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Author Topic: who's playing this game?  (Read 77495 times)
Baroness
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #150 on: 2005 August 11, 09:04:37 »
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Often too the initial query or problem has been answered and people riff on the themes that emerge. I love the thread about family names round the world as well as this book one.
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #151 on: 2005 August 11, 11:52:02 »
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Aside from all the other good reasons, I don't think you can really get very far off-topic in this thread anyway. Since it asks "who's playing this game", any answers from people here are good to go. Even the question about scientific vs. artsy could fit the bill. So far, with all the answers there is but one conclusion: it doesn't seem to matter much, it's more of a personal thing. And reading about peoples preferences, likes, and dislikes is somewhat related to that as well.

This is the way it works in real life. Whenever we come across a conversation we can't contribute to, we can either stop reading/listening or do the opposite and get educated/informed. Another indication that the TS2 is not very realistic. I have never (since being a grown-up) come across people who reacted so violently negative to topics of no interest to them as the pixel people do, and I've never seen an adult stick their fingers in their ears and act so childish, even in my profession. (It does however, somehow remind  me of the official technical support staff at the official site :D)

 I've been reading with great interest about people's reading preferences. I have very little time at the moment, and in the coming months I will have even less. I am an avid reader, but I lack the time to go and browse around in the library. There are some great suggestions here, keep 'em coming :D


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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #152 on: 2005 August 11, 12:15:50 »
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Have just begun reading the "Baroque Cycle - Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson, which I found quite accidently when perusing the SF - as you do. He's a good read and it's well written, though I did have a few difficulties with placing it in the genre the author wants for it as it seems rather more historical in nature.

Has anyone read Jasper Fforde and his "Tuesday Next" books. If you like Pratchett and Adams you should enjoy these. The man is a literary minefield and very clever. Funny, too.
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #153 on: 2005 August 11, 13:28:21 »
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"Snow Crash" is another good one by Stephenson, much more obviously scifi. I was very nearly put off by the fact that it's present tense and the first page reads like very over-the-top noir, but I made myself read a bit further in and found that the first page is silly on purpose, and the book quickly gets on with being near-future cyberpunk. The ending was pretty abrupt, though, which I've been told is a problem Stephenson has... it's kind of like the story fell off a cliff all of the sudden.
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veilchen
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #154 on: 2005 August 11, 13:44:50 »
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The ending was pretty abrupt, though, which I've been told is a problem Stephenson has... it's kind of like the story fell off a cliff all of the sudden.

Now that's the best description of it that I've ever heard. It really is rather like that... noted down for future use (if you don't mind ;D)

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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #155 on: 2005 August 11, 13:57:07 »
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Now that's the best description of it that I've ever heard. It really is rather like that... noted down for future use (if you don't mind Grin)

Cheesy By my guest!
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kim
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #156 on: 2005 August 11, 21:08:55 »
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i don't think a sci-fi collection can be complete without brian aldiss, john brunner and michael moorcock.  they opened up a lot of the mainstream space between, for instance, heinlein and stephenson.
about that same time, roger zelazny was making the world safe for trilogies of more than 3 volumes.
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Baroness
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #157 on: 2005 August 11, 22:23:56 »
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Speaking of cyberpunk, whatever happened to William Gibson, loved his books, haven't seen any for yonks for some reason.
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #158 on: 2005 August 12, 01:18:33 »
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In the case of this thread, where the initial premise was somewhat tenuous, I'd say the threadjacking involves sticking a hydraulic jack under it and raising it to a new level.

I don't think I've ever read anything by Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, or Michael Moorcock.  I can say, by that definition, that my science fiction collection is complete because there are books by these guys in my library, and I've even met a couple of them, but I don't recall having ever cracked the covers of their books.  Add William Gibson to that list, too.

Amusement: Science fiction bestsellers regularly outsell so-called mainstream bestsellers, but you'd never be able to tell that by reading the New York Times.

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veilchen
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #159 on: 2005 August 12, 01:34:20 »
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I don't ever go by any best-seller list. My interests are wide and varied, that is to say, I try to read just about anything. If I come across a book that doesn't start out well, I keep on reading because I'm hoping it'll get better; if it doesn't get any better, I get angry at myself for wasting my time, oh well...

Usually I go by recommendations, that's why I find this thread interesting.

Oh yeah, I don't read schmalzy, kitschy novels and I don't ever touch romance novels. I shall make a note to send those to Greg to help out with his Valentine's Day dilemma. Cheesy
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~All we have to do is remove those who oppose us.~ (Saruman, LotR)
~Wir sind die Roboter~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R23e9VO_vOI&feature=related
J. M. Pescado
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #160 on: 2005 August 12, 01:49:25 »
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The only Valentine's Day I celebrate is the massacre.
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #161 on: 2005 August 12, 01:56:57 »
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And that JM, is the only worthwhile event to celebrate on Valentine's Day. Especially since it's thugs wiping out thugs, and in such a spectacular fashion. :D
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~Having the last word is not all it's cracked up to be.~
~All we have to do is remove those who oppose us.~ (Saruman, LotR)
~Wir sind die Roboter~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R23e9VO_vOI&feature=related
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #162 on: 2005 August 12, 02:57:09 »
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Has anyone read Jasper Fforde and his "Tuesday Next" books. If you like Pratchett and Adams you should enjoy these. The man is a literary minefield and very clever. Funny, too.

I adore Terry Pratchett. He is one of very few authors who make me laugh out loud while reading. Generally when I have a new Pratchett book, my family thinks I've lost my mind as I am chuckling, giggling and guffawing as I read. "Interesting Times" is probably my favorite. "Death to our oppressors when convenient!" I need to reread that. I also love his collaboration with Neil Gaiman, "Good Omens". It's like Monty Python doing the Apocalypse.

This isn't SF, but anyone who enjoys a good laugh should read "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole. You should definitely read it if you've ever been to New Orleans, ever want to come to New Orleans, or are interested in our more colorful resident-types. I think I've read that book at least 6 or 7 times over the years and it still cracks me up every time.
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veilchen
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #163 on: 2005 August 12, 03:08:32 »
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Since I'm definitely interested in New Orleans (I wonder how come...do you wonder how come too, Reg?) I will get that book. Besides, I like your sense of humor, so I'm pretty sure the book holds what you promise.

My, I've got a lot of books to get tomorrow, I'm going to enjoy this weekend very much.
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~All we have to do is remove those who oppose us.~ (Saruman, LotR)
~Wir sind die Roboter~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R23e9VO_vOI&feature=related
kim
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #164 on: 2005 August 12, 05:07:37 »
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Speaking of cyberpunk, whatever happened to William Gibson, loved his books, haven't seen any for yonks for some reason.

http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/blog/2005_07_01_archive.asp

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Baroness
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #165 on: 2005 August 12, 05:29:08 »
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I don't think I've ever read anything by Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, or Michael Moorcock.  I can say, by that definition, that my science fiction collection is complete because there are books by these guys in my library, and I've even met a couple of them,

_jealous!_
and you design spaceships for a living - I haven't forgotten.
_jealous!__jealous!_

Brian Aldiss and Michael Moorcock write in a similar style, I have trouble reading either, though more success with Brian than Michael. I try Michael Moorcock about once a decade in the hopes I have got smart enough or mature enough to understand him.

I don't understand why science fiction is so hidden. Our local library stopped having a science fiction section about ten years ago. Looking for SF now is a dreary process of finding a little pegasus or saturn icon amongst the zillions of sherlock holmes, cross or heart icons liberally splattered everywhere. Then it's most likely a bloody sword and sorcery quantilogy or some pathetic fantasy about ordinary new york girl meets fairy. Like it would be hard to meet a fairy in NY! Tongue
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #166 on: 2005 August 12, 11:37:07 »
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I don't understand why science fiction is so hidden. Our local library stopped having a science fiction section about ten years ago. Looking for SF now is a dreary process of finding a little pegasus or saturn icon amongst the zillions of sherlock holmes, cross or heart icons liberally splattered everywhere. Then it's most likely a bloody sword and sorcery quantilogy or some pathetic fantasy about ordinary new york girl meets fairy. Like it would be hard to meet a fairy in NY! Tongue

I am at a loss to answer this. But you are absolutely right and I am sick of the stuff that passes for fantasy these days. The only fantasy author I read is Charles de Lint and his stuff is so bloody hard to get hold off I could run screaming into a bookshop with a machete. Oh, for a decent writer... (Donaldson is good if blacker than the bottom of a coal mine during an eclipse.)

Read Aldiss, Asimov, Blish, E.E. 'Doc' Smith (Triplanatary being the book to blame for my obsession with science fiction), and sooooo many others I've lost track. Read the odd bit of Greg Bear, some Gibson and a very good British author called Michael Marshall Smith (excellent premise in all of the novels), but made many more mistakes as witnessed by my bulging bookshelves. How about Julian May? Ann McCaffrey? Oh my, those dragons...don't ya just wish?
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Baroness
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #167 on: 2005 August 12, 12:06:10 »
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Was Donaldson the one that wrote that huge series about the leper bloke? Ah, that's it, Thomas Covenant. I kept reading thinking it would get better. Thomas whinged, moaned and bleated his way through a number of rather large books if I recall, it's been a few years...

PS Dragons, oh yes.

PPS Just read several Charles de Lint. He leaves me feeling just a little bit unsatisfied, like a mental orgasm that never arrives. Have you tried Robert Holdstock, he writes quite superior fantasy.
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laeshanin
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #168 on: 2005 August 12, 12:52:28 »
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 Cheesy That's him. Miserable sod with loads of attitude and hard-donebyedness (? heh) Will deff look out for Robert Holdstock, and give him a whirl.
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #169 on: 2005 August 12, 13:37:35 »
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For those looking for interesting fantasy, I recommend Patricia A McKillip. Less so anything written before 1990, although her Harpist series is decent - her writing took on a more distinct style by the time she wrote "The Sorceress and the Cygnet", and kept it. Her writing is dreamlike - reminds me at times of Bradbury - and her worlds... well, some of them are rather medieval, and there are some fantasy creatures, yet it's entirely different from your usual sword and sorcery fare.

Katherine Kerr's Deverry series is quite excellent. I've also heard good things about China Mieville, but I haven't read the book of his I have yet because it's a gift to myself for when I finally finish writing a particular manuscript. (Sigh, it's been four months already...)
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #170 on: 2005 August 12, 20:32:14 »
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Stephen R. Donaldson does have a large following of fans, among whose numbers you will not find me. Smiley

I've never tried reading romance novels, either, unless you count the works of Robert Heinlein and Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I've long been intrigued by them, though, because so many of my fellow SFWAns write romance n the side.  The "Regency Romance" seems to be all the rage.

Fantasy stories have been crowding SF off the shelves for quite some time now.  Even my brainchild, Norwescon, now bills itself as "an annual northwest science fiction and fantasy convention."  Like all children, it has departed quite widely from its parents' plans for its future.  There's a reason for this: for the run of the mill novels, fantasy outsells skiffy at least two to one.

I've never been very fond of Bradbury.  There's a certain artistic merit to his prose, but I have difficulty suspending disbelief to get into his flights of fancy.  My impression of Asimov is the opposite--he came up with a few really good plots and settings, but most of the time his execution of the stuff should have been executed.  But then, Asimov didn't write any of his stories.  He just blasted out an initial rough draft and left it to editors to write the complete story.

Amusing story: At the 1961 World Science Fiction Convention in Seattle, a shiny new writer walked up to Robert A. Heinlein, hoping to impress The Dean.  "My name is Harlan Ellison," he said.  "I've sold more than a million words of science fiction."

Without missing a beat, Heinlein responded in his deep baritone, "There aren't that many words in the English language, so you must have sold some of them more than once!"
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #171 on: 2005 August 12, 21:19:43 »
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For those looking for interesting fantasy, I recommend Patricia A McKillip. Less so anything written before 1990, although her Harpist series is decent - her writing took on a more distinct style by the time she wrote "The Sorceress and the Cygnet", and kept it. Her writing is dreamlike - reminds me at times of Bradbury - and her worlds... well, some of them are rather medieval, and there are some fantasy creatures, yet it's entirely different from your usual sword and sorcery fare.

Katherine Kerr's Deverry series is quite excellent. I've also heard good things about China Mieville, but I haven't read the book of his I have yet because it's a gift to myself for when I finally finish writing a particular manuscript. (Sigh, it's been four months already...)

I like McKillip too, another one I forgot earlier. Oh, and Ellen Datlow, and Tanith Lee.

 I got started by reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Loved it. Decided to try more sci fi. Got lucky. My next attempt was The Hitchhiker's Guide. Since, I've decided that sci fi is really good stuff. Fantasy, in my opinion is often better, but not always. I like the technology of sci fi but when I've read 20 pages of nothing but technical jargon with no plot, I start to get frustrated. I tend to go with fantasy more often because I still get that 'not quite real' story, without risking it being 80% jargon. Anyone ever read Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen? Kind of a chic thing (amazonish) but very good.

On the non sci fi front, anyone else like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig?
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #172 on: 2005 August 13, 21:11:18 »
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Well I'm certainly a science guy. I'm a vet doing my PhD in the Pharmacology laboratory, dabbling with DNA and doing research on poor, hapless albino rats (although I know that deep down they're the ones experimenting on me!).

Ever read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy et al? My favorite trilogy of five books!

A late answer, but an answer nonetheless (blame it on my vacations and my infrequent visits to netcafes!): yep! I'm not smart enough to come up with such a theory on my own!
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #173 on: 2005 August 16, 03:24:43 »
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... I like the technology of sci fi but when I've read 20 pages of nothing but technical jargon with no plot, I start to get frustrated...

There's a trick to writing really good SF, which Stanley Schmidt beat into my head during six rewrites of my story, "The Last Plague" before he would print it in Analog.  (Some of my writer buddies started calling it "The Last Rewrite"!)  You have to work through all the technical details and then leave 95% of it out of the story. 

Instead, show how the characters react to the stuff you've invented.  Now matter how much effort you've invested in getting the technical details right, the story is about the people, not the rivets.

Fantasy writers often make the same blunder with elaborate descriptions of social structures, spell-casting systems, family trees, and how castles are made.  Geez, folks, if you just want to bloat the word count, throw in a sex scene.
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Baroness
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Re: who's playing this game?
« Reply #174 on: 2005 August 16, 04:32:10 »
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So what have you written Greg and what's your handle as an author? I'm wondering if I've ever read anything of yours. If you don't mind me asking of course! Wink
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