What Book are you reading? and rate it.

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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Tappy » 20 Oct 2013, 09:06

Useful graphic for the Infinity series I mentioned showing the related comics if anyone was interested in reading them:

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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby robbo » 30 Dec 2013, 00:22

just read Landslide by Desmond Bagley. was a good read. 'borrowed' it from spoons last year and and was meant to read it before I caught up with my mate this year before returning it. I left it till the day before meeting up again and spend all evening and yesterday afternoon reading it before catching up with my mate and returning it to Wetherspoons.

anyway, a good read. my dad saw the book and said he remembered reading some of his books back in the 60s and 70s. felt like it could be made into a movie and sure enough, a tv movie was made... http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landslide_(novel)
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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Advocate » 30 Dec 2013, 11:12

I am reading through the Jack Reacher books - they are all rather rubbish, full of cliches and teenage sexual fantasies but they are strangely compelling. Perfect rubbish holiday novels.

I also read the latest Terry Pratchett book, Raising Steam - a good book for Pratchett fans but I think it may be hard going for a non-initiated reader. It had me chuckling out loud quite a bit.
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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Combat Marmot » 31 Dec 2013, 11:46

While feeling somewhat ill I decided to read a few Crichton books that I had bought second hand for a few quid each.

First up was Airframe about the investigation in to an air incident where a number of passengers die. It's part investigation, part discussion on the media with a small amount personal danger added. I enjoyed the book but I wouldn't read it again for some time, if at all. A good one to take on holiday (unless you are scared of flying)

Next was Terminal Man where a patient has a chip embedded to provide electrical impulses to the brain to control dangerous behaviour. As expected this doesn't quite work out. It's a good page turner but after a time you get a feeling for which characters are disposable and which are not; this rather breaks the suspense in certain sections.

Finally in my Crichton binge, I read Sphere which like the others was entertaining. The first part of the book and buildup is very good but unfortunately the plot later hinges on something that, to me, seemed entirely unbelievable which spoilt what was a good setting. A lot of effort had gone in to describing a believable scientific environment and finding rational explanations suddenly there's a step change and we have to suspend disbelief.
Spoiler:
The explorers enter the Sphere which essentially tells them that they can imagine things in to existence. For two of the three main characters this seems to mean that their subconscious fears are physically manifested. One imagines a giant squid in to existence, then another images a massive number of sea snakes. Later, another can change the local environment consciously. Never mind telepathy, Alien artefact or otherwise, the amount of energy required to create these things would be enormous.

Ultimately the book was quite a disappointment, I don't think I'll be reading Sphere again and I understand that the film is appalling.

To non-fiction now, I've just finished reading American Icon - Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company. I thought the book was excellent in its description of the survival of Ford during the recession while GM and Chrysler had to declare bankruptcy. It discusses the short comings of the "Big Three" car manufactures and the relevant events in Ford's history. In a number of areas success appears to have been almost down to luck but the author addresses this to show that opportunities could not have been capitalised on without the massive overhaul of the company.

I have two small criticisms of the book: I think a better explanation is needed for the "financial instruments" that were used for those of us who are naive to that sort of thing. Secondly, as a result of the down-sizing that was required to match production with demand a lot of employees lost their jobs. I wasn't keeping a running total of this through the book but I would guess approximately 50,000. Given this large number I think a summary of this aspect could have been included at the end (for example, how many were re-hired when the company switched to expansion and returned to profit).
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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Johnmcl7 » 15 Feb 2014, 01:21

Airframe sounds like it would be my sort of thing, it's a couple of quid second hand on Amazon so think I'll give it a go.

I've hit the stage I've dreaded for a while where I'm out of Warhammer 40K books pretty much aside from a couple of compilations of short stories. On one side it's been a bit disappointing as the WH40K stories have already been reprinted other short story collections (the publisher is annoyingly vague in this regard) however I've been enjoying the Warhammer Fantasy short stories which are completely new to me so ordered a couple of the books that go with one of the short stories.

A while ago I bought a Warhammer Fantasy novel collection as it was only a pound (rather than ten) in Waterstones as the cover was badly damaged but I'd never actually looking into reading. After a bit of a hunt I found it so decided to clear out some more shelf space to get the rest of the Warhammer books out and easier to find. I put all the 'Battles' books together, these each feature a historic battle a Space Marine Chapter has had and have a white background with a standard graphic of a marine in the chapter colouring for the book. As I was looking along these I couldn't recall one with Ultramarines so I reckon I've never read it which is a bonus.

I do wish the ebooks were priced more reasonably or it was possible to pick them up cheap if you have the original, even with books packed in two deep and then horizontally across the top they take up a fair amount of space.

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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby jurassicjim » 15 Feb 2014, 11:27

Still need to read some Warhammer stuff at some point...

Doing The King Killer Chronicles at the moment (audiobooks), finished book one, really really enjoyed it. Now onto book two, 10 hours through, it is a big one, about 40 hours I think. But time flies when I'm listening to it, very engrossing and excellent narration.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1860 ... f_the_Wind

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1215 ... Man_s_Fear

I started as been hankering for some good fantasy stuff after doing LOADS of Stephen King and watching Lord of the Rings recently.

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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby robbo » 15 Feb 2014, 15:43

Combat Marmot wrote:While feeling somewhat ill I decided to read a few Crichton books that I had bought second hand for a few quid each.


Back in my early to mid teens I was a massive Crichton nut, reading lots of his books. Read Airframe when it came out in paperback and remember really enjoying it - may have read it in two sittings. One short passage from it has stuck with me for life!
Spoiler:
"Turn the tv off and everything seems real again." Or words to that effect. Always think about that once I turn the tv off and notice everything around it again and am not absorbed in that rectangle. I think it was from Airframe anyway!

Thought it was going to be made into a movie but not sure if it ever was.

Sphere I read mostly on an aeroplane but remember enjoying it too. Not sure I got my head round all of what was happening but I liked it. Never read Terminal Man. His last 3 books (2 posthumous) I've got but still yet to read...
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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Johnmcl7 » 05 Apr 2015, 01:54

Unusually I haven't read a Warhammer book for a while, not even books with power armour or starship as instead I've been reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series and about to finish the fourth book. I was lent the books by a workmate and admittedly with the first book I was more reading it to humour him but the end had me keen to read the next book and that book then got me completely hooked.

It's a difficult series to describe although it starts off fairly simple focusing on a character known only as the Gunslinger who appears to be a cowboy of some sort in the wild west. He is chasing the Man in Black and ultimately is trying to get to the Dark Tower. As the book progresses it becomes clear that the Gunslinger's world is much more complicated than it looks and appears to have links to our worlds as well as others.

It reminds me a lot of Lost with a mysterious world and a mysterious character which is slowly pieced together learning more of the world as the Gunslinger progresses through it and then flashbacks to gradually explain who the Gunslinger actually is. There's many very strange parts to the series and it's difficult to explain why it's so addictive but a lot of it is just the mystery and wanting to find out more.

Another part of it is the depiction of the Gunslinger which at the start you don't know what that even is, the titular Gunslinger is the very last of his kind and also one of the most exceptional being the youngest ever to get the title. A pair of powerful guns identify the character as a Gunslinger and his incredible speed and accuracy with them is clearly a big part of being a Gunslinger. However it's much more than that and the way people react to him as a near legendary almost mythic character shows how important they are for their diplomatic and other skills as well.

The author creates quite a bit of his own language and oddities and one of the core parts of the Gunslinger's world is remembering the face of your father - if you can remember the face of your father is a good thing whereas forgetting the face of your father is an insult. The Gunslinger's mantra is:

I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.
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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Replicant » 05 Aug 2015, 10:33

Just partly listened and partly read To Kill A Mockingbird which is a pretty good story. Meanders along a bit but a pleasant read all the same.

I can see why schools would use it to discuss society and prejudice.

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Re: What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby jurassicjim » 05 Aug 2015, 18:32

Oh goodness, forgot about this thread. Listened to quite a few more audio books.

Last great one was Unbroken, a true story about a world war 2 prisoner of war in Japan. Seriously amazing story, and the main character (as long with everyone else) is a true inspiration. Cannot recommend it highly enough.

I know a film has been made about it, not seen it yet but I will give it a watch.

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What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby robbo » 25 Aug 2015, 01:59

Started re-reading Gangster by Lorenzo Carcaterra. Really enjoyed when I first read it (13 years ago now...) and hoping to get through it again.
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What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Johnmcl7 » 14 Sep 2015, 01:28

I've been struggling a bit book wise at the moment, there's usually a constant flow of Warhammer books that vary in quality from very average (super heroic space marines save the day) to extremely good. The average ones pad the gaps between the really good ones however recently they've been below average and there's been no decent ones plus the publisher is focusing far more on novellas and e-books. In particular many of the better authors realise that more of something doesn't make it better, in fact less is often better - a single elite Space Marine or superheavy tank amongst the normal units is much more special than a 100 elite marines or superheavies but recently the poorer books have thrown everything in to try and the book better but ended up making it very dull. I was particularly disappointed with a trilogy that was written to follow on from one of my favourite Space Marine books where the heroic space marines don't win the day and realise at the end, they were wrong about so much and it left the question open as to how wrong they really were. The follow on book ignores this entirely, badges the main character from the previous book a heretic and goes on a fairly boring story filled with lots of elite units and dull battles.

Since it was time to look elsewhere I discovered I hadn't read one of Eric Nylund's original three books, I'd started with him when he wrote the first of the Halo books and basically developed the entire Halo universe written a back story to the first game starting when the Master Chief is just six years old right up to Pillar of Autumn arriving at Halo for the first game. When Cortana announced the vessel's main guns were offline at the start of Halo I'd always wondered what those guns were, what shields the ship had etc. and Nylund answered all that creating starship technology that felt something a bit different and also giving a lot of thought to how those technologies would work in combat. He also added a more interesting back story to the Master Chief putting him as the result of a controversial and highly illegal program where the Spartan candidates were kidnapped as children, raised as soldiers with brutal training regimes before being biochemically enhanced with hugely risky procedures that crippled or killed half the candidates.

Sadly he's parted company with Microsoft and the Halo novels from other authors haven't been a patch on Nylund's novels, his parting work was a fantastic short story that showed how the Insurrectionist war the core worlds had been engaged in before the Covenant had attacked hadn't left them weakened and ripe for being wiped out but instead had led to the development of the colossal Magnetic Accelerator Cannons with the Covenant had no defence to and the war with the pirates had led to the development of the Spartans. I decided to seek out Nylund's own work which is always a bit of a crap shoot as some authors work well in existing franchises but not so much their own, Nylund unsurprisingly has written some great books of his own. Game of Universe is a story about an assassin who has captured effectively the souls of others inside him for their memories and knowledge but who can also still take control of him, he's on a quest for the holy grail in a galaxy where magic, psychic powers and technology all mix together. It's one of my favourite books ever and one I just so wish I could read again without knowing the ending.

I realised I hadn't read one of his initial three books so I fired on with Dry Water which unusually I didn't find that good, it's about a person who can see into the future and in particular when people are going to die. He escapes to a town where both a witch of nature and a necromancer take interest in him because they know he will find the 'dry water' but after a long build up it never really comes together and the end is a disappointment.

I came back to a couple of his later books called Signal to Noise and Signal Shattered, again Nylund creates his own unique universe and this time it features fairly young university graduates who have implants fitted that allow them to connect into their own personal holodecks which they can share and also enhances their thinking and intuition. The main character uses this technology to decode an alien signal and makes contact with an alien civilisation but things don't go well and it all spirals out of control but in quite an unusual way, I hadn't planned on reading the book but enjoyed both.

Recently Nylund has decided Young Adult is the way to go sadly despite his fantastic work in sci-fi and technology, the two books he wrote were ok but not great compared to his previous work and more frustratingly the publisher has pulled the plug on it.

Looking up and down my books I decided to make a similar choice and go for another sci-fi writer who had written with a well established franchise as well as his own with Timothy Zahn. Years before there was ever going to be prequel films never mind sequels, Zahn was commissioned to write a follow up trilogy to Return of the Jedi charting the return of an Imperial Grand Admiral who reunites the warring Imperial remnants and starts demolishing the fledgling New Republic. Zahn believed the key success of the original star wars films was the interaction between the characters which he said he appreciated when he used to listen to the films on cassette in the car when driving so his own trilogy forgoes super weapons and huge combat instead for a very character driver trilogy. He introduced some of the most popular Star Wars characters in Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade, it's a shame it looks like none of it will be in the new films.

Years ago I read his own books called the Conqueror Trilogy which I decided to read again although frustratingly I can still remember the main twist, it's not stopping me sprinting through the books though. It's set in the early days of space faring humans who have met and defeated or allied with several alien races in a fledgling but shaky alliance. They come across a new alien race who don't respond to hails and without any provocation demolish a powerful task force and savagely destroy all the escape pods. The humans are terrified by this fearsome enemy and the more they learn, the more worried they are as they realise the aliens have much more advanced hulls, weapons and have mastered instantaneous communication across deep space.

The first book is written entirely from the point of view of the humans but the second one is then written entirely from the point of the view of the aliens and it turns everything on its head as the aliens claim they were fired on first and the humans are the aggressive predators. They're terrified of the human technology as they've realised the humans can calculate where a ship came from after an FTL jump which the aliens can't and also their fearsome fighters which have pilots directly connected into the ships giving them a seemingly impossible level of control. They also know the humans have an incredible super weapon which was previously used to defeat an entire alien race which was then dismantled to prevent any one race into the alliance being able to use it again, the aliens believe they are now on the bring of extinction if the humans can reassemble the weapon in time. The third book is a mix of perspectives and I won't say what the twist is as I very much recommend the series, even knowing the main twist I've been tearing through the book.

John
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What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Johnmcl7 » 03 Oct 2015, 01:28

I finished the Conqueror's trilogy and even though I remembered the main twist I thought the books were a great read. The trilogy is paced well in that the middle book doesn't feel like it's just pacing out the gap to the third book and it packs a lot in, it cleverly builds the galaxy bit by bit as it gradually details each of the different issues the human coalition have faced in the past while dealing with the new alien threat. It's a shame the author never revisited the galaxy they created though as there's so much scope to do so, it's one of my frustrations with standalone books or trilogies that you can't ever dip into that unique setting any further.

It's one of the main reasons I like Warhammer so much is that it's a huge galaxy with so many different aspects that allow you to see so much of the setting but unlike the many Star Trek and Star Wars novels, there's no central focus which adds a lot of variety plus the authors have a lot of freedom to create and kill their own characters.

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Used correctly terrain is a second weapon in your arsenal, equal to your Titan itself. Make the battlefield work for you, or you will find it working for your opponent.
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What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby Johnmcl7 » 23 Nov 2015, 02:49

Taking a break from sci-fi I finished the first Jack Reacher book and Ras is going to hate me for this but I still see Jack Reacher as Tom Cruise, it's perhaps different in later books but although he's meant to be a big, muscly guy it never seems to actually make any difference. Plenty of people take him on without thinking twice, they don't seem to be put off by his appearance at all which in some ways Tom Cruise fits better with as he doesn't look much of a threat. He also seemed to capture the quite abrupt manner Jack Reacher has and the concealed menace when he's being mucked about with. Onto the second book now.

John
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What Book are you reading? and rate it.

Postby EviL Ras » 23 Nov 2015, 14:10

I enjoyed the books, but only read the first 7. The Mrs read them all.

I've just started "a brief history of the Samurai". Already dispelling most of the things i thought about them! But felt i needed to learn more after visiting the temples in japan!
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