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Messages - Alia

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Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: April 18, 2017, 08:44:44 am »
Finished Norse Mythology (6). Short book, beautifully written stories that I was familiar with - but it was good to read them once more in this form. I've started Echopraxia and I realised that I'd forgotten much of Blindsight.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: April 10, 2017, 07:39:32 pm »
Finished the unpublished crime novel, which was pretty good (and in dire need of editing and proofreading), which is book 5 of the year, now I'm reading Norse Mythology by Gaiman. I've read Edda years ago, so the stories are familiar, but still it's nice to read them again.
Next in line is probably Watts's Echopraxia. I was waiting for an e-book of Polish translation, but as it's not available, I finally bought the original.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: March 23, 2017, 06:54:41 pm »
Finally managed to get through Tregillis's The Mechanical (book 4 of the year) - although I must admit I simply skimmed the last part. It's bad, and I mean really bad, on so many levels. The characters, even the ones you are supposed to like or at least sympathise, are irritating, the plot is uninteresting (and this is book one of the series - I'm not going to read the next for sure) and I finished it only because I really rarely leave books unfinished.
And one more thing - the language. There was simply too much profanity. Now, as you can guess from my being on this forum, I do not mind sex, violence and strong language. But only when it makes sense in the context. Here it looked like the author was shouting "hey, look, I know it's steampunk, but it's not young adult. Seriously, look, I'm swearing a lot, it's not YA! Not YA at all, remember!"
Definitely not recommended.

Now I'm reading something totally strange - a friend of mine asked me to read her husband's unpublished crime novel to see if it was any good. And while it certainly needs a lot of editing and proofreading, I'm already halfway through it (and I started reading on the train on Monday). Because the characters are realistic and believable.

General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:42:09 am »
As for Vikings, the first season was OK, the second and third were really good and then the fourth was a real let-down. Sometimes I just had this feeling that the script-writers took the easy path, like "Ok, this character has outlived his/her usefulness, so what do we do? Let them die in some stupid way and get over it".

General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: March 08, 2017, 08:13:22 pm »
Watched Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency in one sitting. It's quite good, on the one hand absurd and funny, on the other very brutal and depressing. Quite like Douglas Adams (well, without the "brutal" part). And Elijah Wood is great as Todd.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: February 24, 2017, 11:44:26 am »
Finished reading Lou Reed's biography (book 3 of the year), which was quite interesting - but Polish edition sucked on so many levels that sometimes I wanted to throw it out of the window (but it was borrowed). And now, to have a break from Brunner, I'm reading The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis. Alternative history/steampunk, seems interesting so far but I'm only a few chapters into it.

General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: February 24, 2017, 11:40:52 am »
At the moment we're watching Marco Polo, because my husband dearest is always very much into history and at the moment very much into Far East. And also we needed something fun and not very deep to watch. It's fun, it's loosely based on history, it has sex, violence, adventure and a blind kung-fu teacher - what else can you want from a show?

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: February 14, 2017, 12:47:34 pm »
Finished Brunner's Shockwave Rider (book 2 of this year). Overall yet another futuristic dystopia set in the US, but this time less complicated than Stand on Zanzibar or Sheep Look Up, with a much more limited cast of characters (so easier to follow) and overall a little more optimistic. Could make a good introduction to Brunner, I guess.

And now for something completely different - I started reading Lou Reed's biography by Howard Sounes. Not something I would normally buy but I saw it on my friend's bookshelf, she said she won it in some kind of raffle and I could borrow it. So far it seems OK, without looking for cheap sensation and at the same time without treating Reed as someone perfect.

Thanks to Spotify, I've rediscovered Dead Can Dance. I listened to them in high school (still on casettes), then mostly forgot about them - and now I've started again and it's great. Dark, atmospheric, just like I remembered.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:17:52 am »
Finished my first book this year Puste niebo by Radek Rak, probably the first Polish magic realism novel that I've encountered. It's set in my hometown about a 100 years ago and it's a story of a young, not very bright boy, who accidentally breaks the moon and must find someone to make a new one or humanity will die out (as the moon governs women's cycles). So a bit of a fable, a bit of fantasy, a bit of Bruno Schulz - overall, a very strange read.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: January 06, 2017, 05:58:48 pm »
I'll try for at least 10 books, hopefully 15 - although I'm so busy at work at least until the end of April that it might be hard. I want to read more Brunner, certainly Shockwave Rider and maybe something else, and Danielewski's House of Leaves. Apart from that, we'll see what comes along.
And for 2016, I managed to read 12, which is fine.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2016) - Totals and Specifics
« on: January 03, 2017, 06:38:14 am »
Alia, you reminded me of one of my favorite fucked up books, The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.  Fans of Bakker should read this book.

The one book that literally made me feel sick for a few days. But, for the sake of this discussion, it has virtually no fantastic elements whatsoever. (Banks wrote sci-fi as Iain M. and mainstream/crime/thriller/whatever as Iain).

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2016) - Totals and Specifics
« on: January 02, 2017, 07:54:43 pm »
Off the cuff and in no particular order, authors in sci-fi (broadly taken) that I would recommend:
- classics: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin;
- cyberpunk and relatives: William Gibson, Walter Jon Williams, Richard Morgan;
- other/undefined - Iain M. Banks (one of my favourite writers ever), Ian McDonald, Michael Swanwick.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2016) - Totals and Specifics
« on: December 31, 2016, 04:08:51 pm »
Maybe, there is other sci-fi out there that totally gets off on the Terra-forming a planet. Goes into every little subtle detail, I dunno.

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy probably fits the description.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2016) - Totals and Specifics
« on: December 27, 2016, 07:33:31 pm »
Dude, its scifi, not fantasy. Wayyy different. ;)

Lol. Yea, it all feels the same to me. I guess when you have talk about leaping from planet to planet, it becomes Sci-fi.

Remember, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And when you throw powerful religion into the mix, it becomes even more complicated. But yes, by the virtue of happening in the future (very well defined, with timelines, etc.), it's sci-fi.

BTW, blurring the lines between sci-fi and fantasy is a good way to keep your audience guessing and deliver a twist that turns the story on its head. A good example is Morgan's Land Fit for Heroes.

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