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remotevoices
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Yeah Cloud Atlas was fine for me. Feersum Endjinn was fine for me (although I've heard others complain about it). I have no problem with dialect usually, as per my initial post.

 

Something about Ice Cream Star never gelled for me in all 600 pages though, which is why I thought it worth mentioning.

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Binti - Nnedi Okorafor - one of Tor's series of novella ebooks. Binti is a member of the Nigerian tribal Himba, a tribe who stick to their land and don't leave, who are regarded as peculiar for their beliefs and the fact that they use flower/clay concoction to clean themselves (due to shortage of water). Binti's family are technological experts, which is what leads her to being the first Himba to be offered a place at a university planet, the best in the universe. But her journey, already complicated by the repercussions of her rejection of her family's way, get much worse when the space ship she is on is taken by aliens. A curious story, I liked the characters and the sense of not entirely knowing how it was going to play out. The imagery of Binti and her attempts to retain her culture and how they contrast so much from her fellow humans, let alone the aliens she encounters. Quick and fun and surprising.

Edited by remotevoices
cause baws
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started a couple new reads

codex - lev grossman - the first novel by author of "the magicians" trilogy. picked this up in charity shop when i was in bristol. about 100 pages in. Edward Worzny is a 25 year old investment banker in New York, who has 2 weeks off work, before moving to London. He finds himself set up for his 2 weeks to do a favour for a client, but the processing of a historic library isn't what he expected. At first he is outraged, but gets sucked into the idea of a mysterious historic book, which maybe hidden in these crates..

 

house of shattered wings - aliette de bodard - despite the high profile this novel is receiving, being published in the UK and US by big (genre) publishers, this is actually her 4th novel, rather than début. Her previous novels having been published by Angry Robot. Aliette's work tends to be unconventional in numerous ways. She lives in Paris and is of Vietnamese heritage, both of which are reflected in this novel. She wanted to writer an urban fantasy and instead wrote a Gothic, turn-of-previous century urban fantasy - set in a Paris in the aftermath of a destructive magic war, with angels and Vietnamese immortals and the like. Just about to start reading, but I've been following the hype around the novel, and I've seen Aliette do readings a couple of times, including a selection from this book. Very curious to see how it works, though I've reasonably enjoyed everything else I've read by her.

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codex - i'd put it off for years, it was always in the literary section, while magicians is obviously in SFF, and it is about a banker, but read something that made me think might be interest. and i am actually enjoying, mix of mythical quest book and weird computer game as plot elements, without actually being SFF (yet).

 

lathe of heaven - i think this is one of her books i have sitting waiting to be read, i am really guilty of having only read a handful of short stories, despite her reputation as a great. certainly it is "left hand of darkness" that is sat within arms reach of where i'm sitting.

 

reamde - i know some folk give it a hard time, but i really enjoyed it. first thing i read on my kindle, because i just can't read his physical books. and yeah i saw flaws, but i just enjoyed it.

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Lathe is a really quick read and has that old school '60s looseness to it that I like a dose of now and then.  First Le Guin I've read since the Earthseas when I was a wee splitcoil.  So I've neglected her as well.  Went back to the used bookstore to clear out their Le Guin stock and they were all gone, so I got a Leiber I'd never heard of and the REAMDE.

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finished both "Codex" and "House of Shattered Wings".

codex is an odd one. funny to read an interview with grossman about the adaptation of magicians to tv, and how writing magicians came about from reading things like kelly link, american gods, strange & norrel and realising that was what he was working towards. codex being before that epiphany, it has weird grail references and historic mysteries, an undercurrent of a quest, a weird computer game that ties in coincidences and mythos. but really it is a banker, looking for a book, for rich people, watching his career maybe fall apart. it is an interesting read, but not necessarily revelatory or uplifting.

 

house of shattered wings is also an odd one. piecing it together, world war 1 happened but it was fought by angels and immortals and magic, and the results were devastation. how much time has passed is ambiguous, but i put it into the 1960s/70s, and the world hasn't improved. as aliette puts it herself: it is kind of like game of thrones in a post apocalyptic paris with vietnamese magic worked in. so there are powerful houses, most lead by Fallen (angels...), who play political games and murder games and just fuck with each other. this book follows house silverspires, morningstar's house, except morningstar has been gone for 20 years, and the arrival of a new fallen and a captured vietnamese man coincides with a plot to take the house down a peg...

 

started "magicians land" the last of grossman's magicians trilogy. been meaning to read for ages, but has remained expensive on both kindle and physical book. though it went to £4.99 over the holidays so i grabbed the ebook then. and bumped it up because i want to see how the trilogy ends and because of the TV adaptation, in case the series some how spoilers the book...

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Split, don't know if you've seen the TV adaptation of Lathe of Heaven that came out in 2002?  James Caan, Lukas Haas and Lisa Bonet all soundly and resoundingly acted off the screen by the awesome David Strathairn.  It has its moments...

 

Meanwhile I'm still working my way through the collected works of Leena Krohn and she just keeps getting better and better. 

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On 17/12/2015 at 11:16 PM, db said:

The Rhesus Chart, Stross. I would like to ask you residents of the British Isles whether you've heard/seen "coughed" where I would be used to seeing "copped" as in, admitted to doing something.

 

Stross told me it was a colloquialism on twitter when I asked him and his editor.

 

I have just never seen it in all my Brit reading, nor heard it. 

 

Aside from that, a fun read so far.

 

Yeah, 'coughed' I always think of a Metropolitan Police-ism. e.g. "We got 'im on the Supermarket job, and 'e coughed to the furniture store robbery and six others."

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I had a strong Le Guin phase in my twenties, after reading Earthsea and her early short stories (Wind's twelve quarters, Orsinian tales). I have all her books, I think, and her excellent translation of the Tao Te Ching was what finally pushed me into considering myself a cryptotaoist. Quality has gone down as she has aged, and some subjects become repetitive, but still, I have one whole shelf, over 20 books, devoted to her work.

 

I am finishing Voyage vers l'Ouest, a French version of the adventures of monk Tripitaka and his companion, specially the monkey king Sun Wukong, in traditional Chinese illustration.

 

To keep the French/Eastern set of mind I am also finishing Margerite Yourcenar's "Nouvelles Orientales", short tales set in imaginary Asia. Trying to keep my French polished as well.

 

I should start reading Shadows of the New Sun, a collection of short stories written as a homage to one of my favorite book series, but I am reluctant, as the bar is set too high. Meanwhile on the IPad I am slowly advancing through David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. The episodic nature fits well with the inconstancy of plane reading, but I am not sure my aging memory is up to the task of tracking all events and characters through intervening weeks. I do not really know what to think, but I want to keep reading. I may even start reading it at home.

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52 minutes ago, Psychophant said:

 

I am finishing Voyage vers l'Ouest, a French version of the adventures of monk Tripitaka and his companion, specially the monkey king Sun Wukong, in traditional Chinese illustration.

 

This, and the previously mentioned Les Trois Royaumes, look rich indeed. I can't find their equivalent in English. (Later) My... They are expensive, though!

I've got The Three Kingdoms in download form, unread. Must get around to it.

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just finished reading lev grossman's "the magicians land". wow. reading is a personal thing, an accumulative and ongoing journey, of where you were and who you were and all that. i enjoyed the first two, but i'm obviously in right frame of mind right now, because i loved this. been a while since i read the others, which may be a factor, or it may just be the best of the trilogy. quentin is rebuilding after the end of book 2, things haven't gone how he expected. but he is given an opportunity, a heist, a magical one - a talking black bird puts a crew of specialists together to steal an object from a bad ass pair of magicians. which of course goes horribly wrong, but gives him new goals, new tools, new mission. along the way i think everything that was important in the first two books is revisited, touched on, and quentin is shown to have grown from the 17 year old at the start of book 1 to a 30 year old man by the end of book 3. one of the particularly nice things is the introduction of the new character plum, she is just so much more fun that quentin was, and there are chunks where she is the pov character, which are really good reading, but also help show quentin from a new perspective.

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I am still mostly reading in French. After the almost naive fairytales (with a strong Mediterranean rather than the Far East, even if there are a couple of stories in China and Japan) of Yourcenar "Nouvelles Orientales", a darkish novella of one of my guilty pleasures, Amelie Nothomb, "Le crime du comte Neville", a Belgian reprise of Oscar Wilde's  "Lord Arthur's Savile crime", with some of her particular obsessions thrown in. A short easy read, and less focused in current culture, as the decadent aristocracy described is pretty far from what is common now. Weak, but it only took one hour off other books.

 

I have also been reading and rereading one of my Christmas gifts, a mix of graphic poetry, poetical illustrated prose, and heartbreak, "Qué hacer cuando en la pantalla aparece THE END" (What to do when on the screen appears THE END), by Paula Bonet. A book about those sudden endings that leave you lost in the middle of things, or those ones who linger on years after they should have been put to rest. Visually gorgeous.

 

paula-bonet-cuando-aparece-the-end.jpg

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feersum endjinn - iain m banks - as i said when we were talking about it previously i have this, it was very much to hand from my computer desk (which is surrounded by book shelves on all sides). so made a start with it. not so far into it. i often banks to be slow, building up momentum, world building on some level, working out where he is going. so, we'll see.

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the witch who came in from the cold - episode one. another serialbox serial, novellas, set in a shared world, by a team of authors. i read the first handful of "bookburners", this series shares max gladstone as one of the writers. but where he is the head writer on that project, one of the other writers takes lead here. though i think he wrote the first episode. anyway. prague 1970, cold war, cia vs kgb, or the magical forces of ice vs flame. tanya is kgb, and a witch for ice. she and her partner prevent a flame attack. meanwhile, gabe is cia, and something bad happened in cairo, so now in prague he is messing up... seems like a decent starting point. though bookburners was more immediate fun.

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Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear — Steampunk, which generally fails to engage me, and alas so did this. There are good parts, there are engaging characters, but overall it was too Anne McCaffrey-ish on some level. Young, plucky girl overcomes absolutely everything and knows a lot about horses besides.

 

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong — This one was a lot more my speed. Still young, plucky girl overcoming every-damn-thing but she was, for whatever reasons, a character I could identify a lot more with. Book didn't take itself too seriously either. Basically, imagine Las Vegas without the rules and with some crazy weaponized and media-addicted psychopaths running around in it trying to kill our heroine, who has involuntarily inherited a bunch of money and secrets, and you get the general idea.

 

The Pagan Night by Tim Akers — Read this one in a day. Lots of fun! As I posted on Twitter, this reminds me of the intrigue and large scale empire-wide movements that George RR Martin does but in a prose style thats enjoyable and doesn't make me want to physically hurl the book from my presence.

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