pm
6406 spacer

The last time I attempted to read any popular work about 'science' and sex, it was full of terrifying and inaccurate social Darwinist assumptions. I probably should have expected it, as it was called Sperm Wars, but it put me off the entire genre.

That being said, I'd be interested to know what you gleaned from this.
>> No. 6407 Anonymous
28th May 2016
Saturday 12:39 am
6407 spacer
>what you gleaned from this
All sorts of little tidbits that I'll remember in conversational context but I can't really reel off the top of my head. Wearing polyester underwear decreases the sex drive of mice compared to other sorts of underwear, lots of stuff about sounding, Kinsey was almost definitely a massive filthy voyeur, having sex in a MRI scanner is not very sexy, pigs are the only other creatures that like having their nipples rubbed to get them off, bulls are quite often gay, the smell of men's cologne decreases blood flow to the vagina and so on. She doesn't make too many assumptions, just tells you what the results of various studies were.
>> No. 6408 Anonymous
28th May 2016
Saturday 4:07 am
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What kind of underwear do mice like then?
>> No. 6409 Anonymous
28th May 2016
Saturday 7:27 am
6409 spacer

I don't know about mice, but wearing my linen boxers makes me feel well horny.
>> No. 6410 Anonymous
28th May 2016
Saturday 10:01 am
6410 spacer

Just got this book on the basis of your post. Thank you for the recommendation.

Sage for not adding anything useful to the converaation
>> No. 6411 Anonymous
28th May 2016
Saturday 2:07 pm
6411 spacer
It was rats, not mice, my mistake.
>There were seventy-five rats. They wore their pants for one year. Shafik found that over time the ones dressed in polyester or poly-cotton blend had sex significantly less often than the rats whose slacks were cotton or wool. (Shafik thinks the reason is that polyester sets up troublesome electrostatic fields in and around the genitals.
She obviously means trousers as she's a septic, but they weren't wearing any underwear under their trousers so it's pants that are the issue.

Good, I didn't pay for it and she deserves at least one sale out of that. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
>> No. 6412 Anonymous
28th May 2016
Saturday 6:38 pm
6412 spacer
How did the rats take off their trousers/pants to fuck?
>> No. 6413 Anonymous
9th June 2016
Thursday 8:35 pm
6413 Ian M. Banks - Feersum Endjinn
I'm slightly less impressed by Hannu Rajaniemi's work after reading this, as they seem remarkably similar in tone and ideas. Having read The Quantum Thief first meant this made less of an impression on me that it really should have. It was a bit of a slog to read in places, particularly the bits narrated by Bascule (although he was a great character the phonetic spelling was a pain). The plot wasn't paced brilliantly, seemed a bit confused in places (more than once one narrator would "spoil" the plot of what was going to happen to another, then you'd have to read that bit too) and the dénouement was deus ex. Still a good book though. A solid read.

It didn't say
>> No. 6414 Anonymous
11th June 2016
Saturday 2:12 pm
6414 spacer

Funnily enough I've just finished re-reading Feersum Endjinn. I go back and read all of Banks' sci-fi every so often. I think this one stands up better after the first read, as you can follow the plot more coherently in my opinion. The phonetic spelling can be a bit of work, I agree. I quite like all that though.

Although this book isn't technically part of the Culture series or universe, having read some of those definitely helps with understanding a lot of what's going on; many of the themes are present in the Culture series, like the worlds within worlds, virtual existence, and technological ideas.

I did feel that the world he had created wasn't served particularly well by the mixed perspectives, it was part of what stopped me really creating a solid visualisation of the whole environment, though individual descriptive elements were top notch, and I liked all the castle and fortification stuff.
>> No. 6415 Anonymous
11th June 2016
Saturday 2:36 pm
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I had no problem with the phonetic spelling in other works (Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, Riddley Walker) but Bascule was tricky. I think it's due to the use of ½ and similar things. It's a different mental language and breaks my concentration. I had a similar problem with Miéville's use of the ampersand in Railsea.
Understanding the things you mention from Culture wasn't a problem. They're used heavily in Rajaniemi's work too.
>> No. 6416 Anonymous
12th June 2016
Sunday 5:42 pm
6416 Ian Banks - Walking on glass
I remember that I read The Wasp Factory when I was quite young and found it really unpleasant. I thought that, being older, may as well try his other books. No, it's worse if anything. Ian is an evil sadistic bastard. Towards the end this book I felt almost physically sick, followed by gladness and then some really positive frisson at how it was all tied up. I wouldn't call it clever but it's extremely well crafted. None of that Bascule-style phonetic wankery so the whole thing was a breeze to read.

I hope his novels aren't all this dark, I have seven more to work through and if they're similar then I'm going to be suicidal by the end of it.
>> No. 6417 Anonymous
13th June 2016
Monday 4:34 am
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Just read a bit of the synopsis to The Wasp Factory.

Fucking hell.
>> No. 6418 Anonymous
13th June 2016
Monday 5:32 am
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You should read the whole thing, it only takes 5 minutes.
>> No. 6419 Anonymous
13th June 2016
Monday 6:22 am
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He mellows a bit in his later books, but he usually digs the knife in somewhere.

Some of the early ones are properly horrible though, it's true.
>> No. 6420 Anonymous
13th June 2016
Monday 6:26 pm
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>really unpleasant

That is kind of the point, lad. He writes about humanity red in tooth and claw.

>I hope his novels aren't all this dark

Heh. Good luck mate.

You should also try the Culture novels. I would advise starting with Excession if you really want a serious headfuck.
>> No. 6421 Anonymous
14th June 2016
Tuesday 5:34 pm
6421 Ursula Le Guin - The Birthday of the World and other stories
On a quick break from Mr. Banks.

Interesting collection of seven fairly short stories. The 6th, titular one was a bit odd as it didn't seem to follow much in the way of a cohesive narrative. The ones immediately before and after it were the best in terms of being stories; especially the last one which had a lot of interesting ideas or what it might be like to live on a generation-ship explored, how religion might impact that with a lovely affirmation of "hardship makes life worthwhile" at the end. One quote from it;
>“You have a sense of duty,” Bingdi told him affectionately. “Ancestral duty — go find a new world . . . Scientific duty — go find new knowledge. . . . If a door opens, you feel it’s your duty to go through it. If a door opens, I unquestioningly close it. If life is good, I don’t seek to change it. Life is good, Luis.”
struck me as mirroring a line from Walking on glass;
>They had been Promotionaries, on their respective sides of the Wars (which were not, of course, between Good and Evil at all, as non-combatants of every species always assumed, but between Banality and Interest)

The other five stories were quite fun. Very short; something like Margaret Mead of the free-love '70s meets John Norman (author of the Gor books). Peculiar sorts of relationships and cultures explored. It's funny how much female authors write about sex, especially about sex between children exploring their sexualities. I hadn't expected le Guin to do that. Either all women are perverts or it's more to do with when she grew up.
>> No. 6422 Anonymous
28th June 2016
Tuesday 10:00 am
6422 Iain Banks - The Bridge
the bridge.jpg
This one took a surprising amount of time to read for something so short but it's probably as I kept taking breaks in order to properly digest it. Not sure why you lot were talking about his work all being so red in tooth and claw, this one was lovely. The little fantasy worlds he comes up with are all really imaginative and somehow seem as real as the "real" plot threads. Brilliantly described scenes and set pieces, real characters, brilliant wordplay here and there. The twist, if you can call it that, (what was actually going on) seemed pretty obvious right from the first page but I don't think that lessened the enjoyment of this book in any way. Presumably it was intentional or the situation has been overused recently so I could recognise it easily. This was a really rewarding read, far more so than Walking On Glass or The Wasp Factory. He doesn't try to gross you out or rip out your heart with this one, it's just life.
>> No. 6423 Anonymous
10th July 2016
Sunday 8:00 pm
6423 Iain Banks - Espedair Street & Canal Dreams
Not a lot to say about Espedair Street beyond that it was a solid and entertaining novel although the main character's motivations felt a bit forced in parts.

Canal Dreams was far better, definitely a departure from his usual Scottish settings and hallucinatory weirdness. I think I read somewhere in an interview with him that he likes to do a lot of research for his novels and you can really see that come through in this; he talks fluently about a number of specialist topics. Excellent use of Chekov's Gun, everything that's in there is there for a reason, he doesn't waste a word. I will say I didn't like how the protagonist is a professional cellist too scared to get on a plane but somehow capable of stealth-killing a shipload of trained mercenaries but he was at least sort of convincing about how she made that transition. Not as good as The Bridge though.
>> No. 6424 Anonymous
11th July 2016
Monday 7:58 am
6424 Iain Banks - The Crow Road
A partial return to type with a Scottish setting again, but no dreamlike weirdness this time. Faultless book. Witty, intelligent, fantastic characterisations, a melancholic beauty and his prose has become significantly smoother to read. Got through this one in almost one sitting; multiple, intense experiences of frisson at the end.
>> No. 6425 Anonymous
11th July 2016
Monday 5:43 pm
6425 Chameleon On A Kaleidoscope - Anonymous
The sequel to >>6354, it has been sat on my shelf for some time. There are some humorous scenes and ideas in this but the Anonymous author seems to think that having an unreliable narrator means also omitting things like formatting, spellcheck, page numbers, consistent character names and a plot. He clearly has material for "that notoriously difficult second novel", but that's all this is. Material. Not a story. What made the first book worthwhile and not just some Mick arsehole crowing about how clever and cruel he thinks he is, is missing entirely.

I'm amused that he openly admits in this one to using underhanded/guerilla marketing schemes online to sell the first book as that is how I came across it.

Anyway, this lazy clusterfuck of a novella that's little more than a continuation of a sociopath's actual diary of his descent into total misanthropy apparently is intended to be the second part of a trilogy. I feel like the only fitting ending would be the third book never being finished as the author relapses into alcoholism and drinks himself to death in misery. It's just embarrassing.
>> No. 6426 Anonymous
29th July 2016
Friday 4:54 pm
6426 Iain Banks - Complicity, Whit, A Song of Stone, The Business
Whit and The Business were the strongest of the four, although ASoS was a very nice mood piece (almost Borgesian in simplicity but without the philosophy/metaphysics). He did a fantastic job of describing a war situation but without explaining what or where the war was or it being frustrating that he did so; the focal point was the characters and it felt appropriate the entire way through that nothing else was brought up.

Whit was great and The Business was an interesting world to explore but what plot there was didn't start until about 200 pages in and wasn't really resolved in the end but that didn't really matter.

It's interesting to binge read authors like this, you pick up on particular repetitions (and not just his thematic ones; castles and incest) but the protagonists of The Business, Canal Dreams and Espedair Street are all afraid of going on planes, even more specifically the female protagonists of TB and CD are advised by uncle figures to deal with it by getting so drunk the night before that their hangovers make them welcome the idea of dying in a plane crash. It feels a lot like he's recycling character notes when that happens. I binge-read the last dozen Discworld books in January or February and noticed a great deal of repetition like that, but had put it down to Pratchett's Alzheimer's; perhaps it's more common than that.

He makes interesting use of second person narration in both Complicity and ASoS, I felt it worked better in the former as it was intentionally a mystery story but in the latter the reader is clearly a character in the book but she does things off-page that we have no knowledge of, that bothered me a little.
>> No. 6427 Anonymous
29th July 2016
Friday 5:00 pm
6427 Osamu Dazai - No Longer Human
Well that was fucking dismal. More of a pamphlet than a book, reminded me of the XKCD strip of all the stick people on a train simultaneously thinking that they're the only ones who can think for themselves and that everyone else is a sheep. Except with more womanising and narcissistic self-loathing. Osamu did a great job of making Yozo's internal motivations consistent with his actions, even if he is a fuckhead. I'm certain there's more to this than I read into it but I'd need more culturally contextual information. Sparknotes perhaps.
>> No. 6428 Anonymous
30th July 2016
Saturday 12:29 pm
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>It's interesting to binge read authors like this, you pick up on particular repetitions
I hate to bring up politics, but I did notice over the years when working through Banks' novels that there's usually a salt-of-the-earth working-class bloke who gets in a good old rant for socialism (or railing against right-wing politics) at some point.

He always nailed it and I always guiltily enjoyed it, woolly lefty that I am, and you're always going to get an author's political leanings coming through in their work eventually, but after the first couple of times these odd little diatribes stuck out. Maybe they just struck a chord with me because I agreed with them (and forgot similar rants that I didn't); I read his books over the course of a decade and a half, so it's hard to say.

Anyway, since you're picking up on highly granular similarities, I'd advise you to finish his novels before reading Raw Spirit (I'm assuming you'll get around to that one too). It's ostensibly a whisky travelogue, but really it's just Iain telling stories about his life and friends and so on. I found that reading the last handful of his that I had left afterwards was rather like reading fiction that someone close to you has written - the blurring between inspiration and invention, the second-guessing, became distracting.
>> No. 6429 Anonymous
30th July 2016
Saturday 12:45 pm
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That happened in Walking on Glass, Espedair Street, The Crow Road and Complicity but hasn't in the last three. I find myself agreeing with him too, so I don't mind. Characters with different viewpoints don't get as much of a word in, I don't think you forgot anything.
I hadn't thought about Raw Spirit, I was just reading the fiction but I will if you recommend it.
>> No. 6430 Anonymous
30th July 2016
Saturday 12:53 pm
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Come to think of it, the Grandmother in Whit makes a half-hearted defence of hedonism but it's not all that.
>> No. 6431 Anonymous
30th July 2016
Saturday 3:19 pm
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Memoirs are inherently self-indulgent (I generally find this a little uncomfortable), and you probably want a passing interest in single malts, or at least, a passing interest in Banks' thoughts on them. If you can cope with these caveats then you'll find his usual wit, and a collection of anecdotes that provide an insight into the man and his work.

Is that something you want to read?
>> No. 6432 Anonymous
30th July 2016
Saturday 5:10 pm
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Sounds like it could be interesting. I'll see how keen I am to read books by other people I am by the time I'm done with his fiction.
>> No. 6433 Anonymous
31st July 2016
Sunday 4:36 pm
6433 Deus Ex: Icarus Effect
This wasn't particularly deep or anything. Just a piece of action and a prequel to DX: The Fall. I expected worse. Turned out to be a fairly alright novel regarding action but it could do better in terms of conspiracies all that shit.

I will probably read the other two. I like the spirit.
>> No. 6434 Anonymous
1st August 2016
Monday 4:12 pm
6434 Iain Banks - Dead Air
No castles or incest this time but left-wing rants make up about 60% of the content of this one. Still quite entertaining despite the plot being a bit unfocused. It started out as though it was going to be something sort of political about 9/11 but he got distracted by gangsters and women and a couple of minor plot arcs that materialised from nowhere and rapidly went back there.

I do miss the surreal nature of The Bridge and Walking On Glass.
>> No. 6435 Anonymous
1st August 2016
Monday 5:23 pm
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You'll get your predicted commentary/allusions to post-9/11 imperialist politics in Garbadale. Transition returns to the fantastical; I'll be interested to hear if you rate it or not. it didn't stand out as being anything like as enjoyable The Bridge, which made me wonder whether I had changed or whether Banks' writing had (again, a decade and change here, rather than your mad-dash "Banks month" - impressive stamina, by the way).
>> No. 6436 Anonymous
1st August 2016
Monday 6:01 pm
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I'm on Garbadale now. I keep finding misplaced apostrophes and one instance of their/there being confounded. It seems like it may be intentional as it's just Tango's POV which does it so far but it doesn't really add anything.

I remember that Banks said he hadn't written anything as grand as The Bridge when he started on The Quarry, hopefully that one will match up.
>> No. 6437 Anonymous
2nd August 2016
Tuesday 12:22 pm
6437 Iain Banks - The Steep Approach To Garbadale
☑ Stately Home
☑ Incest
☑ Left-wing rant
☑ Adultery
☑ Womanising
☑ Cocaine and whisky
Technically more of the same but this time it feels like he's using it more to full effect; before they were the focus, perhaps a bit experimental, but now they're set pieces which fit together nicely to create a more coherent book as a whole. Solid characterisation and development all around, some beautifully described set pieces. Aside from the slightly unlikely boardgame-to-console development of Empire! this world and its people felt real.
My only criticism is that the narration seemed to be limited third-person but switched to tell the story from a slightly different limited third-person, as though changing protagonist even if that person was only in two scenes. It felt like a slightly odd mix of first and third. I'm sure other books do this fine but it was distracting here.

Hypothetically if someone wanted to know which book gave the best impression of his work as a whole, this would probably be it.
>> No. 6440 Anonymous
3rd August 2016
Wednesday 3:36 am
6440 Iain Banks - Transition
Well that was bloody brilliant. Combined all the best stuff of the previous novels into some The Long Earth meets Abu Ghraib madness.
Granted it lacked the dark elegant simplicity of earlier stuff, a blockbuster compared to an indie movies but still damn good. It even had a real plot arc, for once.
Only gripes: The Pitcher's plotline felt ill-conceived, analogous characters appear in a couple of the other books and whatever it is Iain thought was interesting about them he has failed to communicate to me. The description of Madame d'O at the party made me picture something like Ursula from Disney's The Little Mermaid. In fact that whole segment felt cartoonish.
>> No. 6442 Anonymous
5th August 2016
Friday 2:56 pm
6442 Iain Banks - Stonemouth
Not a lot to say about this. Just another Iain Banks book. Well written characters, nice slow reveal of stuff not underestimating or patronising the reader. Nothing innovative or challenging about it though either. Pumped-out schlock. Higher quality schlock than most but that's not an excuse.
>> No. 6443 Anonymous
5th August 2016
Friday 2:57 pm
6443 Alissa Nutting - Tampa
I'm not entirely sure what the point of this was. Apparently it was intended to point out the hypocrisy of what attractive female child molesters can get away with but Alissa seemed very good at writing about the beauty of adolescent boys. Towards the end she definitely tries to undermine Debra Lafave's court defence by making it seem totally dishonest but there are some extremely pornographic segments which undermine that.
A much better book than the exercise in millennial narcissism that was Lolito by Ben Brooks, but Lolita it ain't.
>> No. 6444 Anonymous
5th August 2016
Friday 4:08 pm
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Sexy older ladies molesting me would certainly have me 'nutting', that I can assure you if you know what I mean ;^)
>> No. 6445 Anonymous
7th August 2016
Sunday 12:07 am
6445 Iain Banks - The Quarry
This was... incredibly bitter and full of self-loathing. The story of a man dying (relatively) young from cancer as told through the eyes of his social disorder-ridden son. The son behaved outwardly as you'd expect someone with a degree of Aspergers to, but his internal dialogue (the prose itself) was far too normie for it to scan. Still, the man's rant about the state of the world and how he wasn't sad to leave the mess we've made struck home. A bit meta at times, when Guy, the father, disappears and they think he may have gone to kill himself the first places they check are a bridge, a tower and a lake which seem like overt references to the author's favourite set pieces. High quality but not mind blowing literature, although given that Banks was dying of cancer when he wrote it, it does feel very genuine and heartfelt.

A moving farewell letter to the world. R.I.P Mr. Banks.
>> No. 6497 Anonymous
11th September 2016
Sunday 5:10 am
6497 Olivia Laing - The Lonely City
This was a drunk purchase for reasons I forgot, but it was really fascinating. I don't feel I learned a great deal about loneliness specifically, in fact I got a bit annoyed at the author for her actual period of loneliness didn't exceed six months and the small r9k part of me was insulted by her little jaunt into being alone, like a rich kid playing at being poor, but once I got over that the book was hard to put down.
It has a slight preoccupation with loneliness induced by homosexuality in the 80s, but I learned a great deal about Henry Darger and gained an actual appreciation for Warhol as well as a better understanding of why various pieces of modern art why the way they are, or at least some semblance of the idea that there is reasoning behind them, they're not always as wank as they appear to be on the surface.
I felt like I learned a lot of interesting stuff as well as it opening up a lot of new avenues for things to learn about that I was unaware of previously.
>> No. 6510 Anonymous
28th September 2016
Wednesday 1:56 pm
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Re-reading Forsyth's The Dogs of War. One hell of a preparation they do. That Manson guy is one sly magnificent bastard.
>> No. 6512 Anonymous
19th October 2016
Wednesday 2:42 pm
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So American Pyscho.

Did anybody else feel it was a struggle to read? I'm not quite sure how to phrase it, it wasn't bad, it wasn't badly written either, it was really enjoyable, yet it was a bit draining trying to keep up with his thoughts (which I guess was the idea).

Can somebody explain the last two chapters to me? When he gets mugged by the taxi driver, is he just being mugged but merging his crazy thoughts into his story to make it match up, that he's being attacked for murdering somebody and not just because he's actually being mugged by chance?

What was the significance of the last chapter 'At Harry's'? I wasn't sure if the takeaway (I know there's meant to be some ambiguity) was that it all culminates in a random mish-mash of the same old conversations and he realises, as the sign above the door suggests, that there is no exit from that lifestyle.

Please help, lads.

Edited by a mod because the original poster forgot that we have spoiler tags although why anyone would care about spoiling such an old an well-known book I don't know.
>> No. 6513 Anonymous
19th October 2016
Wednesday 2:51 pm
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>Edited by a mod because the original poster forgot that we have spoiler tags although why anyone would care about spoiling such an old an well-known book I don't know.

N1 mate, even left a capitalised 'SPOILER' in there to remind myself to add it in and then posted anyway. My bad.
>> No. 6514 Anonymous
19th October 2016
Wednesday 2:54 pm
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No worries, it's so relatively unimportant that I almost didn't bother.

As to your question, the entirely unreliable nature of the narrator makes it pretty much impossible to discern what is and isn't reality in the book, so the only real option you have is to take it as his interpretation of the facts, rather than hoping to figure out any "true" narrative.
>> No. 6515 Anonymous
19th October 2016
Wednesday 7:28 pm
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Exactly that. I also think that it's not just the lifestyle he has no escape from, but also that he's reached the absolute limit of his development mentally and emotionally. He's clearly become so stunted and deranged that this is the only reality possible for him.

Thanks for reminding me how much I like the book.
>> No. 6533 Anonymous
7th January 2017
Saturday 10:11 am
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Started reading Brothers Karamazov and, good grief, it's boring. What a shame as the synopsis is chock-full of interesting themes.

Has anyone here read it? I'm on Book Four and unsure whether to stick with it.
>> No. 6534 Anonymous
7th January 2017
Saturday 10:20 am
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The only Dostoyevsky I've read is The Meek One and I found it weary. I'm sure he was seeing how many times he could shoehorn the word magnanimous into a story.
>> No. 6535 Anonymous
7th January 2017
Saturday 10:27 am
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There's a lot of that sort of thing in Brothers Karamazov too. I wonder just how much damage has been wrought by hamfisted translators. Because, conversely, Crime and Punishment was a great read.
>> No. 6536 Anonymous
7th January 2017
Saturday 6:57 pm
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Perhaps this was a poor translation?
>> No. 6537 Anonymous
7th January 2017
Saturday 7:08 pm
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Google says Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky did the most critically/academically acclaimed translation of The Brother's K.
>> No. 6541 Anonymous
3rd February 2017
Friday 9:58 am
6541 Olivia Laing - The Trip to Echo Spring
echo spring.jpg
Interesting sort of travel diary and retrospective of a number of classic American authors who liked to drink too much. Not just Hemingway but Tennessee Williams and Scott Fitzgerald in detail with many others mentioned.
Not as moving as The Lonely City but still more than worth reading; it provides insight into the lives of a lot of these people that you'd otherwise have to read a lot of tedious biographies and collected letters of to find out. It doesn't give much of an answer to why writers drink beyond "these people had a lot of issues" and I feel like Ms. Laing has a bit of a preoccupation with homosexuals.
>> No. 6542 Anonymous
3rd February 2017
Friday 10:06 am
6542 Ursula Le Guin - The Wind's Twelve Quarters
Another short story collection. This was published almost 30 years before >>6421 and it shows in every respect. The ideas and characters aren't as clearly presented and the stories feel a bit muddled and unsure of themselves. I feel like she was just finding her footing for the fantasy/SF cross that she's known for. That's not to say it wasn't worth reading, just that I won't be recommending it specially to anyone.
>> No. 6543 Anonymous
3rd February 2017
Friday 10:21 am
6543 Will Self - Grey Area and other stories
All Englishmen should love Will Self, the man with the lugubrious voice. With some authors works you get the feeling that you know what they're trying to do but it falls short somehow; this is never the case with Self. Some of his novels are a bit intimidating in terms of complexity and length but I feel like Grey Area is a great sampler of the overall tone of his work. Some of his other short story collections are more innovative or entertaining but this is a really solid piece of work.
>> No. 6544 Anonymous
3rd February 2017
Friday 10:27 am
6544 David Benatar - Better Never To Have Been
The most thorough and popular anti-natalist philosophy I'm aware of having been laid out. He does say he's not arguing for suicide but you still may want to kill yourself at the end of it. If you're worried about the Trumpocalypse through nuclear warfare or climate change then this at least will comfort you that, in the end, that's for the best.
>> No. 6545 Anonymous
3rd February 2017
Friday 10:38 am
6545 Vernor Vinge - Across Realtime
Mr. Vinge back with his wonderfully crisp, clear prose. A fantastic storyteller even if this book feels a little dated now. I'm not completely sure why this trilogy is a trilogy, despite the continuing timeline the second book doesn't feel thematically connected to the other two and could be skipped without losing a sense of what's going on. Still, it's entertaining in its own right.

In this trilogy at least Vinge reminds me a great deal of Stephen Baxter's Manifold books, both in the exploration/handling of deep time and the Della Lu/Nemoto similarities. I wonder if she's related to Una Persson?
>> No. 6546 Anonymous
6th February 2017
Monday 5:07 pm
6546 Vernor Vinge - A Fire Across The Deep
This seems to be very "soft" SF. Vinge seems to have re-written a number of laws of physics to create the setting, although perhaps it's just a bit scientifically dated.

Some great conceits* and the pacing had me glued to the book. Some odd stylisations in the prose style that were a bit distracting, things like switching the POV in mid-paragraph and in a number of places, information and dialogue seems to repeat itself in a way that felt like I was reading an unpolished draft of a novel.

*The galactic communications network being portrayed as a pay-for-bandwidth old-style bulletin board with all the cross-wires, half truths and lies that entails was fun the whole way through.
>> No. 6547 Anonymous
8th February 2017
Wednesday 10:20 pm
6547 Gabriel García Márquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
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Nothing much to say about this that you won't have already heard. Really beautiful book, blah blah, confusing character names. Márquez really is a master of magical realism, I love how the lines are blurred or non-existent.
It's not long but it is quite dense, bears reading in digestable portions over quite a while. Doing that may make it harder to remember which character is which or descended from whom but that's part of the wonder of it. Just let it wash over you.
>> No. 6549 Anonymous
9th February 2017
Thursday 6:51 pm
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I read this summer last year, my edition came with a helpful family tree (as long as you didn't read too far down and 'spoil' elements of the story for yourself).

I agree, it's difficult to write anything about it that hasn't been said already, but I can describe the effect it had on me, and the standout parts.

There are so many standout moments, the death of the family patriarch, the characterisation of all the sons, the anecdote about the murder at a cockfight, the transformation of the quiet boy in the little chemist's lab to a revolutionary Colonel, the ascent of that odd and otherworldly girl to heaven. It's a book that's really designed to furnish your mind with beautiful images.

The way he writes the perception of time is incredibly true to life, what it's really like to live and sense the passage of time. Relatives who seem to live forever, prolonged or shortened adolescences, the dramatic but often imperceptible changes in the environment, seasons, politics, faces, buildings of the town.

Also how this matches up to perception of place, like the bookshop owner who moves away and is dissatisfied no matter where he's living, gave way to what is, in my opinion, the most wonderful passage of the book:

Upset by two nostalgias facing each other like two mirrors, he lost his marvelous sense of unreality and he ended up recommending to all of them that they leave Macondo, that they forget everything he had taught then about the world and the human heart, that they shit on Horace, and that wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.

Another thing that comes to mind is how gracefully the author handled sex and violence. It manages to be mythical and mundane all at once. Not erotic writing in the slightest, but deep and visceral descriptions that struck me as incredibly human. I won't quote any passages out of context here but some of these moments were really powerful when reading.

I'm prattling, here, but it's one that's really stuck with me. There's a hell of a lot of life in that book, in the energy of the world and the subtlety of the writing.
>> No. 6550 Anonymous
11th February 2017
Saturday 2:20 pm
6550 Liu Cixin - The Three-Body Problem
I've heard great things about this book. It was surprisingly bad. Ignoring the weird dialogue because it's translated from Chinese, there are some very nicely written scenes. Cixin has a very vivid imagination for little heroic or dramatic set pieces like paintings of war, but there are only a small handful throughout.
It begins with a premise that the same particle-collision experiments carried out in different places at different times gives wildly inconsistent results, therefore the laws of physics are not universal therefore physics "doesn't exist". Their only two hypotheses for why this is are that either some alien/greater intelligence did it on a whim or some alien/greater intelligence did it to fatten us up like turkeys, so all the scientists start to kill themselves. I know Chinese culture and thought is a little different to ours but nothing about the aforementioned sounds very scientific to me. The larger part of the book is spent with characters who feel like puppets doing illogical things for no real reason and with no real outcome. The last sixty pages or so are spent explaining away the stuff in the first part but it's done in an oddly fairy-tale like manner and is just unconvincing. Underneath its pretensions of complicated maths it's really a very bland piece of genre fiction, about as scientifically rigorous as something PKD could have come up with.

As for why it's so popular in China, I can only guess that good science fiction is banned there so they don't have much to compare it to.
>> No. 6551 Anonymous
11th February 2017
Saturday 5:22 pm
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Hello /lit/lads.

Some time ago (some some time ago) somebody posted this weird dark sci-fi thing about various races in a fictional universe and how their fates had come about. Some of them were sentient machines that had gone full circle and created life only to have it become sentient and re-mechanicalise itself or something like that. Proper interesting, far out weird stuff. I think it might have been background fluff from some sort of tabletop RPG.

Anyway I was wondering if any of you would have the foggiest what I'm on about and direct me towards it, because I want to write some music about it.
>> No. 6552 Anonymous
11th February 2017
Saturday 10:17 pm
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Sounds like something Stephen Baxter or Alastair Reynolds might have written but beyond that I'm not sure.
>> No. 6553 Anonymous
14th February 2017
Tuesday 1:34 pm
6553 Stanislaw Lem - Solaris
Lem has a reputation and it is well deserved. This book addresses some of the same issues that the philosopher Thomas Nagel would become famous for writing about 13 years later, that is, what is it like to experience or fully understand The Other entirely? They both make the same mistake in assuming that people "fully" understand anything but that's really by-the-by, it's a good book and worth reading both for the thoughts it might provoke and just for simply being a landmark piece of science fiction. Lem and PKD were contemporaries and whilst PKDs ideas are probably more complex, Lems are by far more coherent and not schizophrenic. Apparently PKD believed Lem was a group of communist writers all publishing under the same name for cold war reasons, Lem was flattered by this. PKD was mad, whatever.
Good book. The descriptions of the stuff the planet makes evoke images of fractals and similarly DMT-esque things. The (few) characters are very believable, given their circumstances.

Apparently the Tarkovsky film of this is very good, although wikipedia says it focuses too much on the human relations rather than the central ideas of the book, which is the same issue I had with the Soderbergh version which I did see, despite it still being enjoyable but for perhaps different reasons.
>> No. 6554 Anonymous
17th February 2017
Friday 4:07 pm
6554 John Wyndham - Consider her ways and others
Nice little collection of short stories. Wyndham only seems to have the one "voice" and most of these stories hinge on almost identical conceits but he does a rather nice job of approaching them from a variety of people's points of views, seeing how those might turn out. His idea of contemporary society is quite dated (as is to be expected from a 50+ year old book) but in a way that evokes a sense of nostalgia for the previous century. Very comfy, or cosy, or whatever it is bernd says.
>> No. 6555 Anonymous
18th February 2017
Saturday 8:25 pm
6555 Neil Gaiman - Norse Mythology
Good light read, Gaiman's sense of humour makes a nice fitting to his retellings of Prose Edda and the rest of the Norse cycle. The language used in most translations of things like that is often a bit dull to read, this makes it far easier to get through and is about as close to the spirit of the original stories as you're likely to get. Like everything he writes it's aimed at Young Adult readers but I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Norse Mythology but put off by the "originals".
I was especially impressed by his ability to showcase how similar some aspects of the stories are to what we think of as folk or fairytales, without signposting it too obviously.
>> No. 6556 Anonymous
18th February 2017
Saturday 11:30 pm
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>The language used in most translations of things like that is often a bit dull to read
Haven't read Gaiman's take on it, but can confirm, the Vedas/Eddas are pretty tedious. It's all "and then Jon Stromsson struck down Birgitte Hakarlsdottir on the tenth night of the eighth moon, and was summoned to the Althing to address his crimes, for which his father did pay the customary 100 silver pieces, and arranged for their children to be wed". For hundreds of pages. The Icelandic government may be the oldest in the world but murder seemed to be the order of the day for most of it, and not much of anyone cared about it, either. More like a minor inconvenience; a bit of cash exchanged hands, job done (unless it was a slave, in which case nobody even pretended to give a fuck).
>> No. 6557 Anonymous
19th February 2017
Sunday 8:14 pm
6557 Will Self - Cock & Bull
This is actually two, unrelated novellas, save for the name and theme of gender fuck-ups. Cock is about a woman who grows a penis and rapes her husband, Bull is about a man who grows a vagina in the back of his leg. Don't worry, those aren't really spoilers. They both seem chiefly concerned with cynicism about human nature; the first is both frightening and grotesque (not so much the directly sexual parts as everything else, some parts were preminiscent of his novel My Idea Of Fun) and the second darkly humorous. Both display great characterisations and understandings of different parts of life. I'm not sure if he intends to shock with his writing but he certainly relishes and wallows in unpleasantness. Only having read his early works I'm curious to see if he grows out of it.

I was amused to find, in my second-hand edition of this book, two bus tickets used as bookmarks. One from May 2001 just over two-thirds of the way through and another, two dozen pages from the end, dated January 1998.

Mr. Self is a very strange man.
>> No. 6558 Anonymous
19th February 2017
Sunday 8:49 pm
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>I was amused to find, in my second-hand edition of this book, two bus tickets used as bookmarks. One from May 2001 just over two-thirds of the way through and another, two dozen pages from the end, dated January 1998.

I think I've finally found a use for the decades worth of receipts I've got scattered around the house; I'm going to start putting them in random books in charity shops.
>> No. 6559 Anonymous
20th February 2017
Monday 9:20 pm
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Please do. I love finding other people's train tickets and receipts in charity shop books; little anonymous windows in the lives of others fascinates me.
>> No. 6560 Anonymous
20th February 2017
Monday 9:36 pm
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You can have my dead car if you want.
>> No. 6561 Anonymous
20th February 2017
Monday 9:56 pm
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Can I? The missus wrote the car off this week and I'm brassic.
>> No. 6562 Anonymous
20th February 2017
Monday 10:57 pm
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He seems like an alright bloke.

>> No. 6563 Anonymous
21st February 2017
Tuesday 7:30 am
6563 Ryan Holiday - Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
This was a bit of an eye opener. I'm always a bit wary of the content of any book written by someone who claims to be good at manipulating or lying to people but the evidence for what he says is really all around us, he just provides an explanation for it. What he did when working for Tucker Max and American Apparel, someone is very obviously doing for Milo Yannohisname. It really boils down to "all media stuff is nonsense and lies made up to get click-throughs, let's cross our fingers until someone works out a better way to do it or it stops working on its own". I'd add "keep your adblock on at all times unless you're certain the page belongs to the original content creator and isn't news". Given that it's now five years old, things are probably worse than he describes by now.

The man himself comes across as a bit of a turd, all the examples he gives are either something bad he's done (for which he makes excuses and swears he's turned over a new leaf) or others (and are blatant character assassination of media figures he doesn't like). That doesn't really invalidate what he says however. I'm sure you're sort of aware of all this but it's far more insidious than most realise.

Given how much time you spend on the internet you should definitely read this.
Don't give him your money though, download it. It's on libgen.
>> No. 6564 Anonymous
21st February 2017
Tuesday 1:14 pm
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He's not as much of a shit as the book makes out. He's brutally self-critical, but it's easy to overlook the fact that he started working for Tucker Max when he was 19. The combination of immense talent and total immaturity is perilous. His recent book Ego is the Enemy is a 256 page penance.
>> No. 6565 Anonymous
21st February 2017
Tuesday 3:15 pm
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This is odd. I saw that book somewhere yesterday, but I can't place exactly where.

My life is a dream and nothing is real.
>> No. 6566 Anonymous
25th February 2017
Saturday 1:48 pm
6566 Vernor Vinge - Rainbows End
This sort of cyberpunk-lite is a lot more entertaining than his space opera-esque novels but... I don't know. Vinge is capable of writing high-concept stuff but this just seems like well-written, generic futurism. It's a bit dated even now, due to some of the cultural references but if works if you think of it as an alternate future-present that split off around the time the book was released. Better world-building than the Maddaddam series but sort of aimless. Lots of fun little details using an anime avatar to avoid kids because they'd find it too sophisticated and old-fashioned was a great sly move yet there's little in this that leaps out and grabs you as a concept. Advances in medical, networking and VR tech are old hat.
Some moral questions are thrown up but never really addressed for example the villain's justification for his actions is actually quite reasonable but the novel never contradicts them or gives any hint that he's right or wrong; the main characters simply stop him and that's it.
The prose is clear, the characterisations and development are good, the pacing is ideal but something is missing. Innovation, perhaps. As great a storyteller as Vinge can be, he's still a man of his time, and as such, a writer of his time's future.
>> No. 6572 Anonymous
13th March 2017
Monday 10:32 pm
6572 David Wojnarowicz - Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration
I can't spell this man's name for shit.
This is a book in two parts, it felt like. First was very dense but beautiful prose, the memoir part. It never occurred to me that an anonymous casual gay encounter could be beautiful, but Wojnaro... fuck. David made it so. It is a little over the top at times, but not to the degree that it spoils the rest of it.
The remaining 200 pages were transcribed interviews and phonecalls about a friend of his who committed suicide, obviously in much simpler prose. Lots of being angry about the lack of safe-sex education and how homosexuals are poorly treated, mainly raging against now-irrelevant political and religious figures. I think Reagan is the only person mentioned that I knew of.
Worth reading just for the first half; it is full of despair and tragic beauty.
>> No. 6574 Anonymous
15th March 2017
Wednesday 12:35 am
6574 Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore
I have decided that I don't really like Murakami (Norwegian Wood bored me shitless), but will admit that this one captivated me toward the end. Honestly I'd have preferred if he hadn't decided to include the whole Oedipus allusion thing, the surreal otherworldliness was solid enough to carry the book without that nastiness.

(Apparently the book contains several riddles, but apparently I'm too stupid to pick them up.)
>> No. 6575 Anonymous
15th March 2017
Wednesday 5:28 pm
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dancing in the no fly zone.jpg
Incredibly good. Brings me back to when I was there, pre and post invasion.
>> No. 6578 Anonymous
15th March 2017
Wednesday 10:27 pm
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I'd be interested in reading more about the book/your thoughts on Iraq.
>> No. 6579 Anonymous
15th March 2017
Wednesday 10:32 pm
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Have you considered buying the book? And my thoughts? I am just a poster on an anonymous imageboard, bust ask away.
>> No. 6581 Anonymous
15th March 2017
Wednesday 10:42 pm
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I've got a reading list longer than my arm, so honestly no, not really. As for your thoughts: I'm interested in what Iraqis you know thought about the invasion. I met a Kurd who rather it be called a "liberation", thought it was for the good, and made me feel very ignorant about the whole thing.
>> No. 6582 Anonymous
18th March 2017
Saturday 9:34 pm
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Depends on the people I guess. I met an Iraqi taxi driver in Egypt. It was very depressing. He spoke about how he had a decent life, family, a business, and how he lost it all along with 3 kids.

Made me feel really bad.
>> No. 6583 Anonymous
21st March 2017
Tuesday 7:53 pm
6583 Michel Houellebecq - The Possibility of an Island
I think this book is supposed to be philosophy in the way that Camus or Kafka can be but there wasn't a great deal of that, at least not in the way they handle it. The book deals with potential eternal life in a way that doesn't seem to me to be even remotely philosophically sound. Immortality through cloning yourself and injecting some liquid from your brain into the clones that supposedly gives it your personality but not, it seems, any of your memories.

It's sort of a pessimist romance novel in a way; the characters have some ideal of love or passion that seems very important to them but also unattainable while that's not important. Perhaps it's the idea of the possibility of them that makes things worthwhile, not ever getting them?
I don't know. I enjoyed the central character's cynicism and mildly idiotic (for seemingly ironic reasons) sense of humour. Gloomy and grumpy but it never occurs to him to give up on things. Lots of sex without really being sexy. Sex is an act clearly relished, but the telling of it is quite matter-of-fact. It's very masculine French; I felt as though cigarette ash and the smell of dried red wine were billowing out of the pages as I turned them. If you have any idea what the author looks like, it's impossible not to picture the character as much the same.
He does mention Islam a few times but he's just as rudely dismissive about other religions; perhaps his work Submission is what got people really riled about his apparent Islamophobia. I had other things to say about the book but I forgot them so they're probably not important.
>> No. 6584 Anonymous
26th March 2017
Sunday 10:32 am
6584 Michel Houellebecq - The Map and the Territory
This was better, definitely scratched a philosophical itch and seemed to be saying something interesting about models, maps, children, all sorts of reproduction and their eventual decomposition, a very melancholy book by the end of it and kept thematically tight.
I did find myself becoming exasperated at the lengthy descriptions of the history of Bichon, William Morris and the lives of flies but they were there for a good reason in the end.
>> No. 6585 Anonymous
28th March 2017
Tuesday 9:21 am
6585 China Miéville - The Last Days of New Paris
I've been fairly critical of Miéville in the past but reading this I think he's finally matured as a writer. It has many of his favourite themes (anti-fascism, partisans, mech-people, urban fantasy, etc) but they're assembled cogently, the world makes "sense" and is full of interesting stuff he has clearly researched extremely thoroughly. At just over 100 pages, unlike Embassytown you don't get the sense that he's stretched out a small number of ideas needlessly for the sake of being the length of a novel.

If you're going to read anything of his, let it be this.
>> No. 6586 Anonymous
4th April 2017
Tuesday 8:28 pm
6586 John Rechy - City of Night
Some superficial similarities to Close to the Knives, but pre-AIDS so somewhat different. It's not unlike a series of character studies in segments tied together into an over-arching narrative of the narrator's own journey. Lots of very real, very lonely and insecure people. A very powerful piece of writing.

>“It’s strange that we should have to force ourselves not to love—or share, if you dont like that other word—even force ourselves not to acknowledge that love is possible. And so we make the world even more rotten than it was when we discovered its rot; justifying ourselves by saying it’s the only way: Get tough. Or be swallowed by it. And we further that original alienation. . . . And by ‘rot’ I mean only all the things that repress and forbid—the rot created by people in order to keep themselves from facing the real horror—within themselves—the coldness, the lack of understanding—. . .”
>> No. 6594 Anonymous
14th April 2017
Friday 12:46 pm
6594 Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of The Wind
Someone lent me their copy of this, recommending it.
Nope. Nopenopenope. Empty calories for the brain. An immensely dislikeable Gary Stu protagonist in a fedora and the friend zone. Fuck this book and fuck Patrick Rothfuss.
>> No. 6595 Anonymous
28th April 2017
Friday 1:53 pm
6595 Jean Baudrillard - Simulacra and Simulation
Everything is a copy of a copy and the copy is the reality. This is really dense to read and takes a lot of digesting, even though it's not saying much that couldn't be more easily summed up by someone who just accepted the presupposition and wasn't trying to argue it. If you define everything as a copy, doesn't that render the distinction between copy and reality, and from there the entire thesis, meaningless? I think postmodernism is quite possibly little more than crypto schizophrenia. Deleuze and Guattari don't even bother with the crypto part. Still, it's interesting and they make me feel funny when I read them.
>> No. 6597 Anonymous
5th May 2017
Friday 8:28 am
6597 Reza Negarestani - Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials
I can't say I got anything out of this or really understood anything more than the general idea. This is touted as "theory fiction" which means it's a knowingly false psychoanalysis of war for oil through some sort of Mesopotamian religious lens. It's not even a headfuck, just a barrage of invented Theosophy and Numerology. The Middle-East as egregore. I think Borges was right to write reviews of fictional books instead of writing the books themselves; some ideas are neat but don't need to be fully realised like this. Postmodernism a shit.
>> No. 6598 Anonymous
11th May 2017
Thursday 6:11 pm
6598 Georges Perec - A Man Asleep
I don't know what to say other than that this was quite beautiful.
>> No. 6599 Anonymous
24th May 2017
Wednesday 10:41 am
6599 Philip K. Dick - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
This was really quite nightmarish in a way that the bland characters just seemed to accept. The setting and technology is fairly campy in that way Dick usually approaches future settings, but then the central conceit starts to kick in about half way through and that all goes out the window. I'm left reeling a little, trying not to think too hard about what was actually supposed to be happening because it'll just descend into schizoid branching loops. Good book, totally mental.
>> No. 6600 Anonymous
28th May 2017
Sunday 9:53 am
6600 Robert Shearman - They do the same things different there
An overlooked gem of a book. The weakest stories in here are horror, because horror isn't scary, but the weird things and particularly the characters are brilliant; humanly portrayed and touching descriptions. Apparently the author's best known for writing for Doctor Who and frankly that's a shame because he's clearly so much better than that. Highly recommended.
>> No. 6601 Anonymous
20th June 2017
Tuesday 9:57 am
6601 J. P. Donleavy - The Onion Eaters
A man with three testicles inherits a castle which is then subsequently invaded by a parade of fucking strange people with a variety of perversions. This doesn't seem to have any real plot to speak of but the prose is interesting if confusing at times. Gormenghast-lite with a cast of lewd Monty Python-esque characters.
>> No. 6602 Anonymous
20th June 2017
Tuesday 10:02 am
6602 Robert Shearman - Remember Why You Fear Me
Another of Shearman's short story collections. Really excellent writing, not the 'horror' genre-fiction it's touted as. These cover images are really inappropriate for the content, frankly.
For whatever reason, most of the stories in this collection are car crash, divorce/adultery and/or Christmas themed. Some really quite sinister stuff, even to read in this heat.
>> No. 6603 Anonymous
22nd June 2017
Thursday 9:00 pm
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Sounds interesting. If not horror, how would you describe the stories? Eerie or tense?
>> No. 6604 Anonymous
22nd June 2017
Thursday 9:19 pm
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Of the two, eerie. Sinister was my adjective of choice.
>> No. 6609 Anonymous
27th June 2017
Tuesday 11:07 am
6609 Saul Bellow - Seize the Day
Themes of drowning and eventual rebirth ... great characterisation especially when it comes to Dr. Tamkin, I suspect we've all met one or two people who behave very much like that.

I had a look briefly at some SparkNotes or whatever essays else Google served up on the book and found it curious that a lot of them make a thing about the references made in this book, both ones made explicitly (the writers Tamkin talks about and the listed contents of his bookshelf) and implicitly (connections made to most of the character's names). It's not that they talk about them which is strange, it's that all of them are mentioned only once in the narrative. Except Korzybski, who's referred to by name then later by reference to his book Science and Sanity. You'd think there might be something noteworthy in the man who wrote a book on non-Aristotelian logic being mentioned in passing conjunction with Aristotle himself, but no. The only Google result for 'Korzybski seize the day' simply notes that he's referenced in the book.
I know Korzybski and his Institute of General Semantics aren't terribly popular but I suspect there's more going on in this context at least.
>> No. 6610 Anonymous
9th July 2017
Sunday 3:04 pm
6610 Will Self - The Book of Dave
The Book of Dave is a good book haha
>> No. 6611 Anonymous
9th July 2017
Sunday 3:39 pm
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I kind of enjoyed it but I did find it pretty depressing, not sure why, like a lot of Self's work to be honest. Thought Umbrella was really good.
>> No. 6612 Anonymous
9th July 2017
Sunday 8:17 pm
6612 Anne Cumming - The Love Quest
Absurd title aside, this memoir strikes me as an English, heterosexual equivalent to the Wojnarowicz and Rechy books earlier in the thread. While AIDS did for all three of them in the end, her more matter-of-fact, uncluttered obvious enjoyment of sex and lack of guilt regarding it in a post-war, pre-free-love way is quite admirable.
Her attitude, coming from an obviously very privileged upper class English late colonial background yet still being entirely unconcerned with it also reminds me of Amanda Feilding, although just ... less mental.
>> No. 6704 Anonymous
22nd October 2017
Sunday 6:28 pm
6704 Anne Garreta - Sphinx
I haven't read any fewer books since the last post, but this is the only one I've felt worth recommending to others.
>> No. 6706 Anonymous
19th November 2017
Sunday 10:01 am
6706 Lee Child - Gone Tomorrow
I tried reading some stuff outside of my usual interests.
This was pretty funny, some silly gaffes about technology and phones especially in the first half.
The narrator eventually conceded that he doesn't understand technology and stuck to (describing) his guns. And the New York underground system. There are maybe three pages dedicated to trivia on the construction and use of one particular make of carriage.
Massive overuse of Chekhov's gun. It takes some thinking to get that to work fluidly but it happened so much it read like he was doing it by rote almost, nothing innovative about it.
Solid writing for a thriller although there was one plot point that tantalisingly never got tied up.
Strong but not outstanding use of description, elements of Gary Stu, good pacing, weak characterisation, strong underlying themes of misogyny.
>> No. 6707 Anonymous
19th November 2017
Sunday 10:06 am
6707 Michael Connelly - The Black Echo
This is an almost identical book to the Lee Child one except the self-righteous and grumpy middle aged American man vibes are turned up so high you can smell him. Not to imply the other one is a good book but this one is worse in every conceivable way. Except he doesn't make a tit of himself talking about computers or phones, mainly because it was written seven years earlier in 2002 and they weren't really relevant.
There's definitely a simple formula to these books.
>> No. 6708 Anonymous
19th November 2017
Sunday 10:17 am
6708 Justin Cronin - The Passage
the passage.png
I quite liked this, although it goes on for 800+ pages then you find out it's just the first in a trilogy which is a bit mental. That said, Cronin's research, empathic characterisation and ability to combine different styles makes it not a regrettable read. If someone told me it was originally I Am Legend fanfiction I'd believe it. The only real problem I found was that the sheer number of characters got a bit confusing sometimes, particularly about 2/3 of the way through.
An ambitious work, just a couple of decades too late to make an impact.
>> No. 6709 Anonymous
19th November 2017
Sunday 6:07 pm
6709 Ian Rankin - Tooth & Nail / Wolfman
This was brilliant compared to the other two. It's not exactly The Name of the Rose but nor is it trying to be. I thought detective fiction was traditionally an American speciality, trust a Scotsman to utterly outclass them at their own game.
All the same themes, minus the constant descriptions of the the minutae of guns, but in a far less smug and obnoxious manner. I'm tempted to read some more of his stuff at some point.
>> No. 6710 Anonymous
16th December 2017
Saturday 3:45 pm
6710 Ian Rankin - Knots & Crosses
This was interesting to read; the first of the "Inspector Rebus" novels. It doesn't really compare to the previous one which is what's so interesting about it, you can really see Rankin's progression from one to the other, all the elements of the other books are in there but not played quite as slickly.
>> No. 6726 Anonymous
13th January 2018
Saturday 1:24 pm
6726 The Miracle of Castel di Sangro
Scrittore americano, Joe McGinniss, spends the season with Castel di Sangro Calcio after they won promotion to Serie B in 1996, the second tier in Italian football despite hailing from an impoverished town in the middle of nowhere with a population of c. 5,000 at a time when the Italian league was the best in the world.

It's got pretty much what you'd expect from Italian football at the time, numerous scandals, right down to having a cigar chomping owner with connections to the criminal underworld. It's an entertaining read, even if you don't like football, as McGinniss' enthusiasm is infectious.
>> No. 6727 Anonymous
13th January 2018
Saturday 7:44 pm
6727 Ian Rankin - Rebus books 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Hide and Seek (1991)
Strip Jack (1992)
The Black Book (1993)
Mortal Causes (1994)
Let It Bleed (1996)
Black and Blue (1997)
The Hanging Garden (1998)
Dead Souls (1999)
Set in Darkness (2000)
The Falls (2001)
Resurrection Men (2002)
A Question of Blood (2003)

There's a definite progression in his ability as a writer throughout these. It's not until about book 3 that he starts to really get the hang of the detective novel format. Around 5 or 6 he realises that most of the characters he began with (except Rebus) are pretty thin so he starts to kill them off, send them away or promote them to places where they can start to change at a distance, replacing them with others. I think it's book 5 where he gets an actual detective helping him with the details of how the police force works, which makes a lot of difference too, even if he does overdo it with the acronyms for a while. That's sort of played as a joke though, I think he might have been teasing the detective for dumping them all on him.
Around book 10 the characters start to really feel like real people. They get dimensions. He tried to do fancy things with flashbacks in book 1 but didn't do it great, started again in book 13 but it still just got on my nerves instead of seeming clever. Also in book 13 he's clearly recently picked up a textbook on body language/psychology for the first time; the text starts mentioning the way people move a lot then three quarters of the way through the characters explicitly mention having read books of that sort.
Have to say I'm getting a bit sick of the repeated themes of Edinburgh mythology; things like The Resurrection Men, John Knox, Sawney Bean and other snippets keep getting brought up in different contexts from one book to the next and while it's not done like he's trying to impress you with his breadth of knowledge of the stuff it does feel like the city's whole imaginative worlds revolve around them, surely other things happen in Scotland that are worthy of mentioning? You don't have to mention one of each of them every three books.
I liked how the nerdy characters and subjects were treated in book 12 even if I had a minor niggle with their technical knowledge it's not something totally unrealistic for them to not know in 2001.
The whole "connecting everything to a song by a band Rebus likes" was annoying and I'm glad he seems to be doing it less by book 14.
Most of the time the suspense over whodunnit or if the characters will survive is pretty decent; that sort of tedious feeling where you know who did it or who's going to survive whatever situation and are just waiting for the characters to figure it out and it to be over so the plot gets a move on is minimal.
I'm going to keep going but my interest is flagging.
>> No. 6729 Anonymous
19th January 2018
Friday 1:42 pm
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Your ability to read entire collected works is impressive, as usual. I don't know how you manage to remain so objective in your review of them after more than a handful, though; for instance, I know if I watch a few series of a TV show my capacity for objective review goes out the window, and I'm sure the same is true for books as I get used to the author and settle into their style. I inevitably get softer on my critique and more forgiving of sins that I'd find unforgivable if I was reading a new author/watching a new show/whatever the equivalent is for other forms of media.
>> No. 6730 Anonymous
19th January 2018
Friday 2:46 pm
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I'm not sure I can make any claim to objectivity, binge reading these things is just something to do those nights when my brain refuses to shut down but is useless for anything more taxing. I don't enjoy TV as much in that state. Thank you though.
>> No. 6731 Anonymous
19th January 2018
Friday 3:12 pm
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Some kind of strange anti-cunt-off going on here.
>> No. 6732 Anonymous
19th January 2018
Friday 8:46 pm
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A dick-off? No, that's not right, either.
>> No. 6733 Anonymous
19th January 2018
Friday 8:55 pm
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A fanny-off?
>> No. 6734 Anonymous
19th January 2018
Friday 10:25 pm
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That's only the opposite of a cunt-off if you're a lesbian, I guess.
>> No. 6735 Anonymous
20th January 2018
Saturday 12:46 am
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>> No. 6736 Anonymous
20th January 2018
Saturday 1:13 am
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A minge maul.
>> No. 6737 Anonymous
20th January 2018
Saturday 10:12 am
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I've been thinking about it some more, and it may actually be a new disguised form of cunt-off:

*That's a very interesting post*
> You're a cunt.

*Thanks lad*
> You too.
>> No. 6739 Anonymous
20th January 2018
Saturday 12:06 pm
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Damning with faint praise, I think it's called.
>> No. 6740 Anonymous
31st January 2018
Wednesday 9:42 pm
6740 Ian Rankin - Rebus books 15, 16, 17, 17.1, 17.2, 18, 19, 21, 22
Fleshmarket Close 2004)
The Naming of the Dead (2006)
Exit Music (2007)
Standing in Another Man's Grave (2012)
Saints of the Shadow Bible (2013)
The Complaints (2009) - Malcolm Fox
The Impossible Dead (2011) - Malcolm Fox
Even Dogs in the Wild (2015)
Rather Be the Devil (2016)

I finished the remaining Rebus novels, as well as the two Fox ones which took place in the chronicity. Malcolm Fox seems like a pointless character, Siobhan is more interesting but rarely develops in any particular fashion. Fox is particularly annoying as he supposedly sticks to the rules and does things by the book as all the other characters are keen to remind him in conversation except he really doesn't, every now and then he'll go against his orders in the most pointless way and achieve nothing at all by it.
The Naming of the Dead stuck out in particular as of all the books it had the most life to it, Rankin seemed energised by the G8 protests and how much he hates Bono. Exit Music and Even Dogs in the Wild had some particularly melancholy moments which I enjoyed.
As the stories progress into the later books (16+) it seems like someone was teaching Rankin about actual organised crime, so they begin to be a bit convoluted in a dull way all to do with buying property and banking investments. Once or twice this is done well but the rest of the time I wasn't terribly impressed. One case in particular was a retrospective thing about how all the gangsters invested in the land around the Scottish Parliament in the pre-2000 referendum and the fallout from that, then later there's a book where they're investing again in the land for the more recent referendum, but when that fails the next book ignores it.
Some odd things in the chronology; Rebus seems to forget his father was dead in one book, and the biography of Big Ger written at the end of one book has been totally forgotten by everyone involved a few books later when someone else proposes writing one.
I'm amused that the early cases sometimes take weeks and months with years in between, then the more recent ones all seem to happen in a matter of days, something that Rankin started doing presumably when he realised Rebus was about to reach the age of retirement and is now getting very old, but wanting to keep writing more books.
The annoying music reference gimmick have almost entirely stopped, and Rebus in his old age seems to listen almost exclusively to the Solid Air album by John Martyn. Not a bad album at all.

I skipped The Beat Goes On: The Complete Short Stories because I'm sick of it. This is enough Rebus to last a lifetime.

I wonder if Rankin is aware of how often he writes that a character's "mouth twitched" as a reaction to almost anything.
>> No. 6774 Anonymous
21st May 2018
Monday 10:31 pm
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While I am usually a fan of the memoirs and autobiographies of the users, the junkies, the alcoholics, life's general riff-raff that end up laid up at the lower stratas of society, this one left me not just unfulfilled but also fairly sad that I'd bothered to read it all.

If we can all agree that there is no point in reading (or writing, for that matter) something that you, or at least someone else, can’t learn anything from then we have no choice but to conclude that this is a useless book written by a useless person.

For there is nothing to learn here at all. No musings on the causes, mechanisms, whys, or wherefores of addiction or the visceral drive towards self destruction; about the deepest this book gets (and I paraphrase) is "and then I spent a few years letting gross men I didn't know bundle me into nightclub toilets and give me cocaine before later pulling me onto their laps in taxis while unzipping their fly, but you know how it is, right girls?!?!?".

Even Sarah Hepola's snooze-fest Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget or Burroughs Junior's ungainly, lurching memoir Speed have a comparative ocean of insight and a lot less "My dad was distant and my mother hated me and Kurt Cobain died, and here's a vague description of how I did a lot of dumb shit despite being born with a silver spoon in my mouth without even an attempt at self-contemplation about why I might have done so" when compared to this.

tl;dr - A pointless book by a pointless person, even her beauty columns had more to say about life than this and I'm a heterosexual male whose idea of looking after myself is trying to remember to get my hair cut more than once a year.
>> No. 6795 Anonymous
12th September 2018
Wednesday 12:19 pm
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I've just killed an hour reading a short story from Frederick Forsyth about some poor sod who got blackmailed by a prozzie. Money with Menaces it's called, I think.

I smelt something was up when the protagonist of the story talked back to his blackmailers, even more so when he mounted a shopping run for some components too ordinary to be left without attention.

The moment with the photo he'd removed from his flat before he got visited by a copper is still kind of brilliant.
>> No. 6861 Anonymous
21st December 2018
Friday 9:08 pm
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I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the works of Sir Terry. You can tell that Pratchett and Gaiman were challenging themselves to make the other laugh when they were writing it; it's the most fun I've had reading a book in quite some time.
>> No. 6981 Anonymous
3rd May 2019
Friday 10:51 am
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Bar the typical American fashion self-help giddy bollocks it's been an interesting story so far (I'm 6-7 chapters in).
There about half a chapter where he muses about the reasons he'd got into this shit (namely BUD/S training). I still have a hard time fully grasping all the self-imposed suffering. Not that I don't understand it; three Hell Weeks and the rest of that spec ops training plus the 100 mile marathon in 24 hours without any bloody preparation - it's just so much for one human being that I cannot fully comprehend it as a grand scheme.
Stone tough and fucking mad.
>> No. 6982 Anonymous
4th May 2019
Saturday 1:08 pm
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>> No. 6983 Anonymous
4th May 2019
Saturday 3:56 pm
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It's annoying that it's not going to be on the BBC for another six or seven months.
>> No. 6984 Anonymous
5th May 2019
Sunday 4:41 pm
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Yeah I liked his interview on Impact theory. As far as yanks go, he's a pretty interesting one.

>> No. 6987 Anonymous
25th May 2019
Saturday 4:08 pm
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I haven't had any time to continue reading it properly besides advancing just one or two chapters further. There's another titbit in there that recites something similar I've read from some SAS veteran. A reporter once asked the said vet how he'd managed to make it through the gruelling training. He replied that on many days he'd thought about quitting, he would say to himself that he'd try and toil just until 'lunch' and then quit. Each time he did, he'd postpone the decision to quit.
Goggins mentions the same strategy he'd used during that fucking Oahu ultramarathon.
>> No. 7028 Anonymous
12th August 2019
Monday 12:49 pm
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I expected this to be yet another variant of How to Kiss Arse and Perform Backstabs. It wasn't, instead focussing more on 'pay attention to what's going on around you', 'take care of yourself', a few bits about corporations being corporations. Nothing particularly groundbreaking of any sorts. Not too bad, just moderately generic.
>> No. 7033 Anonymous
21st August 2019
Wednesday 8:30 pm
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When I read things like this I constantly worry that I'm not knowledgeable enough to identify most of the references being made and that points will go over my head because I'm not clever enough to pick up subtlety.

Anyway, I liked it.
>> No. 7034 Anonymous
21st August 2019
Wednesday 9:06 pm
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1that's what the footnotes are for.
>> No. 7035 Anonymous
22nd August 2019
Thursday 7:16 am
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What if there isn't any footnotes?
>> No. 7036 Anonymous
22nd August 2019
Thursday 4:43 pm
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Does it really matter though? The only way you really get better at these things is reading them, missing the references then learning where they were missed out later.

It's just like watching a film, watch it, then after you've had a think about it (if it's that kind of film), have a google and see what others have said and see where you missed it out.
>> No. 7037 Anonymous
24th August 2019
Saturday 10:27 pm
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I might be taking a dim view on this because I've recently re-read Bad Science and this has suffered in comparison, but I found it rather poorly written and not very engaging.
>> No. 7038 Anonymous
25th August 2019
Sunday 10:03 am
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I'm about halfway through it. I liked the history of law, trial by ordeal etc. Quite shocking that magistrates are volunteers with no formal legal training. I got to the bit about legal aide I think and haven't picked it up in a year. But I'll start again soon.
>> No. 7039 Anonymous
25th August 2019
Sunday 10:26 am
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Don't get me wrong, there's a few eye openers in there. I just found too much of it clumsy and laboured; a chore to get through.
>> No. 7040 Anonymous
25th August 2019
Sunday 11:06 am
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You have to be pretty fucking ignorant of the legal system to not know that tbh.
>> No. 7041 Anonymous
25th August 2019
Sunday 11:11 am
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Stop swearing, prick.
>> No. 7042 Anonymous
25th August 2019
Sunday 11:12 am
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>> No. 7043 Anonymous
25th August 2019
Sunday 11:14 am
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>> No. 7044 Anonymous
3rd September 2019
Tuesday 1:09 pm
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These aren't books though. Doesn't make it worse, it's well written.
I'm sort of guilty rooting for the DPR. Less so with PLR; still, mildly fascinated.
>> No. 7054 Anonymous
11th October 2019
Friday 5:40 pm
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Geoff Thompson's Watch My Back. Quite brutal stuff in there.
>> No. 7055 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 3:25 pm
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If we were the other place I would have posted the usual 'What I have / What I expected / What I got' strip.
I had thought it would be another 'tales from the operating suite' kind of book. It wasn't; turned out to be a memoir of some fellow on his path to becoming a neurosurgeon, interwoven with a guide on meditation.
Its official site calls it 'part memoir, part inspiration, part practical instruction'. I find this description fitting.
>> No. 7056 Anonymous
14th October 2019
Monday 8:51 pm
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Started reading Old Wizard Moore's Jerusalem. Really enjoying it. Best thing I've read in a while but only 10% into it according to my kindle so will see how it progresses.
>> No. 7074 Anonymous
4th January 2020
Saturday 12:23 am
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It's standard Jon Ronson fare, but it's making me re-evaluate how much time I spend on the internet. In particular, whether I need to have my phone almost always with me when I'm at home which I'll be checking constantly. It's a bit of a waste, 4eally.
>> No. 7162 Anonymous
2nd August 2020
Sunday 6:23 pm
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Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is really funny.

Shadow State by Luke Harding is a good way to get more familiar with the background of the recent Russia report.

I'm also reading Ronan Farrow's book about the Weinstein stuff
>> No. 7163 Anonymous
2nd August 2020
Sunday 9:44 pm
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'He said […] if I wanted to know more about his work I should google him. I did and immediately saw many close-ups of his anus.'
>> No. 7164 Anonymous
2nd August 2020
Sunday 11:06 pm
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If having an anus counts as work I'm owed quite a windfall in back payments, so to speak.
>> No. 7165 Anonymous
7th August 2020
Friday 7:58 am
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I found it lacking something, as if it only scratched the surface of what it could be.

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