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Read any good books lately?

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  • Read any good books lately?

    Books. Out of all the mediums of story-telling, they are the most abundant. The problem, then, lies in picking out the ''good'' books.

    What is a good book? That answer will differ from person to person.

    My choice catagories are fantasy, sci-fi, and thriller. Most of those listed below are not ''mainstream'', so chances are you will not have heard of them. They are, I believe, extraordinary examples of their respective genres.

    I've read plenty of tragic books in my life. Tragic because they were very,very good, but also very much ignored (while the hyped. out-dated stuff got all the attention. If someone mentions the Wheel of Time or Lord of the Rings i swear I'll.....)

    In any event, feel free to post your all time favorite books here, for the benifit of all.

    K. J. Parker - Shadow - dark fantasy

    Robin Hobb - Assassin/Tawny Man Trilogies - adventure/fantasy

    Robert Asprin - Phules Company - sci-fi/comedy

    Margeret Weis/Don Perrin - The Knights of Black Earth - sci-fi/comedy

    David Gemmel - Rigante series - heroic/epic fantasy

    Robert Ludlum - The Prometheus Deception - conspiracy thriller

    John Hemry - Starks Crusade - military/sci-fi

    Raymod E fiest - Shards of a Broken Crown -epic fantasy

    David Farland - The Sum of all Men - epic fansasy

    Reviews on all of the above can of course be found on sites such as
    Last edited by CRONAN; 04-29-2004, 10:24 AM.

  • #2
    Mote in God's Eye
    DS9: Unity
    DS9: Avatar


    • #3
      Good books

      My wife introduced me to a series of very addictive books (to repay me for introducing her to the very addictive Babylon 5, drat her!) by a writer named Robert Jordan.

      The Wheel of Time series, which begins with the book "The Eye of the World". It is a world of fantasy, magic and monsters, and destiny. Some similar storylines to B5, where the "annointed of destiny" make decisions, and it also has the effects on the common man.

      Try the Wheel of Time, it is now up to 11 books, including the Prequel that was just released a few months ago. Read the prequel AFTER reading at the very least the first 5 books, it will make much more sense then.
      "Ivanova is God!"


      • #4
        Read, Richards

        Fredric Brown, From These Ashes: The Complete Short SF of Fredric Brown
        He was the master of the short-short story. Writer of the SF Hall of Famer "Arena," a short story adapted for an original Star Trek episode. His stories are great, and many have twists at the end that any Twilight Zone fan would relish. Not the most famous writer of Golden Age SF, but one that deserves more attention. (He was also well-respected as a mystery writer, I haven't read that side of him, but some of his SF shows mystery traits). His "Knock," the shortest SF story ever, shows how effective he was at the form:
        "The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door ..."
        He elaborates on this theme very nicely in a short story included in that book. He also used wordplay and puns very effectively. To me that's a big plus in an author.

        Cordwainer Smith, The Rediscovery of Man: the complete short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith
        He was unique, no one was like him, no one will be like him. And all of his SF is part of a self-contained planned Universe, that of the Instrumentality of Mankind, spanning millenia and planets. He only wrote one novel Norstrilia also recently republished, in two editions even, a softcover one by iBooks the most recent, a hardcover one by NESFA Press (publishers of Rediscovery).

        C.J. Cherryh: the Foreigner series, 6 books. One of the best explorations of alien contact and interaction. With aliens that really think like aliens.

        Orson Scott Card, Pastwatch: the redemption of Christopher Columbus.
        Alternate history re-written as you read.
        His Ender series (both of them) are not bad either.

        The Ascent of Wonder: the evolution of hard science fiction
        Edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer.
        This book belongs in the shelves of any serious SF reader/collector. An amazing selection chronicling the development of SF with illuminating notes about the stories and their authors.
        You can read those notes and the introductory essays by the editors online

        Both also edit a yearly anthology in paperback, simply called Year's Best SF (#)
        It's up to number 8 and I highly recommend it as a great review of the state of the art of SF short stories. They have started a companion Year's Best Fantasy collection, now up to #3, but fantasy is not my cup of tea, so I haven't read any.


        Brian L. Silver The Ascent of Science
        Best ever one-volume book about science that I read. A sweeping overview of science in the context of human history. A celebration of the accomplishments and the spirit of science. And it can make an excellent introduction to what science is about for anyone interested.

        Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works
        Quite entertaining and illuminating. A great explanation of the workings and mechanisms of the human mind. Very well written and argued.

        My reading is mostly geared to Science Fiction, preferably of the Hard SF variety, with a great fondness and interest for classic SF. My secondary reading is about Science, science popularizations, science history, science in general.
        With that in mind my choices above may seem obvious.

        P.S. SpooRancher, beware of the wrath of Cronan!
        Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
        James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)


        • #5

          Trying to finish up the Mars series, Kim Stanley Robinson. Halfway through Blue Mars. It's great in some respects, and kinda Trekkie technobabble in others. But at least it's brainy technobabble.

          Wolves of the Calla, Stephen King. Awesome.

          Stardust, Neil Gaiman. Ditto.

          Upcoming - I don't know what came over me, I have a whole shelf of crap I just bought on whim or recommendation at one book sale or another. Some Asimov, the two big Ayn Rand novels, the Kushiel's series by Jacqueline Carey, Dolores Claiborne by King, a copy of the Odyssey, and even a Bradbury. All to be jumped into after Mars. And that's just the recents, that's not counting the other odds and ends I still haven't read (various religious books, some Ursula LeGuin, a Grafton mystery or two, pretty sure Ender's Game is still floating around in a pile somewhere, and I never did finish George Martin's Storm of Swords).
          Radhil Trebors
          Persona Under Construction


          • #6
            The main problem with Wheel is that Robert Jordan has completely lost control of the overall arcs. The events he's set into motion i think are controling him more than he them.

            Want an example of an arc done right? Babylon 5 of course! JMS knew exactly where he was going with the show from day 1. Robert Jordan on the other hand, took baby steps, attempting to sculpt an epic saga one book at a time. He acheived some great things, but i dont think hes managing to stay ahead of the train. More like hanging on for survival.

            Also, the excess exposition, analogies, and all the other ''filler'' take away from this epic. Things tend to happen very, very slowly, ruining the story's momentum. If Jordan could write a 1000 page book with more emphasis on plot and character devolopment the Wheel series wouldn't be all that bad.


            • #7
              All Jordan needs to do is whittle his field a little, or trim the amount of pages his side characters gobble up. He's shown he can keep two or three running major story threads without fail, he just can't handle 9 or 10. Not while keeping his descriptive manner of writing anyway. Unfortunately, he seems to show no signs of doing so, and all it's doing is losing his fans in a web of an epic that few can follow anymore, and few care to. His characters - still enjoyable after all this time, even the bit parts - are the only thing keeping the tale alive this far, and those can't hold forever.

              His first four books rank among the best fiction I've read. His sixth and tenth rank among the most boring. One can only hope as he tries to close his tale, he'll get better, and make the whole crazy affair worth it.
              Radhil Trebors
              Persona Under Construction