Songfighters of Gor - fantasy, sci-fi and horror must-reads

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Postby j$ » Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:58 am

Peaks In Valleys wrote:Forgive me if this is obvious, but are you referring to Stephen R Donaldon, of Lord Foul's Bane fame?


Indeed I am. I actually quite liked some of his stuff (the One Tree for example) but he over-writes terribly and everything is SO melodramatic ... not really to my taste

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Postby thehipcola » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:54 am

Again, something else for me to re-read. Like you, I enjoyed that series, but don't recall the overwriting or melodrama, so I'll have to check that.



How about this bit of sort-of SciFi:

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein.

I read it ages ago, and still occasionally have the word "grok" pop into my head. The last half of that book still blows my mind...how he (hope I recall correctly) sets up his own "church" etc... Great commentary on humanity.
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Postby jb » Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:17 am

Peaks In Valleys wrote:Again, something else for me to re-read. Like you, I enjoyed that series, but don't recall the overwriting or melodrama, so I'll have to check that.


You're kidding! No melodrama? The whole damned series is Thomas Covenant being a whiny bitch over and over. Ugh. I read the first couple of those, then I just couldn't take any more. Definitely not for me.
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Postby thehipcola » Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:21 am

oh, I'm not saying it wasn't there, only that I read those books sooooo long ago that I don't recall there being any. I'm sure if you guys say it's there and dripping with it, it's there! It was more a comment about how I'd like to NOT feel so dumb and notice that stuff for myself by rereading!

Word...
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Postby j$ » Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:36 am

Yeah, I read them years ago - my overriding memories were (in order)

1. first time i thought this guy must use word-perfect thesaurus to make these books sound more portentious. :) I did learn what 'Gibbous' meant though.

2. The main character having two fingers. And not being particularly happy about the fact. A lot.

3. Every book ended in abject failure of the heroes. (even the last one, in a sense)

At the time (i was 12 maybe 13) I remember much preferring David Eddings. I was a confused kid :)

I did enjoy the maps and the travelling around and adventure side of things, but I've never read a single thing of his since.

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Postby jb » Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:53 am

j$ wrote:Yeah, I read them years ago - my overriding memories were (in order)

1. first time i thought this guy must use word-perfect thesaurus to make these books sound more portentious. :) I did learn what 'Gibbous' meant though.

2. The main character having two fingers. And not being particularly happy about the fact. A lot.

3. Every book ended in abject failure of the heroes. (even the last one, in a sense)

At the time (i was 12 maybe 13) I remember much preferring David Eddings. I was a confused kid :)

I did enjoy the maps and the travelling around and adventure side of things, but I've never read a single thing of his since.

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From what I've heard, the whole Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series is an experiment in seeing if the author could create a protagonist that the reader can't stand, but will read about anyway.
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Postby bz£ » Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:29 am

jb wrote:From what I've heard, the whole Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series is an experiment in seeing if the author could create a protagonist that the reader can't stand, but will read about anyway.


Pretty effectively, too, though a protagonist that readers can't relate to is usually a cardinal sin. I mean, it's hard to completely hate the guy when you've seen how totally shitty life has been to him and what he has to do just to survive, but you also keep waiting for him to stop being such an asshole and it (mostly) doesn't happen.
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Postby jute gyte » Tue Oct 26, 2004 2:08 pm

j$ wrote:Re Lovecraft - up until the Summer, I would have been sounding his trumpet here, but I re-read almost all of it in July/August, and for the first time it struck me how bad the writing is ... not the stories, which are wild and clever imagination-wise, but the actual structuring and pacing is more than a bit sloppy. I mean some of his foreshadowing is so obvious ...


i can't argue about the foreshadowing, but i think his descriptive ability and totally obtuse vocabulary are pretty singular. and of course, as you said, he was amazingly creative. his work is unique enough for me to disregard its structural failings.
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Postby Rabid Garfunkel » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:54 pm

The Orson Scott Card writing technique:

Write one awesome book. Write passable sequel. Write unreadable third book. Repeat with new series. And repeat again. And again.
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Postby tonetripper » Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:04 pm

So I just got onto this thread. Since I am a massive sci-fi fantasy horror reader myself I'm gonna chime in.

Barker's Weaveworld is a classic. Nothing that he's ever done since that has ever touched that novel. Truly great book. Read Everville and the Great and Secret Show and have to say they got a little long in the tooth.

I'm surprised that no one mentioned this one, but Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet's Good Omens is possibly one of the funnest books I've ever read. Great, great book with awesome characters and subtle messages. A groaner for sure at points which I love. Also Neil Gaiman's American Gods was a pretty good novel as well. And although it's not really a book the Sandman series, which won the Sci-Fi Fantasy award for it's comic book series one year in the early 90s is unbelievable and pretty much changed the way I truly thought of comics (although I was a pretty big comic head to begin with). Big Gaiman fan.

Also big PKD fan. I've read a few of his novels and I am a huge fan of his. The Divine Invasion was an awesome book.

Hitchhikers is hilarious but I found the books dwindled as they went down the line. I remember reading the first one on the subway on my way to high school, many moons ago, and looking up at the people in the car staring at me after I would guffaw loudly at points in the book. Laughed my ass off in the first one. Too bad the BBC series sucked so bad. They should remake it into a real movie instead of a video thingy. Could be great. Especially with how good CGI is these days.

And Lord of the Rings rules. Nothing will ever change me on that one. I couldn't put the damn things down. And the movie rocks.

I'm a little embarrassed to say but I've read every Harry Potter book. I was the MOST reluctant Harry Potter reader. I said, "I'm not going to read a children's book!" Read the first one in a day. Read the next three within the week. Put it this way I was a total hermit reading those things. I even got the fifth one for Christmas. I'm a geek. Great books. No wonder she sold so many.

Stephen King's short stories are truly some of the scariest shit I've read. Read the short story Trucks which was I think made into the movie Maximum Overdrive? and the story kicked the movie's ass. There are a couple more I've read, but I don't remember their names.

Good thread. Love the book thread. Re-asserts the nerd in me.

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Postby c hack » Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:23 pm

tviyh wrote:
j$ wrote:.....the later 'Dark Tower' ones ... I really liked the start of it, and I love the way 'Black House' crossed over with the concept, but it's becoming a bit too like a late night monday night roleplaying session for me.


i thought the first book was fabulous, and each of them have gone WAY downhill from there. actually i believe i've only read the first four of them.


I'm gonna put in the "Don't get it" thread how I don't get how you guys don't get the Dark Tower books. I'm in the middle of the third one now, and I'm hooked. The only better King book I've read is The Stand (and even then, it's a tie). I think they're getting better. It's almost like Lord of the Rings with sci-fi and a non-boring writing style (flame me if you want, but writing gripping page-turners wasn't exactly Tolkien's strong point (not that there's anything wrong with that)).
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A few items...

Postby adjuster » Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:51 pm

When I read fiction, I'm mostily into sci-fi. Here's a few ideas....

Anything by Vernor Vinge that you can get your hands on will rock. Whether it be the "bobbles" in the "Realtime" series, the "cyberspace" of "True Names" (which, BTW, Vinge wrote in 1981-- 1981!), the dust mote sensor-based networks wafting about the spaceships and habitats in "A Deepness in the Sky", or any other of Mr. Vinge's interesting and forward-thinking plot devices, this guy knows how to mix the right about of fantasy and hard science together to build really interesting devices that can help drive a plot and keep things interesting.

I've seen Neal Stephenson mentioned in the thread only briefly, so I'll mention him too. "Snow Crash", "The Diamond Age" , and "Zodiac" are three good titles to get started with. "Snow Crash" is so much more fulfilling if you've read William Gibson and/or Bruce Sterling or other "cyberpunk"-type stuff first-- the sarcasm is just that much more biting and fun. "Cryptonomicon" and the "Baroque Cycle" series are great, but I don't see them as good introductions to Stephenson's style. I just got "The System of the World", and hope to start it soon... The other books in the "Baroque Cycle" series were somewhat tedious, but satisfying,

I'll also throw out a little shout to the "Hyperion" series from Dan Simmons. They're all of Simmons that I've read, but they were a lot of fun. Someday I'll check out more of Simmons' stuff.
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Re: A few items...

Postby jute gyte » Thu Oct 28, 2004 5:53 pm

adjuster wrote:"Cryptonomicon" and the "Baroque Cycle" series are great, but I don't see them as good introductions to Stephenson's style.


actually, cryptonomicon was my first stephenson book, and i loved it. i can see how it could be daunting, though.
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Postby Caravan Ray » Thu Oct 28, 2004 8:18 pm

fodroy wrote:i'm a huge stephen king fan. that man is truly brilliant. my favorite has to "the dark half". that book is truly effed up.


I think I should cite Stephen King in the "I Don't Get It" thread.

Actually - let me correct that - I've read a lot of his short stories and yes, I have found a lot of them to be brilliant. He has a great imagination. The one about the dog and the Polariod camera - that was great. I also liked his "On Writing" - the sort of autobiographical thing.

His longer novels however always leave me disappointed. To me it always seems like he has these awesome ideas - but he can't quite put it together into a fully rounded story.
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Postby fodroy » Thu Oct 28, 2004 8:29 pm

i think it's stephen king's writing style that makes me like him so much. true his stories are sometimes a little loose. but straightforward, tight novels usually bore me. plus like reading about people getting killed and crap. more f*cking blood! 8)
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Postby Rabid Garfunkel » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:04 pm

tonetripper wrote:Hitchhikers is hilarious but I found the books dwindled as they went down the line. I remember reading the first one on the subway on my way to high school, many moons ago, and looking up at the people in the car staring at me after I would guffaw loudly at points in the book. Laughed my ass off in the first one. Too bad the BBC series sucked so bad. They should remake it into a real movie instead of a video thingy. Could be great. Especially with how good CGI is these days.


Read somewhere that it's back in production. Fingers crossed this time, yet again.

tonetripper wrote:And Lord of the Rings rules. Nothing will ever change me on that one. I couldn't put the damn things down. And the movie rocks.


Jackson totally diminished Faramir's nobility, humanity, and his dignity, IMNSHO, all for the effect of showing off a CGI monster in the second film. Boo. Pissed me off so much that I still haven't seen Return of the King. Reading the trilogy + 1 is a yearly joy for me.
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Postby Caravan Ray » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:32 pm

tonetripper wrote:I'm a little embarrassed to say but I've read every Harry Potter book.

- Pablo


Don't be embarrassed - the Harry Potter books are sensational. My only gripe would be that the last 2 installments could have done with a bit of editing - they were too long and rambled a bit. For mine, The Prisoner of Azkaban is about as close to perfect as a book can be.

I'm also a big Hitchhiker's Guide... fan - but prefer Red Dwarf
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Postby tonetripper » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:39 pm

Rabid Garfunkel wrote:Jackson totally diminished Faramir's nobility, humanity, and his dignity, IMNSHO, all for the effect of showing off a CGI monster in the second film. Boo. Pissed me off so much that I still haven't seen Return of the King. Reading the trilogy + 1 is a yearly joy for me.

Interesting that you say that Rabid, cuz I thought that there were minor issues with character development in the first movie as well. So much so that I was actually kinda disappointed after seeing it. Especially getting rid of Tom Bombadil. I was sooooo bummed that it didn't seem to hold as much relevance in the director's eyes. I thought it was the highlight of the first book in terms of contrast and tension build. Would've loved to have seen the translation of that and did feel that it was really quite important in the grand scheme of things in terms of the purity of the Tolkien world. Foreshadowing from my perspective. There was, in my mind, a deep connection with Bombadil and the Ents.

But got to tell you the summated last movie makes up for the short comings of the first two. It is an awesome movie. But this is the book thread. Love the Hobbit too. What got the whole ball rolling for LOTR. But you got to hand it to Jackson. Pretty large thing to tackle and pull off without pissing in someone's drinking hole. I thought he did a good job all around considering the depths he had to plumb. Gonna re-read them soon. Love 'em.
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Postby fodroy » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:59 pm

harry potter is bitchin'. but i've only seen the movies. i really need to read the books.
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Postby Eric Y. » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:54 pm

c hack wrote:It's almost like Lord of the Rings with sci-fi and a non-boring writing style (flame me if you want, but writing gripping page-turners wasn't exactly Tolkien's strong point (not that there's anything wrong with that)).


i started reading the lord of the rings back in middle school but got bored halfway through the first book. after seeing the first movie a few years ago, i was totally enthralled, and decided to re-visit the books. read through the whole thing, and was totally disappointed. with few exceptions, there was almost no action at all in the book. it was like half characterisation and history, and half dialogue about action that took place while you were being bored with the characterisation and history. in the edition i read (a single-volume one that i borrowed from my little brother) it says tolkein was primarily a linguist and was interested in developing the elven language and the various historic stuff that surrounded it, and the plot was totally secondary.
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Postby Caravan Ray » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:28 pm

tviyh wrote:
c hack wrote:It's almost like Lord of the Rings with sci-fi and a non-boring writing style (flame me if you want, but writing gripping page-turners wasn't exactly Tolkien's strong point (not that there's anything wrong with that)).


.


I love the LOTR as a kiddie - I must have read it at least 6 or 7 times between that ages of 15 and 25. After seeing the movies recently (movies which I also loved), I went back to re-read again and found the magic had gone. Don't know why, but I got halfway through the Fellowship and found myself bored silly.

I think Tolkein gave us a great story, but Peter Jackson told it better.
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Postby Eric Y. » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:30 pm

i think that's kind of the point i was trying to make.
i was totally impressed after i saw the first movie, but once i had read what he had to work from, that really blew me away :oops:

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