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Messages - Wilshire

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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: February 02, 2021, 07:44:44 pm »
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (1)

Brilliant. This book is as fun to read as it is confusing. There's a myriad of timelines, past and present, a narrator who is mad and terribly unreliable. Shifts in POV writing - First, Second, Third, maybe others but I lack the ability to identify them. Tremendous fun, horribly opaque, and a bizarre ending that holds true to form. Tamysn Muir is for me one of the most satisfying authors I've read recently. Though, that's probably a shame for her because I apparently enjoy commercially unsuccessful things with limited mass appeal.

The Locked Tomb series is a resounding must read. I can't wait for more from Muir.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: January 17, 2021, 09:14:25 pm »
Goblin Emperor consistently gets good reviews and has been on my TBR list for quite some time.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: January 10, 2021, 09:24:21 pm »
I guess I'll make this since I finished a book.

I'll keep my goal for the year at 30, since it is usually achievable, and I like to be successful.

Some series getting completed which I expect to read in the coming year, in no particular order:
Stone Dance of the Chameleon, 2nd edition (7 books, one I read last year)
Song of the Shattered Sands (6 books and a prequel novella)
Books of Babel (4 books)
The Expanse last book (I really thought it was coming out in 2020)
Last King of Osten Ard (4 including the bridge book)

Some others either stand alone or older series
John Marco's Tyrants and Kings, two left
Something by Laird Barron, probably a short story collection
Paul Kearney's Monarchies of God
Gemmel's Legend
Stover's Acts of Caine; I read the first a long time ago, but just never got to the rest

This is a fascinating list.

Stone Dance is one that a long term member really loved but I never managed to get around to it.

Books of Babel I'd love to hear your opinions on as you go. I got through book 2 and decided I didn't like it, but it was an interesting idea/book and it has an interesting publication journey. I hope its better than I think it is.

Expanse I stopped after the first book. Nothing wrong with it, but it didn't really grab me. That said, the story was fun and I wish I had the time to finish it.

Tyrants and Kings, or at least book 2 Grand Design, is Madness' favorite fantasy (TSA aside AFAIK).

Legend is the only Gemmel book I've read, and for what it is I was very impressed.

And finally the Acts of Caine I was gushing about last year. I hope others find interest in it as I did, its a good story but it does take a rather strange turn after book 2. Kinda disappears into its own naval but still a great read regardless.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: January 10, 2021, 09:19:27 pm »
Placeholder for goals. I'm thinking 30, will fill in specifics later.

Well, we're nearly a third of the way through the year and I don't really have a plan on what I want to read. I've read a lot of mediocre books so far this year. Since I was so impressed by Harrow, I might go back and reread the series, as for the rest... maybe:
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K J Parker
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert
Empire of Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt 1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky
A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders 1) by Robin Hobb

I'm not feeling to confident for any of those though, but I'd still like to try to get to at least 30. That might be a perennial goal. Its something that is achievable without stress, but does require regular reading.

n/a - I was busy with a newborn lol.

February (2 total)
1) Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
2) The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

March (3 total)
1) To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

April (16 total)
1) The Poppy War by RF Kuang
2) The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang
3) The Burning God by RF Kuang
4) All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells
5) The Awakened Kingdom by N K Jemisin
6) Unsouled (Cradle) by Will Wight
7) Soulsmith (Cradle) by Will Wight
8 ) Blackflame (Cradle) by Will Wight
9) Skysworn (Cradle) by Will Wight
10) Ghostwater (Cradle) by Will Wight
11) Underlord (Cradle) by Will Wight
12) Uncrowned (Cradle) by Will Wight
13) Wintersteel (Cradle) by Will Wight

May (19 total)
1) Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip
2) Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
3) Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

June (23)
1) A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
2) Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
3) Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
4) The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

July (25)
1) The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron
2) Empire's Ruin by Brian Staveley

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
« on: December 30, 2020, 01:29:23 pm »
Rejoice: A Knife To The Heart by Steven Erikson (36)

Finished this one last week, and it'll be the last one of 2020. Definitely an interesting book, though more of a Thought Experiment writ long form, rather than a book in its own right. Also, despite it being much shorter than what he normally does, it is Classic Erikson. By which I mean, its told as a series of short stories set around the disconnected lives of many different characters, which he uses to weave a loosely connected story. Anyone who has read even part of Malazan will understand what I mean here.

The ideas presented in this First Contact novel are fun, and definitely worth some contemplating, but as he goes through all the various arguments for/against the positions presented in the books there really isn't THAT much let to think about. It is an interesting take on your standard scifi, and it doesn't quite work - for me. Not that he did it poorly, but Erikson seems to have a very strong writing style that I get tired of very quickly. If you're interested in a book with minimal plot, that reads like Erikson-does-Asimov, this is probably the book for you. Or if you want a first contact story that isn't about the humans somehow beating a stage 3 civilization, its probably a good bet too.

News/Announcements / Re: Scheduled Downtime
« on: December 16, 2020, 06:50:42 pm »
Thanks to SmilerLoki, there have been some fixes to problems that have been plaguing the forum for months. The message box up front should work properly now (limited to 1024 characters rather than 60ish), and we should be able to properly use special character in posts.

Thanks again SmilerLoki.

That said, if other issues arise, please let us know.

General Misc. / Re: Video Game Thread! What are you playing?
« on: December 02, 2020, 05:44:24 pm »
Just finished Enderal, had to come by and share about it.

If you don't know about Enderal, it's a total conversion Skyrim mod that has a completely different story, world, landscape, mechanics, lore, etc. from the original game. The mod developers (SureAi) describe it as a "dark, psychological story with believable characters". I am convinced that at least one of the devs is a TSA fan. Let me give you a brief overview of the story:

As you show up to the continent of Enderal, you start to have vivid nightmares of an ancient apocalypse that happened thousands of years ago. There is an order that believes that these nightmares are a clue to help them with the impending apocalypse, which most people believe is not going to happen. A secret group of beings called "The High Ones" is said to behind these apocalyptic event.

That sounds amazing. I am ever enchanted by the idea of games with interesting stories and RPG mechanics, but I find myself largely unable to get into them as of recent years. Still though, total conversion Skyrim mods are awesome, and that particular one sounds fantastic.

I'll try to remember to put it on my list of games I'd love to play but probably never will.

General Misc. / Re: How would you end it
« on: December 01, 2020, 07:59:15 pm »
... and could be used to focus/reorient the reader to what was important in PON/TAE that was missed by readers.
What do you think was important that we missed?

As a reader, I'm sure I wouldn't know lol.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
« on: November 30, 2020, 06:01:13 pm »
The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons (35)

The Fall is definitely an important part of the Hyperion saga, and it really does make Hyperion a better book. That said, it still wasn't as good as nostalgia memories say it ought to have been. I'm not exactly sure what I missed this time around, but its still a great pair of books. The Ousters remain some of my favorite "aliens" - despite them not technically being aliens at all.

I really must say though, after all the philosophizing, calling The Void Which Binds a consciousness that grows as consciousness in animals grows, but then reducing back to simply being "love" is something of a letdown.

I dont think I'll make it to my goal of 40, but hopefully I can get to one or two more this year.

General Misc. / Re: How would you end it
« on: November 30, 2020, 05:36:06 pm »
Earwa seems to repeat histories, in part and in full. I think an interesting ending would be to tell the story of The Sagas starting from the point where the initial Ordeal fails and Seswatha flees back to the Three Seas.

This does half the job of finishing the series, and could be used to focus/reorient the reader to what was important in PON/TAE that was missed by readers. It also carries less emotional baggage than finishing the series, while still continuing to expand on the worldbuilding of TSA.

Though that is maybe answering a slightly different question, moreso How Should The Story Continue, rather than "end". It seems full Bakker to skip Return of the King entirely and jump right into Silmarillion.

And maybe it would help with what I am guessing is writers block, given years of radio silence regarding progress on TNG. We've already got the highlights of The Sagas, "just" fill in the blanks ;) . Experiment with some long form epic poetry too, just for the fun (and I imagine the nonman of old loved to have philosophy battles of the mind, so room to throw some of that in).

News/Announcements / Re: Scheduled Downtime
« on: November 25, 2020, 04:37:48 pm »
Thank you both for your comments. Still working on contacting Sovin, but I'll be sure to bring it up.

News/Announcements / Re: Scheduled Downtime
« on: November 23, 2020, 09:09:30 pm »
New error, or at least newly discovered since I don't normally hit New Replies but clicked it on accident. Was redirected to this page:

Expression #1 of ORDER BY clause is not in SELECT list, references column 'saproduction.t.id_last_msg' which is not in SELECT list; this is incompatible with DISTINCT
File: /var/www/
Line: 1105

Note: It appears that your database may require an upgrade. Your forum's files are currently at version SMF 2.0.17, while your database is at version 2.0.4. The above error might possibly go away if you execute the latest version of upgrade.php.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
« on: November 09, 2020, 03:42:31 pm »
Hyperion by Dan Simmons (34)

Hmmm. You know what, it wasn't as good as I remembered. The first time I read it was something like 5 years ago, and what was a few hundred books ago, frankly fairly early on in my reading career (when judged by read count). So the reread was somewhat disappointing, not quite the incredible book I remembered. That said, its still a great book. The various pilgrims' stories are fun to listen to, though Simmons struggles with making interactions centered around romances any kind of believable.

The setting, the worldbuilding, remains the primary interest. Each individual story is largely interesting by itself, but it doesn't weave quite the cohesive narrative as I original remembered. Brawne Lamia's story is the weakest of the bunch, but it does work nicely to reveal aspects of the universe to the reader.

Altogether, its still one of my top scifi picks, but it might no longer remain at the top. We'll see how it goes with The Fall, and perhaps the rest of the Cantos.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
« on: November 04, 2020, 02:11:42 pm »
Yeah I think I'll wait for the 3rd release and read them together. Its not bad, and I still recommend fans of Abercrombie read it, but its a good thing this is the opening to the second trilogy rather than his debut novel.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2020
« on: November 03, 2020, 05:56:07 pm »
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie (33)

Abercrombie is a great character writer, I've got to give him that. A Little Hatred takes place maybe 20ish years after the events of First Law, which means that its largely a new cast of main characters. Its fun to see the old faces lurking in the background, bringing a nice nostalgia factor with it, while still allowing plenty of space for the young and reckless to take center stage. That said, I don't think its altogether his best work. Some scenes are fantastic, but there is not the same overall sense of awe that I had with The Blade Itself. Something is missing, though I can't honestly put my finger on it.

I'll be looking forward to reading the rest, but I'm not feeling an immediate need to start The Trouble With Peace.

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