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Thread: What Are You Reading?

  1. #21
    Gradius's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    I don't know, GRRM seems just as slow. I mean, what really happened in the last 2 ASOIAF books of import?

  2. #22

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Come to the dark side my friend. It's much more fun.
    Only if I get cookies.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    In all seriousness, The Malazan Book of the Fallen might be a better choice. The general opinion I've come across is that its what the Wheel of Time should ahve been, epic multivolume storyline with a plethora of characters that actually go places.
    Huh, haven't heard of that series before. Anyway, let's just do a quick wiki search and...

    ...OH COME ON!

    Yeah, I know they say to never judge a book by its cover, but it's another case of calculated risk to get invested in such a long series. Not a no, but don't expect me to make a start anytime soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Or, perhaps, you should get the audiobook editions. I can "read" 1000 page monsters and feel like I've done nothing but sit through a season of television. Just load up the audiobook, pick a nice visualizer, and space out, all of the effort is taken out of reading. Atleast that's what I get. I can read about 15x more in audiobook form that physical form. It's probably not for everyone, but maybe you should try it sometime. Eye of the World flew by for me.
    I'm not really an audiobook person. I enjoyed cassete books back in the day, but nowadays...well, as cynical as this sounds, in many cases, I only read so I can write. To get as much lore out of a book as much as its story so I can thus write in said media, what with my policy of trying to spread over as much as possible. Course I still enjoy reading at the end of the day, but an audiobook doesn't really give me that. Besides, when reading, I often listen to music at the same time, which would make listening to an audiobook difficult under such circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius
    I don't know, GRRM seems just as slow. I mean, what really happened in the last 2 ASOIAF books of import?
    To each their own, but while very little did indeed happen in the last two books, it didn't feel as detrimental. Partly because they were after three books where stuff did happen, partly because at least in A Dance with Dragons, it was with characters I was already invested in. True, their circumstances don't change all that much, but at least in terms of pacing the writing flowed well, and kept me invested. With Wheel of Time...well, maybe this'll change, but I haven't been able to invest in the characters nearly as much. And while A Song of Ice and Fire always had clear goals for the protagonists (and antagonists), the goal of The Great Hunt so far seems to be "retrieve this horn or bad stuff will happen."

  3. #23
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    it's another case of calculated risk to get invested in such a long series.
    Did you see the six or so canon books written by the co-author and the new trilogy that just started? Yep. It's an epic series, and, if the masses are to be believed, it never really gets dull in the way that WoT does. Meh, but who knows. I liked Dragonlance a lot when I was a teenager and that's considered generic fantasy drivel. It was parly for the sake of nostalgia for that classic fantasy formula that I chose WoT over ASOIF or MBOTF. Like you, I will probably get a ways into WoT before I even consider the alternatives.

    I only read so I can write.
    Well, if its writing you want to do then I would say audiobooks can still help you. The visualizer is a great right-brain trainer to, well, help you visualize the world. Whenever I read books, the scenes never anywhere near as vivid as if I turned off all the lights, turned on a good visualizer, and sat back and listened to the audiobook. Sometimes I forget I'm not actually seeing anything because it can seem so vivid just in my own imagination. Sure, you can do that with a physical book, but your right-brain will never be engaged in the same way.

    Oh well, just some thoughts. Many grains of salt and all that.

    Also, you ever plan on being a published author?
    Last edited by TheEconomist; 06-12-2013 at 10:24 AM.



    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  4. #24

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Did you see the six or so canon books written by the co-author and the new trilogy that just started? Yep. It's an epic series, and, if the masses are to be believed, it never really gets dull in the way that WoT does.
    Yeah, I did. But six books is still an investment in terms of both time and money. This isn't a "no," but it's still a gamble I'd have to weigh up.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Like you, I will probably get a ways into WoT before I even consider the alternatives.
    Depends. The first Wheel of Time book I got was a calculated risk, one that may or may not have paid off at the end of the day. The only reason I'm reading The Great Hunt is because there was already a copy of it in the house (yet no book 1 beforehand...go figure). As per my usual M.O., once I'm done with it, it'll be back to shorter reads for awhile before starting on something bigger. Neither WoT book I'd call outright "bad" per se, but they haven't left me scrambling for more.

    Certainly such gambles have paid off in the past - I didn't expect to enjoy A Game of Thrones (as in, the first book), but was pleasantly surprised, to the extent that I read the first four books over 2012, and the fifth at the start of this year. WoT, unfortunately, hasn't paid off in the same way. Hence why I'm cautious of 'gambling' further unless another one pays off in the same way (e.g. Dune or Ender's Game, both of which are similar 'gambles' I'll likely undertake at some point in time).

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Also, you ever plan on being a published author?
    Not really. I've considered it and attempted it to an extent, to be published requires a certain cream of a certain crop that I don't possess, and probably never will. It isn't just the writing itself, but also generation of original ideas, something that is an Achilles heel for me. At the end of the day, I realize that fanfic is probably the best I can aspire for.
    Last edited by Hawki; 06-12-2013 at 09:13 PM.

  5. #25

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Silly Quirel. If you drink coke of all things, it's inevitable the taste will catch up with you.
    Coke has taste?
    If it does, then it would follow that it tastes different from Pepsi and Sprite and Dr. Pepper and Fanta... But all I ever feel is fizzy sludge pouring across my tongue. Maybe there's a vague hint of flavour, but it's transient, there and gone.

    Diet Coke and diet Pepsi do have flavour, however. Unfortunately, I'm convinced that it's from metal salts that are added when the soda pop eats into the mixing vats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Luckily for us gentlemen of more discerning taste, The Thursday War is more like a lemon, lime and bitters. Not the best beverage that's avaliable in the cabinet of liquors of a certain brand (which is still FoR), but still tasting good nonetheless. So, while I can't remember every taste of said beverage, I can recall some key factors:
    I need to be the designated driver a lot less. I get the feeling that I'm missing out on a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    *The lemon: No, not like that, you fanfic, M-rated wanabees! No, the lemon is the first thing I'll give it for is writing style/flow/pacing. This may seem petty, and maybe it is, but structure-wise, the book is very sound. The plot moves forward and never bogs down, the writing manages to avoid entering "Drearsville" which practically every other Traviss novel has done to one degree or another. Basically, the writing begins good, and stays good.
    Heh.
    Because I was asked/I volunteered to rewrite Jul's escape from Trevelyan, I should re-read The Thursday War... but haven't gotten around to it yet. From what I remember though, any time Jul interacted with a human got to be a drag. Magnusson and Phillips were condescending, like Jul was a pet Elite they could talk down to.

    Urgh. Am I complaining about the characters, or the writing? well, I guess that the human interactions with Jul could have been interesting, but something about the way that Traviss wrote them turned me off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    *The lime: Not as impactful as the lemon, but still a taste of its own, and that's the characters. Characters that made far more of an impact on me than in Glasslands. Osman's still Osman, but I'm fine with that, she's the "straight woman," the "ordinary character who's distinguished by being ordinary around characters who aren't." There's Black-Box, who's still snarky and the equivalent of Durandal for the setting (Cortana being Leela, I suppose Mendicant Bias would be Tycho or Traxus IV, I suppose Guilty Spark could fill in), Parangosky's a "magnificant bastard," not Admiral "I hate Halsey because Halsey's no worse than myself, but I want to harp on her because nevermind that arc should have closed in Ghosts of Onyx and while Traviss is leaving things open a bit it's clear she wants us to agree with me" Parangosky, the other Kilo-Five members are okay, Naomi's at least somewhat sympathetic, and the Covenant characters feel more like Covenant (especially Jul, who I liked) rather than aliens who can't utter a single sentence without the words "as the humans say." Which brings me onto the bitters.
    You know what this posts needs more of? Lists! Lots and lots of lists!

    • Osman felt flatter in this novel. I think we only got one scene from her POV, and the rest of the book she was just the commander who sat in the bridge and managed Kilo 5. Which is A Good Thing. Her story was largely covered in Glasslands, and we don't need another Miranda/Palmer.
    • Vas was... well, I still have trouble telling him apart from Mal. He's the guy with a strong sense of right and wrong, but it's in definite need of calibration. Kidnapping children to quell an insurrection is Evil, but leaving a keep full of women and children to die is Right.

      Am I a hypocrite? Oh, hell yeah.
    • Deuverex was always a bit of a wallflower to me. In Glasslands, she was the pilot and sometimes-conversational partner of Malcom and Vasily. She's not much better in The Thursday War, but now she's got a Pelican with a slipspace drive! That is so awesome and cool, I can't believe that nobody ever did it before. /sarcasm
    • Naomi's subplot with her insurrectionist father is finally getting pagetime! In the next book. Doh.
      Aside from that, I liked her.
    • Black Box's injury was handled well. The downed internet connection had real consequences, and wasn't shrugged off with a "He's a computer. He'll be fine."
    • Phillips should be strapped to the front of Deuverex's Pelican during hot insertions, because even Covenant AA weaponry cannot penetrate plot armor of that magnitude!
      More seriously, his lengthy stroll in the Abiding Truth's temple shared the same problems I had with Jul's leisurely walk across the Dyson Sphere. There should have been a Hell of a lot more security.
      Is it bad that I only just realized that Jul's and Phillip's escapes were almost exact mirror images of each other?

      Things pick up after he leaves, and I absolutely loved the scenes in the besieged keep.
    • Parangosky is her old sly, calculating self. Balance has been restored.
    • Jul, I think, hasn't been sufficiently explored. He escapes because he's treated as an animal, rather than a POW. With better writing, his lax treatment and escape could have come off as less contrived, but it didn't.

      As a side note, I'm upset with 343i that we didn't get audio journals in Halo 4 elaborating on Jul's rise to power. He could have been the face of the Storm faction*, but they were left as faceless cannon fodder.

      *I know that's not their real name, but I'm NOT calling them Covenant.
    • Telcam is problematic. The fight against the Arbiter was well-done (With one major exception. See below.)
    • The high point of the book for me was Raia. While every other Elite was sighing in ruins and watching their civilization crumble, she went out and searched for her husband. I think that, in that search, she showed herself to be the leader that the Elites need (though not the one that they're going to get, sadly).
    • Lord Hood/Arbiter
      This just in: The Elites have unilaterally declared total war against Humanity. The UNSC Infinity has been destroyed by the Sanghelios Orbital Defense Fleet. The Arbiter has been killed by his own concubines, and his clan is committing mass suicide in the craters left by the Infinity's MAC strike.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    *The bitters: Glasslands did this too, but its moral ambiguity was focussed on the Halsey debate. A debate I didn't mind as much as others, but still felt like a rehash of what had gone before. The Thursday War however, does things a bit different, where humans are no better than sangheili, and it's up to the reader to realize that. Gone are the moralizing speaches that have plagued Traviss's previous works, works that often had such ambiguity, but never made it a secret on where her own side was. Here we have a sangheili civil war that takes up most of the novel, interweaving with the context of said novel, and feeling natural to what might happen to their society post-Halo 3 (and does). And here we have humanity. This isn't Halo 4 humanity, the "we're so special because the Mantle says so, and we're really good at rebuilding over four years," this is a humanity who's willing to play dirty, let the sangheili kill themselves, use the Infinity only when it suits them and are quite happy to plan to wipe the species out through their own food supply. Not because they're evil, but because it's a grim setting, and it's a practicality. It's perhaps the setting's only case of grey morality - true, it's been touched on (e.g. UEG/Insurrection), but I've always felt that it was clear who I should be siding with. I'm not 'meant' to feel sorry for the Innies executed at the beginning of Contact Harvest. I'm not 'meant' to mourn the loss of High Charity, even if millions of alien non-combatants are being killed and/or infested. Here however, I felt I was truly given a choice. Is Jul's choice to seek vengeance for Raia and reform the Covenant a moment to mourn, to curse another split-lip and go "you damn dirty alien!" Or should I cheer, that maybe, justice can be achieved?
    That's what seals the deal for me. Moral ambiguity across the entire board. Dropped by Halo 4 of course, but on its own, I appreciate it. It's all the good elements of Traviss's writing I've gotten used to, with none of the bad.
    Yeah, I loved the moral ambiguity too (And even some of the hypocrisy).

    Still, I'm worried about Halo getting too grimdark. Want an alliance or ceasefire with the xenos? That sounds like... heresy. Hold him, men, and we shall let Commissar Frankie decide his fate!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    (being constructed during the war, Infinity kinda gets a free pass),
    Not being brought up in discussion for Operation: Red Flag, having shields when Halsey's journal nixed that idea, and being captained by a captain rather than an admiral means that the free pass was probably scalped.
    The Infinity strikes me as a ship that's there for the sake of being cool, like something a high-schooler scribbled in his notebook.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Yeah, read the manuals. Unfortunately they got shorter with each installment, but the first one was a good read, an example of the 'good ol days' when manuals were actually manuals. Quite good, except I felt a bit letdown when it tells me everything about the Hilgarans/Kharak, then gives me nothing on the Taidaan bar their unit listing. I guess it's to let those things be uncovered in the game, but...well, you know...
    Yeah, manuals are definitely something that the current generation of games are missing. But then again, I feel the same way about CDs. Where's my lovely lovely album art?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    A definate case of the latter.

    I'm fine with Tolkein tropes. I can still enjoy elves, dwarves, orcs, etc. But the thing is, WoT (or at least the first book) doesn't do anything with them, functioning identically. And there's the fact that book 1 is basically copied plotwise, the protagonists starting off in the equivalent of the Shire and ending in the equivalent of Mordor.

    Still, book 2's off to a more promising start.
    I can still enjoy arves, dwelves, and orks as well. It's just harder for me to get into, and it also brings up one of the great imponderables: if fantasy authors and role-playing games and Blizzard can get away with using orcs or orks, why haven't science fiction writers used Klingons or Klinjons independently of Star Trek? Is it because... oh, right, orcs are pre-existing mythology, older than Tolkien. Huh, never would have guessed.

    On another thought, sounds like the same problem that the Shanarra series had. Only problem is, I got into those books when I was younger and had an order of magnitude more reading time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    I agree that's the best of the trilogy, but for me, only by virtue of being "okay," the others being "bad."

    Unfortunately, I can't share the enthusiasm. So, to reverse my analogy:

    *The Diet: Too much being covered in too little a time. Or rather...well, I'll put it this way - it's like reading two different stories in one book. We spend the first half with the Librarian and Path Kethona stuff, then the second with 'war stuff.' Not enough time for either to really flesh it out, and it makes me wonder why we couldn't just, say, replace Primordium with Path Kethona stuff as opposed to aimlessly walking around for 200 pages.
    I'm in total agreement with you here.
    Structurally, I think that the trilogy was meant to be structured this way. Cryptum starts out and hits the battle over Janjur Qom somewhere near the midway point. Primordium branches off from Cryptum at that point, as does Silentium... if you exclude the Path Kethona stuff.

    Now, I do know that Silentium was delayed for some sort of rewrite, but I doubt it was to include the Path Kethona stuff. The journey to the Andromeda galaxy is just too tangential to Halo 4 for that to have occurred.

    Or maybe I'm just seeing things. Truth be told, the divergence point is how I would have told it...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    *The Coke: The 'war stuff.' This is very subjective, but I can't help but be disheartened. It's clear the Forerunner-Flood conflict isn't such a conflict, but rather "Forerunners vs. Precursors with the Flood just being a weapon like any other." True, kinda simplifying it, but going by, say, Origins, I never felt the need for orbital arches being used against the Forerunners. I never felt the need for Graveminds/Key Minds to just be Precursors in all but name. I never asked for the Flood to be gimped just so the Precursors could be bolstered as a threat.

    Like I said, subjective, but IMO, the Flood's been gimped, turned from this mysterious, unstoppable parasite to just the tool of a race of beings who aren't mysterious, and if they're unstoppable...well, we stopped the unstoppable back in H3, I'm not exactly quaking in my boots.
    I'm actually happy that the Precursors got involved, because now I can talk about how powerful Forerunner weapons ought to be without some scheznik saying "Oh yeah? If they were that powerful, how could the Flood defeat them?"

    More seriously, I don't have a problem with the blending of Precursors and Flood, because I see it as "Flood were Precursors all this time." Or maybe a shadow of them. Point is, the Precursors were the Pheru cocaine that got the Flood started. The Flood lets them create, an immutable aspect of their existence, without the risk of their children rising up and destroying them.

    Finally, the Star Roads make sense to me because of the question "If Offensive Bias could finish off Mendicant Bias's fleets with unstable Slipspace ruptures, why couldn't the Forerunner use that earlier?" Answer: Because the Star Roads were pinning their fleets down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    *The Pepsi: I don't hold pepsi or coke to be superior, since they taste the same. But going by the analogy, pepsi tastes better because there's some stuff I like, especially the IsoDidact. Maybe I'm just glad he's no longer Bornstellar Makes Eternal Whining and contrasts nicely with the Ur-Didact, their conversations/debates/question of who was the 'true' Didact being what I liked most. But then I realize pepsi does taste like coke and learn that the Ur-Didact is as he is because of Flood/Precursor/Gravemind exposure stuff.
    Ahem.
    "I've proved my point. I've demonstrated there's no difference between me and everyone else! All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up as a flying rat? You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else... Only you won't admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there's some point to all this struggling! God you make me want to puke."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    I suppose I can't complain. It's at least an explanation as to why he acts as he does in H4. But again, it reinforces my notion that Faber would have been a better antagonist because Silentium aside, he has means, and motive. By the same logic, the Ur-Didact should be lashing out against the Forerunners and Flood rather than just humanity. It's just...well, that thing you know is coming. It's like an inoculation that'll solve an illness that passed its most painful stage long ago, but all you actually feel is a painful prick.
    Agreed with Faber, though I doubt that 343i could do any better with Faber.
    Faber was a politician. What evil he wrought was for the purpose of staying in power. Now that the Forerunner Ecumune has been dust for a hundred thousand years, what would his motivation be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Huh. Have you tried werewolves?
    MHI had one of those, right in the beginning. It's amazing what you have to default to when you left your silver bullets at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    I don't know, GRRM seems just as slow. I mean, what really happened in the last 2 ASOIAF books of import?
    I tried to pick up Game of Thrones.

    Ever wonder how Superman shaves when he can't find a mirror? Jamie Hyneman theorizes that he must fly at supersonic speeds along a highway, letting the asphalt grind his stubble off.

    Game of Thrones was the same feeling at 1/10000th speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Only if I get cookies.
    There might be coffee.



    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    I'm not really an audiobook person. I enjoyed cassete books back in the day, but nowadays...well, as cynical as this sounds, in many cases, I only read so I can write. To get as much lore out of a book as much as its story so I can thus write in said media, what with my policy of trying to spread over as much as possible. Course I still enjoy reading at the end of the day, but an audiobook doesn't really give me that. Besides, when reading, I often listen to music at the same time, which would make listening to an audiobook difficult under such circumstances.
    Hmm...
    Inserting my experience in here, I usually prefer silence when I read. Never tried reading while listening to music because most of what I listen to can be filed under "Acid rock", "Electronica/Dubstep", and "Music to invade Poland to".

    As for reading so you can write, are you reading to make sure that your fanfiction conforms to canon, or are you looking to see how authors use description/characterization/sentence structure and stuff? I'm more of the latter, myself.

  6. #26

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    From what I remember though, any time Jul interacted with a human got to be a drag. Magnusson and Phillips were condescending, like Jul was a pet Elite they could talk down to.

    Urgh. Am I complaining about the characters, or the writing? well, I guess that the human interactions with Jul could have been interesting, but something about the way that Traviss wrote them turned me off.
    There was a bit of smugness from Magnusson I suppose, but if anything, I appreciated it. It's...I dunno, 'realistic smugness?' Smugness that comes from finally getting sangheili on the other end of the boot after nearly three decades of that boot being on the Covenant's foot. All things considered, I think humans can be expected to gloat a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Yeah, I loved the moral ambiguity too (And even some of the hypocrisy).

    Still, I'm worried about Halo getting too grimdark. Want an alliance or ceasefire with the xenos? That sounds like... heresy. Hold him, men, and we shall let Commissar Frankie decide his fate!
    Moral ambiguity doesn't necessarily equal grimdark.

    Since 40K's been brought into this, its "moral ambiguity" can basically be amounted to "humanity are prats, but you shouldn't look too harshly on them, because not only is every other sapient species prats, but being prats is what keeps you alive in the setting."

    Maybe I'm being too kind, or too harsh. On one hand, moral ambiguity doesn't necessarily equal "good" (in terms of writing). On the other, when The Thursday War sets up that ambiguity, and when Halo 4's explanation for Jul's actions are "a lot can change in four years" (in other words, if you're not familiar with the EU, you could logically assume that this is the same Covenant rather than a splinter faction), it does feel like oversimplification of the issue. Getting to a third hand, I accept that shooters are based on game mechanics that aren't that inclusive to such themes, but it's not to say it can't be done (Spec Ops: The Line is one such touted title, I could kinda classify Half-Life 2 as another).

    So basically, yeah. I don't think there's risk of the setting going grimdark, especially when 343 is pushing the whole Mantle/humanity's destiny/insert cliche phrase here thing. For better or worse, The Thursday War seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    'm actually happy that the Precursors got involved, because now I can talk about how powerful Forerunner weapons ought to be without some scheznik saying "Oh yeah? If they were that powerful, how could the Flood defeat them?"

    More seriously, I don't have a problem with the blending of Precursors and Flood, because I see it as "Flood were Precursors all this time." Or maybe a shadow of them. Point is, the Precursors were the Pheru cocaine that got the Flood started. The Flood lets them create, an immutable aspect of their existence, without the risk of their children rising up and destroying them.
    Maybe...but with the first sentence, I can reverse it by saying "oh yeah? Well if the Flood were so weak they needed Precursor tech to win against the Forerunners, why are they such a threat in the modern day?" Like I said, subjective, but if it's a choice between Precursors and Flood, I'd go with Flood, especially when that choice involves putting the former on a pedastal at the expense of the latter.

    Which also brings me to the second issue, as to what the Precursors' goals actually are, because they seem to change between Cryptum and Silentium? Is its the Precursors' goal to ensure humanity gets the Mantle? If so, why are they still hostile to humanity on Alpha and Delta Halo when humanity passed their 'test' way back in the day? Is it to ensure the Forerunners get what's coming to them? If so, why bug out, wait ten thousand years before appearing, and then reappear in the hopes that the Forerunners don't nip their initial infestation in the bud? Is it to wipe out all life so they're never challenged again? If so, again, why spare humanity back then?

    I guess these goals aren't entirely mutually exclusive, but the whole notion makes me look at the Gravemind from the initial trilogy in a different light, and not in a good way. If the Precursors are 'good' and want humanity to take the Mantle and whatnot, then the Gravemind isn't really helping with that. If the Precursors are 'evil' and want all life to be destroyed/consumed, then they seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot. Maybe there's some grand plan that's yet to be revealed, but I remember when the Flood had clear objectives - consume, reproduce, spread. Nowadays, I'm left confused as to what the Gravemind's motives even are, or if it can be considered a Flood or Precursor, or if such a boundary can even be drawn with the whole Precursors=Flood thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Ever wonder how Superman shaves when he can't find a mirror? Jamie Hyneman theorizes that he must fly at supersonic speeds along a highway, letting the asphalt grind his stubble off.

    Game of Thrones was the same feeling at 1/10000th speed.
    Eh, look on the bright side. It could be Ramsay Snow dragging you along.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    As for reading so you can write, are you reading to make sure that your fanfiction conforms to canon, or are you looking to see how authors use description/characterization/sentence structure and stuff? I'm more of the latter, myself.
    Not really...in as much that reading familiarizes me with more material, but if I'm checking up canon facts (or real-world ones), I'd just go to a wikia or Wikipedia, since it's far quicker and easier to do than scour through a book in the middle of writing something. Reading to get style kinda helps to an extent, but when it comes to feedback on writing technique, I get what I need from writer's group meetings. If anything, copying a writer's writing style can be a hazard - there was a brief period after reading A Game of Thrones where I realized I was writing material in its style and tone that wasn't suited for the media it was based on. Luckily that's passed, but if anything, writer's style is also respective to style and tone. What works in one setting doesn't necessarily work in another.
    Last edited by Hawki; 06-14-2013 at 07:01 PM.

  7. #27
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Got about half way through 'Under the Dome' (~500 pages) and decided I needed some intense sci fi action. Which seems to be like picking out comic books in a comic book store, so many, many options, many of them good, but no one can tell you which one is the right one for you. So I decided to go with 'Swarm' by B.V. Larson which is the go to series right now for the masses of military sci fi fans. I get the feeling I picked the equivalent of Call of Duty for the genre (dumber, simpler, but more action focused). It's an alright book so far though. Lots of action. Mostly earth invasion focused right now, which is played out for me, but gets more interesting when lots of alien races are introduced later, I hear. It's a short book though, about 275 pages, so I'll be finish it really soon, might move one to another sci fi series right afterwards. Anyways the take away for you guys is that if you're wanting an action packed sci fi series this seems to be a good place to start. I don't know if you guys are into that though

    if I can't find another series sci fi series for me so I might just have to start digging into the Halo books, which I've been wanting to do since I discovered that there actually were video game based books around 2005.
    Last edited by TheEconomist; 06-17-2013 at 12:15 AM.



    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  8. #28

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    There was a bit of smugness from Magnusson I suppose, but if anything, I appreciated it. It's...I dunno, 'realistic smugness?' Smugness that comes from finally getting sangheili on the other end of the boot after nearly three decades of that boot being on the Covenant's foot. All things considered, I think humans can be expected to gloat a bit.
    *Takes notes*

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Moral ambiguity doesn't necessarily equal grimdark.
    No, but in the grim, dark future of the twenty-sixth century, there is only war!

    What gets me thinking "Grimdark" is how war seems to be the default state of being in the Haloverse these days. Half of The Thursday War seems to be justification for reigniting the war between the ex-Covenant factions and Humanity, while Halo 4 gave us a blank look and a "Wait, we need to justify it? Since when?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Maybe...but with the first sentence, I can reverse it by saying "oh yeah? Well if the Flood were so weak they needed Precursor tech to win against the Forerunners, why are they such a threat in the modern day?"
    Because the modern civilizations don't have galaxy-spanning empires and planet-cracking technology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Like I said, subjective, but if it's a choice between Precursors and Flood, I'd go with Flood, especially when that choice involves putting the former on a pedastal at the expense of the latter.
    I think that the Flood has always been a 'scavenger' reliant on advanced technology to spread.

    I'm being a hypocrite though, because the Flood defeated the Forerunner by being able to use long-dormant Precursor technology, almost exactly what Humanity is doing. And I'm really starting to dislike the latter.
    Maybe the Flood isn't a 'scavenger', so much as it's a force that turns the Forerunner's strengths against them. Though I'd love to know how they captured entire fleets of (Presumably) hermetically-sealed warships.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Which also brings me to the second issue, as to what the Precursors' goals actually are, because they seem to change between Cryptum and Silentium? Is its the Precursors' goal to ensure humanity gets the Mantle? If so, why are they still hostile to humanity on Alpha and Delta Halo when humanity passed their 'test' way back in the day? Is it to ensure the Forerunners get what's coming to them? If so, why bug out, wait ten thousand years before appearing, and then reappear in the hopes that the Forerunners don't nip their initial infestation in the bud? Is it to wipe out all life so they're never challenged again? If so, again, why spare humanity back then?

    I guess these goals aren't entirely mutually exclusive, but the whole notion makes me look at the Gravemind from the initial trilogy in a different light, and not in a good way. If the Precursors are 'good' and want humanity to take the Mantle and whatnot, then the Gravemind isn't really helping with that. If the Precursors are 'evil' and want all life to be destroyed/consumed, then they seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot. Maybe there's some grand plan that's yet to be revealed, but I remember when the Flood had clear objectives - consume, reproduce, spread. Nowadays, I'm left confused as to what the Gravemind's motives even are, or if it can be considered a Flood or Precursor, or if such a boundary can even be drawn with the whole Precursors=Flood thing.
    Are the Precursors around like they were 100,000 years ago? The Halo Pulse destroyed the Orgonon, which may have been used to preserve them. That could mean that the Flood is a free agent, and no longer bound to the tenets of the Mantle. In that case, the Gravemind would be a vast library of memories and experiences bound into an organism that exists only to spread and consume.
    Alternatively, the tinkering that the Forerunner did to us may have called our ability to carry the Mantle into question. In that case, we may need to be tested anew... and I think the books mentioned something to the fact that "our time is coming".

    Hell, we're assuming that the Precursors were all in agreement, and that some weren't in favor of simply wiping out all life they didn't control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Not really...in as much that reading familiarizes me with more material, but if I'm checking up canon facts (or real-world ones), I'd just go to a wikia or Wikipedia, since it's far quicker and easier to do than scour through a book in the middle of writing something. Reading to get style kinda helps to an extent, but when it comes to feedback on writing technique, I get what I need from writer's group meetings. If anything, copying a writer's writing style can be a hazard - there was a brief period after reading A Game of Thrones where I realized I was writing material in its style and tone that wasn't suited for the media it was based on. Luckily that's passed, but if anything, writer's style is also respective to style and tone. What works in one setting doesn't necessarily work in another.
    Understood.

    Mostly, I'm in a rut as far as writing goes, and I've been reading other authors and looking at their writing styles as a way of bootstrapping me through my writers block. How does Jim Butcher write his action scenes? How does Harry Turtledove pace his dialog? How did I pace my action scenes and write my dialog?

  9. #29

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    So, since the other posters have given me a mandate to vent my spleen again, it's time for the latest batch of vitriol for The Great Hunt. 681 page book (minus apendecies and the like), up to page 367, and...well, actually, it's entered territory that means it's looking at an assessment of "good" from me.

    Then again, I'm not sure if that's a mark in the book's favour. The charitable way of looking at it in that the story has become more focussed on character relationships/interactions rather than just "go get the horn and let the side characters develop superpowers for the 10-plus books that are yet to come." Yes, Rand's still carrying the horn, but now that he has it, it isn't the dictating force for his actions. Nynaeve's gone/is going through her "Yoda teaches Luke" part of the plot, but at least it was relatively interesting to read.

    On the other hand, maybe it's because it's entered 'shipping territory,' that time of the story where now when we've got to know the characters, the author can tease us all with pairing material that in our 21st century world, we can use as ammunition for our shipping wars. Rand can't help but notice Selene's...feminine aspects, Moraine has severed her connection with Lan for reasons I doubt are entirely utilitarian (and sparked my subconcious mind to go on a chanting round of "kiss him you fool!") and it seems that every male in Tar Valon is interested in getting into Egwene's pants and cockblocking each other in the process.

    Or maybe I'm confusing the novel with a JRPG and seeing things that aren't there. Either way, the book's back in "good" territory right now, but no idea if it'll stay there.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Which seems to be like picking out comic books in a comic book store, so many, many options, many of them good, but no one can tell you which one is the right one for you.
    I dunno, I've yet to see anyone appreciate the New 52.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    Anyways the take away for you guys is that if you're wanting an action packed sci fi series this seems to be a good place to start. I don't know if you guys are into that though
    Not really.

    Okay, let me rephrase that. I can enjoy action in sci-fi. It's just that in so many books and movies, it seems that so often it boils down to humans who are "good guys" versus aliens who are "bad guys," whose sole defining feature is "we're invading aliens, and we're invading because we're dicks, and we're dicks because obviously any species capable of interstellar travel has to be dicks, because goodness knows exploring the idea that we aren't dicks would take away from time that we have to show that aliens are dicks, and humans aren't dicks, and humans get to show that we're not dicks by showing our "indomitable human spirit" and beating back those aliens."

    Okay, I'm overgeneralizing, but it seems so often with military sci-fi in books and movies that fleshing out antagonists has become taboo bar "they're here, time to shoot them." Even an 'evil' faction/species can still be a fleshed out one, but so often in the genre, I'm not even granted that privilige. Movie-wise, for every Oblivion and Avatar, there's a Battle: Los Angeles and Battleship. Bookwise, for every War of the Worlds, there's a plenthora of Lost Fleet novels. It seems that in military sci-fi in books and films, there's a predisposition to make it black versus white with aliens being as evil and undeveloped as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    f I can't find another series sci fi series for me so I might just have to start digging into the Halo books, which I've been wanting to do since I discovered that there actually were video game based books around 2005.
    2005? Huh. I still have my old Sonic the Hedgehog books from the 1990s tucked away on my shelves.

    Snark aside, the Halo novels can probably be enjoyed without knowledge of the games. I say "probably" though because I could say the same of numerous pieces of such fiction, and often such fiction is what keeps my interest in the setting without ever purchasing the games they're based on. But overall, they'd probably be to your taste. Quite a few are fleshed out enough to stand on their own, quite a few have links to one another, and while there's absolute stinkers IMO (e.g. Cryptum and Primordium), there's absolute gems as well (e.g. The Fall of Reach and The Thursday War). Overall, probably worth a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    No, but in the grim, dark future of the twenty-sixth century, there is only war!

    What gets me thinking "Grimdark" is how war seems to be the default state of being in the Haloverse these days. Half of The Thursday War seems to be justification for reigniting the war between the ex-Covenant factions and Humanity, while Halo 4 gave us a blank look and a "Wait, we need to justify it? Since when?"
    Um...

    Okay, slight tangent, but I think "grimdark" is a phrase that gets used far too often. "Grimdark" is, IMO, "fiction where the situation is grim and generally unpleasant. What distinguishes grimdark from just plain "gritty" however, is that in grimdark, a requirement of the setting is that the protagonists do not possess the means and/or motives to change the setting for the better, but rather, the best the reader can hope for is a maintenance of the status quo, rather than improving the status quo." Hence, medias such as 40K and Aliens are grimdark. Halo isn't, especially post-H3 where humanity's gone from a grim situation where extinction was a real threat to a situation where they're the top dogs and the galaxy's their oyster.

    Then again, maybe the UEG is indeed a predecessor for the Imperium. We emerge from aliens trying to wipe us out, we maintain our power through genetically-augmented supersoldiers, further boosted by legions of expendable grunts, we believe we have a manifest destiny, and...oh, wait. Nevermind. The Spartan-IVs can't be Space Marines because they're led by Palmer. And if anything, Palmer is more like a Sister of Battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Because the modern civilizations don't have galaxy-spanning empires and planet-cracking technology.
    Except the Flood has to start off from scratch in both places. So the Covenant is the closest thing to a galaxy-spanning empire, and humanity has its NOVA bombs. It's a smaller conflict, but in terms of 'power level,' it kind of balances each other out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    I'm being a hypocrite though, because the Flood defeated the Forerunner by being able to use long-dormant Precursor technology, almost exactly what Humanity is doing. And I'm really starting to dislike the latter.
    Maybe the Flood isn't a 'scavenger', so much as it's a force that turns the Forerunner's strengths against them. Though I'd love to know how they captured entire fleets of (Presumably) hermetically-sealed warships.
    Eh, don't worry. Honestly, by this point, I was expecting Gradius or Turalyon to come in yelling "wait a minute, how can you criticize the derping of the Flood/Gravemind, yet be okay with the derping of the zerg/Overmind!?" And to that I say...um...

    So yeah, I don't think "hypocrite" is a word that necessitates usage right now. But you did kind of nail it with the whole Flood turning the Forerunners' strengths against them. So with Flood going from "we win because we can use your strengths against you" to "we win because there were all these Precursor artifacts lying around," can they really be called "the Flood" anymore? They're not really 'flooding' their foe, but rather just building dams and whatnot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Are the Precursors around like they were 100,000 years ago? The Halo Pulse destroyed the Orgonon, which may have been used to preserve them. That could mean that the Flood is a free agent, and no longer bound to the tenets of the Mantle. In that case, the Gravemind would be a vast library of memories and experiences bound into an organism that exists only to spread and consume.
    Alternatively, the tinkering that the Forerunner did to us may have called our ability to carry the Mantle into question. In that case, we may need to be tested anew... and I think the books mentioned something to the fact that "our time is coming".

    Hell, we're assuming that the Precursors were all in agreement, and that some weren't in favor of simply wiping out all life they didn't control.
    All of this is possible, but "possible" is the key word. If new evidence comes to light, then I'll reconsider it. But it just feels so far that the Precursors seem to be unable to make up their mind as to what their goals are, and I'm left asking questions about the Flood in the original trilogy. Questions that didn't exist back then and IMO, didn't need to.

  10. #30
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
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    It seems that so often it boils down to humans who are "good guys" versus aliens who are "bad guys,"
    I have the same problem as you. In an action series, you have to hate the villain and love the good guys. Hard to do when the bad guys are simply on another side or "just plain evil." From what I can tell though, there's plenty of military sci fi that rises above this, or, if it doesn't, its not really about the combat anyways but more about the effect on the characters.

    As for B.V. Larson's series, he avoids this pretty well since, at least for most of the first book, you don't know who is the bad guy or the good guy. I know who they are, from the blurbs about the sequels, but I shouldn't. The enemies aren't interesting yet though. It's a pretty simplistic novel that I'm starting to think only got so many 4-stars of GoodReads because of a rush from the Halo and Call of Duty crowd trying out their first novel. I just figured I needed to get this book out of the way, since I bought it, and can return it to Audible, if I send it back soon enough. It does have action though. So like I said, if you don't mind simplistic worlds (not enemies) then you might like it. As for me, I have a really hard time connecting to anything that isn't massively epic. I don't know why now. I used to not have this problem. I blame it on the ease of listening to audiobooks. Kind of like watching a miniseries versus a full, multi season series.

    There still seems to be a lot of books that would interest me out there, however.

    On an unrelated side note, I never knew how many space horror books there were. Up until now I had thought that movies like Event Horizon, Pandemonium and games like Dead Space were unique, but, nope, there's books just like them. Go figure. I'm not even sure if Alien or Predator are all that unique anymore, and, if not, I don't even know who I am.



    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

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