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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by The P on January 11, 2022, 06:00:22 pm »
Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey (1)

Hmm...  I was surprised to find myself not excited to read this conclusion to the series.  I liked the previous books pretty well, but maybe it had been too long before this one came out.  It could also be the time jump that occurred at book...7?  The plots and characters got spread out and disparate, and thus less compelling I think.

My biggest problem with this book was its pacing.  The beginning is kind of slow and aimless, then suddenly out of nowhere we are fighting for the very existence of humanity, which I knew was coming.  There is a very clear existential threat that has to be dealt with going into the book, but I just didn't like how the authors got around to dealing with it.  Some story elements got far out there, psychedelic, brief interludes of stream of consciousness kind of, I did not like it.  The Expanse is at its best when it deals with conflict between people, whether on a personal or planetary scale.  Going so far into the trippy mind alien realm just didn't work, it was better in previous books when it was just briefly touched on or alluded to. 

Overall, this is a fine conclusion to an otherwise great modern space epic.  The denouement was probably my favorite part.  I will say, throughout the whole series it is very clear this was lifted from/heavily-inspired by some sci-fi rpg session someone ran, not unlike Dragonlance is for D&D.  Characters have their clear class, traits, and alignments, and I found myself frequently thinking how a gamed session morphed itself into various scenes in the series.  It's still good, worth reading if you want a big sci-fi epic.

MSJ, both those series are on my list for the year.  Just started Senlin Ascends.
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by MSJ on January 09, 2022, 12:52:28 am »
Hey fellow sloggers! So, started off the year with The Wisdom of Crowds, by Joe Abercrombie (1). As always, I really enjoy his books and was a page turner. Highly recommended.

On to, The Hod King, by Josiah Bancroft. Love this series, and have already started on it.

I have so many books to read, and im gonna try and knock a bunch out this year. Miss you guys and hope to stop around a little more often. Cheers!
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by The P on January 06, 2022, 05:26:45 pm »
I did not read as much as I wanted last year.  Only 21 books, and I didn't hit much of what I expected to read either.  So this year, who knows?
The only sure thing is reading new KJ Parker, certainly a novella or two and a novel.  Aside from that, probably Abercrombie's latter trilogy, Babel books, Tad Williams's new Osten Ard, finishing Ruocchio's series.  All subject to change and be bumped at a whim.  Maybe this time next year I'll be reflecting on my deep dive into Amish romance novels; time will tell, all is in flux.
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General Earwa / Re: On the Nature of the No-God
« Last post by H on January 05, 2022, 02:30:49 pm »
I realize that I tend to drop what are essentially non-sequiturs here, but as a disorganized mind as mine is, that is the best I can do at the moment.  I came across this though:

Quote
But in the second place, “the concept does not only have being within itself implicitly – it is not merely that we have this insight but that the concept is also being explicitly. It sublates its subjectivity itself and objectifies itself. Human beings realize their purposes, i.e., what was at first only ideal is stripped of its one-sidedness and thereby made into a subsisting being. … When we look closely at the nature of the concept, we see that its identity with being is no longer a presupposition but a result. What happens is that the concept objectifies itself, makes itself reality and thus becomes the truth, the unity of subject and object” (LPR 3:356). The concept, like the human “I,” is alive and active; its activity can be called a drive, and every satisfaction of a drive is a sublation of the subjective and a positing of the objective (LPR 1:438–439)

LPR refers to Hegels Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion.  Of course, I am linking this, in my mind, to what the Dunsult tell us about how the No-God is, to them, the Absolute, a unity of Subject and Object.  In Hegel's terms, this seems to mean it would be Pure Being, which might be a hint as to why it invalidates the Outside and so sin.  That is, in Pure, Immediate Being, meaning is also Immediate.  There is no mediating term of an Eternal perspective.  Everything simply is what it is, there is never any true Becoming, it is all just Material doing whatever it is that Material does.
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Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« Last post by Wilshire on January 04, 2022, 07:01:07 pm »
New year, new books! Or trying to finish old ones. Or rereads. Or...

This year I'm going to to read more consistently. Despite reading 27 books, I didn't complete any books after August last year, which feels bad. Plenty of things I still want to read.

TBR:
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert

January (0)
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by Wilshire on January 04, 2022, 06:54:59 pm »
I finally finished Pandora's star. I'm going to count it for 2021 because I only had like 20 minutes left on the audiobook.

It was tough to finish. Not because it was bad, but I just lost interest in the story. I admit at least partial fault since it took so long. But I do still blame Hamilton. Its just too long, too many individual characters and plots spread over too many ideas.  Its a good Space Opera, but so long that you will really need to be in the mood for it.
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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on December 30, 2021, 06:13:19 pm »
'The idea of ... empathy is an intellectual interpretation of the primary experience in which there is no room for any sort of dichotomy.'
 - Daisetsu T. Suzuki

"The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity -- then we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective."

~ D Suzuki
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by The P on December 14, 2021, 08:04:41 pm »
Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio (21)

This series continues to be good.  The Dune influence, which were pretty pronounced early in book one, are very much in the background here.  The series is doing more to stand on its own in the second book (not that I consider the first derivative), though I suspect further influences from Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, Russell's The Sparrow, and Reynolds's Revelation Space.  But it is very much its own story, however many inspirations it pulls from.  From the very start of this second book, the plot goes in unanticipated directions and keeps going to interesting places throughout, with a completely wild ending.

If I have a complaint, it's that the narrator often brings up some deep thought, introspection, or philosophy; but those ideas or themes are taken in the moment and not developed or elaborated much beyond their introduction.  Leaving that out keeps the story moving at a good clip, but keeps it on the near side of being a thinky, meaty read worth revisiting.  Nonetheless, I'm enjoying it and look forward to the next.
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by Wilshire on December 13, 2021, 03:41:47 pm »
One of the best things about TSA is the foreshadowing. Whether intentional or not by Bakker, its these little moments, like those you highlighted, that make the entire series feel like it was fully developed prior to being written. There are discontinuities and/or reversals that prove this isn't the case, but at the very least many specific events past/future are linked together beautifully.

Saubon selling his soul to be king for a day is fantastic, especially because its so literal. He is hardly a sovereign King for more than a few days before becoming part of Kellhus' Empire, and he does end up damned (though this is a fate that basically everyone shares). Fantastic stuff like this is what makes the series worth reading and rereading, over and over.
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by Monkhound on December 13, 2021, 10:17:40 am »
I'm not a slow reader but still it took a while to get through TWP again due to life getting in the way  :)

Chapter 6 had some funky references during the Battle of Mengedda:
Quote from: Chapter 6
Now the wind came from the east, and men swore they could smell the sea.
Mengedda being quite far inland, it gave me a flashbacks to the Battle of Dagliash, though that could be because of the "Saubon dying" passage in the same chapter.

Quote from: Chapter 6
And when the day is done,
In our eyes the Gods shall lurk!
These two lines of the chant that the Inrithi sing during the battle struck me as a weird parallel to the "What do you see?" passages that we get from Akka's dreams by the thousands of sranc. The parallel being "After we have killed, the (No-)God will be able to see what we have done (and reward us?)".

Another passage that especially struck me was the one in chapter 17. where Kellhus finally breaks Esmenet, using a repetition of words that we encounter later in TGO in the passage of Koringhus's "cuts and cuts and cuts" revelation:
Quote from: Chapter 17,  The words in bold are mine
"You break and remake, cut and cut and cut, all so you might answer in you conqueror's tongue!"
[...]
"And you tell yourself", Kellhus continued, "'These tracks I will not follow!', Perhaps you refuse certain perversity. You pretend to scruple, to discriminate, though the world has forced you onto trackless ground."
[...]
"'What love lies beyond sacrifice?'"

Though worded slightly different, I encountered the same explanation a few chapters later, when Cnaïur finally understands how Moënghus and Kellhus have controlled him all along:
Quote from: Chapter 24,  The words in bold are mine
He was bound to the Dûnyain as the Dûnyain was bound to Serwë's corpse - bound by the cutting ropes of an unconquerable hate.
Any shame. Any indignity. He would bear any injury, commit any atrocity, to whet his vengeance. He would see the whole world burn before he would surrender his hate. Hate!
[...]
Hatred, and hatred alone, had kept him sane.
Just like Esmenet, Cnaiür has been chipping/ cutting away at himself to fit his view on the world, and to soothe his own mind. In the case of Cnaiür, these cuts seem to be both physical and mental, with him scarring himself with his swazond to pove the point of his hatred... Which in turn gives an extra dimension to Mimara's Judging Eye vision about him later in TGO. I'm currently under the impression that, especially given how we see Kellhus's deduction at work, the Dûyain see the cuts that people made in reverse, since we get a similar deduction described again when Koringhus has his Zero-God revelation.

With the knowledge of the description of Saubon's death in TGO, there is the fun passage in TWP where he calls for his own damnation:
Quote from: Chapter
[Saubon:] "Then fie on it! Fie on the truth!"
[Kellhus:] "And what of your immortal soul?"
"Then let it be damned!" he roared, leaping to his feet. "I embrace it - embace it all! Damnation in this life! Damnation in all others! Torment heaped upon torment! I would bear all to be King for a day! I would see you broken and blooded if that meant I could own this throne! I would see the God's own eyes plucked out!

Finally, chapter 23 has the passage where Kellhus has his revelation:
Quote from: Chapter 23
And upon it two silhouettes, black against clouds of stars, impossibly bright.
The figure of a man seated, shoulders crouched like an ape, legs crossed like a priest.
I remember a similar passage (in TGO, I think? Or maybe in TWLW) where Kellhus encounters people with animal features. Did we get an explanation about that somewhere, or is it simply his madness that is leaking through?

I know there are supposed to be parallels between TPN and TAE, and I'm still amazed at how Bakker pulled it off  ;D.

Going to pick up TTT again next of course, and I'll share the things that stood out to me, with the knowledge of how TAE ends.
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