Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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redding is teh hard; How about a Books thread?

Discussion in 'Codex Public Library' started by kingcomrade, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Erebus Magister

    Erebus
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    I've got something like 60 books waiting for me (some of them have been waiting for more than a year). They include "A canticle for Leibowitz", "The master and Margarita", "The road", quite a few japanese and french classics, the last two books of the Malazan series, "Moby Dick", "David Copperfield", etc.

    Right now, however, I'm reading Aristotle's Ethics. Very interesting, but not the kind of book that you can read quickly.

    Anyway, I don't think I'll be buying many books in 2012...
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  2. Nomask Alt Savant

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    An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe. Just finished it. 8/10 Not meandering, not disjointed, not overly reliant on coincidence, no pointless similes or endless descriptions; a beautiful piece of work.
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  3. skuphundaku Economic devastator, Mk. 9 Patron

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    I have "A Canticle For Leibowitz" close to the top of my "to read" list. I already have it but I haven't made time for it yet. From what I understand, it's quite good. At least that's what I heared from someone whose oppinion I trust when it comes to scifi.
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  4. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    I don't read as much sci-fi as I should, but I thought it was pretty smashing - genuinely pleasant, easygoing read, as well.

    (Fuckit, I can't remember if we have spoiler capability yet, this'll have to do)I think Jimbob said earlier in the thread that he found the middle 'Renaissance' section dull, but it was easily my favourite part - the end section's futuristic world was uncertainly drawn, it spent too long dwelling on the euthanasia debate with bigger issues at stake, and it featured another beleaguered but essentially decent abbot protagonist who didn't do much to distinguish himself from Dom Paulo who'd come before. It also began with a really out-of-place attempt at Eliot-ish pastiche stuff that surely should have been cut.

    Not sure what to make of Once And The Future King so far. I'd read on Wikipedia that the first volume could be 'quite light-hearted', which seems like the understatement of the century - it's nothing but schoolboy howlers and anachronistic wink-winks and 1066 And All That style U-rated piss-taking, the sort of stuff I'd assumed had been dreamt up for the Disney adaptation. Ah well.
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  5. SCO Arcane

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    If you haven't read much sci-fi and haven't read Jack Vance's The Demon Princes, i really recommend it as a "atypical typical" series.

    funny too (most of the time)
    grotsnik Brofists this.
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  6. Krraloth Savant Patron

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    I've just finished Crescent City Rhapsody by Kathleen Ann Goonan. I'm not a big reader of sci-fi but this was interesting, plenty of exchanged POWs and the nanotech stuff looked very interesting. It manages to be not predictable especially how at the end of the book you are not omniscent about what happened but it feels "just right".

    On the Turtledovish side of the fantasy front I really recommend Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle, very, very cool ideas and very nice delivery.

    Of course, I didn't read through 80 pagesof thread, so if I am repeating, ignore me.
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  7. Phelot Arcane

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    Have you read The Woman in Black or any of the Carnacki short stories? Do these compare? I'm always on the lookout for ghost stories. Wikipedia states these are pretty atmospheric, but do they overly explain the ghosts and is it creepy/spooky at all?

    Just curious.
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  8. MisterStone Augur

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    I've been reading Washington Irving's short stories (Tales of a Traveller). There's some really great stuff there... he's probably one of the best fantasy writers of all time. Every bit as funny as Twain, but he doesn't sacrifice storytelling for semi-funny wankery the way Twain does.
    Phelot Brofists this.
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  9. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    I haven't read Woman In Black, I'm ashamed to say, but I probably prefer James to the Carnacki tales, in terms of eeriness, at least. WHH's great fun but he's a bit too melodramatic and balls-out crazy for me to take seriously, whereas James mainly seems to write these much more old-fashioned fables with a sting at the end - the academic digs up the ancient object that comes back to haunt him, the vengeful ghost hunts down a bloodline, the painting that moves when nobody's looking, etc, etc (though one of them was really proto-Lovecraft, come to think of it - it had an unholy city, an unaging dabbler in alchemy who calls up a tentacled monster that drives people insane, and a doomed investigative hero).

    He definitely doesn't over-write his monsters - in fact, he seems to have a philosophy of keeping them barely glimpsed. I'd say he definitely achieves a good level of 'creepy/spooky' in his best stories, but if you've read a lot of more recent horror some of his pay-offs and second-tier writing will probably seem a bit U-rated and nonthreatening. (Whistle And I'll Come To You, for instance, has a great, tense build-up, but Christ, its monster's rubbish). Worth a go, anyway!
    Phelot Brofists this.
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  10. Phelot Arcane

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    Thank you for the info, this sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'm more into building atmosphere and creepy subtle stuff, like in Woman in Black. What's odd is that I couldn't give a shit what happens in the end. I guess I like scares, but not so much horror. In Hell House, my favorite parts were the creepy stuff, not the violence and "OMG ITZ HORRIBLE!" so yeah, I'm all for ghosts and goblins that scare, but maybe not horrify.



    I really enjoyed the Carnacki stories even if I hated when things ended up not being supernatural especially when it's almost more crazy and far fetched when it's not ghosts and shit :lol: like that castle that bleeds from the ceiling. That shit was so tense and creepy, I absolutely loved it, but then the end... WTF? :lol: again, it would make more sense if it was a demon or spirit. (I hope I didn't ruin that one for you which is why I'm keeping it vague)
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  11. hoodoo Prophet

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    What you guys think of Arthur Machen? my knowledge of classic horror is limited to Bierce and Lovecraft but I've read good things about him.
    Otherwise I recommend Clive Barkers Books of Blood, intense, stomach churning horror in every story. He dosnt fail with any of the other senses either.
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  12. CappenVarra Phantasmist

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    True, The Demon Princes are good, I remember liking it a lot. But then again, that sentence could be rephrased as "If you haven't read anything by Vance, drop whatever you're doing now and do it".

    Just in case you need further confirmation, I'll second this. Not really scary to people jaded by 20th century horror, but nice and moody. Hell, I laughed at half the "scaries" in the book, but I still remember it fondly.

    I've only read The Great God Pan some years ago, but for some reason I remember much less about that book than I do of Bierce or Lovecraft. Perhaps I'm just not :obviously: enough, or read it with the wrong mindset. I've heard good things about The White People, so maybe I'll check that and report back... But if you want an immediate recommendation, definitely check out Algernon Blackwood (start here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Willows/I).
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  13. Phelot Arcane

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    Hmmm... I read MR Jame's A Warning to the Curious and Wailing Well. So far these don't seem like they're for me. For one, I tend to enjoy a lot of build up, almost excessively so and I also like more subtlety. I did enjoy A Warning to the Curious the most, but didn't care for the other. I'll continue reading these because they are still enjoyable, just not quite what I like. I really enjoyed Carnacki's tense build ups and very detailed descriptions of what is going on. I also think I prefer that the story be told by the primary experiencer of whatever spooky shit is going on. I just don't much care for taking a back seat to whatever is going on and so far it seems like that's Jame's style. I think this is purely a matter of opinion and I've already figured out that I have a very particular taste which is hard to describe. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion, I'll keep at it since, as I said, it is still enjoyable.
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  14. Phelot Arcane

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    BTW, I've been continuing my mission to read all the books in school I was suppose to read. I'm halfway through A Catcher in the Rye. First of all :lol:

    I keep waiting for Holden to say "I'm the goddamn Batman!"

    I just don't know if I can finish it, since I know what happens and I'm just not feeling it. I know there are hidden little gems and some nice points, but most of it seems like the retarded ramblings of some kid that manages to be both unrealistically adult like and unrealistically childish. Maybe that's the point, from what I understand this isn't meant to be some coming of age story. I don't know, it just seems like a lot of random events that will probably all come together, but who knows. I recall the synopsis and the talking points from School and I guess I feel that's good enough. I really should finish it.
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  15. CappenVarra Phantasmist

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    So I read Machen's The White People and The White Powder stories, because they weren't too long and I had some time. Both had some good and interesting parts, but both also had major issues that brought them down to 'meh' for me.

    The White People starts good (the prologue), and then hits a literal wall: the main part is supposed to be a diary of a 16 yo girl and is a huge wall of unedited text. It works as an idea (it's a real diary by a person unlikely to care about making much sense or being readable by anyone else), but it's also somewhat annoying to read. The contours of the mystery are interesting (very fairy tale -like, in the proper "dark fairy tale without a happy end" kind of way, and myth-like), but not really much more than contours. And the epilogue is pretty much a non-ending. I guess I'm too spoiled by modern horror to really appreciate it.... Sigh.

    The White Powder I liked better - it's a nice proto-Lovecraftish short story. However, the very ending is so damn... clumsy and heavy-handed it killed my will for reading any other Machen stories for a while. I'm convinced the story would be cca. 200% better if the damn chemist replied with "I don't know what it is / I can't explain it, but it evaporated before my very eyes / Why did you send me an empty vial? / I dissolved it water for analysis, but found nothing; btw, I'm feeling strangely elated for no reason at all, must be the nice weather we're having today - I think I'll take a day off and enjoy myself a bit for a change". Anything but... that shitty exposition dump.

    So yeah, I can't really recommend him based on what I've read so far.
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  16. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    I really want to like Machen, because he gets so much love from people who actually know what the fuck they're talking about, but I think I'm happy to admit at this stage that I don't get him -or at least I don't understand what's so appealing about his work to horror writers specifically. Like you, Cappenvarra, I enjoyed the White People prologue's discussion about sin as unnaturalness rather than wrongdoing, but I couldn't stand the child's babbling about elves (Wikipedia tells me Joshi said it was 'Lovecraft as if written by Joyce' - what, on the basis that it's densely written?). Likewise, I thought there was a brilliant nastiness to that first human-experimentation scene in The Great God Pan, and it's clearly very well done, but...fauns and fairies aren't fucking scary, particularly as he writes them. He has this big beautiful idea about a protean, dividing-and-multiplying, sensual nature that's been around since the dawn of time in the wooded places, but aside from Machen loudly telling us at frequent intervals that this thing is unspeakably evil, I just don't feel as if it's an innately sinister concept any more than, I don't know, Dionysus himself.
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  17. CappenVarra Phantasmist

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    Well, I can understand how it could have been a pretty unusual topic if the reader was born in the 19th century and has never read anything like it before - and can be shocked into fright by an insinuation that a person died because of *something strange, gasp!*. We're a bit more jaded, and his writing doesn't seem to be interesting enough on average to keep my attention (the way some older writers manage despite the same time difference). And as I said, the contours sort-of-hinted-of in The White People (roman or older statues coming to life! they created men, and are the true gods! everything we think we know about the world and the universe is a lie! told through the eyes of a child!) are decent (and easy to see as an influence on Lovecraft etc.), but reading it is a bit of a bore... But it seems fauns and fairies seem to have been en vogue at that time, because they seem to be a popular choice (I remember sleeping through Algernon Blackwood's The Centaur, for instance).
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  18. Nomask Alt Savant

    Nomask Alt
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    So... Any modern horror recommendations besides Ramsey Campbell and Stephen King (and, I suppose, I Am Legend)?
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  19. Cowboy Moment Arcane

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    There is no modern horror.
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  20. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Elaborate goddamnit!
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  21. hoodoo Prophet

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    Books of Blood by Clive Barker
    also, dunno if the books would classify as horror, but Jesse Bullington writes some very good grimdark books based off folk legends and the middle ages.
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  22. Krraloth Savant Patron

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    Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson is as hard sci-fi as it can get, so far is very good.
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  23. Flying Spaghetti Monster Arcane

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    Red Mars is pretty awesome... starts getting worse as the series goes, though.
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  24. Krraloth Savant Patron

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    I just finished the POW of Michel Duval and Hiroko... you know in the farmlands, I wasn't expecting that but surely rumors are based upon truth ;)
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