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  1. - Top - End - #301
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    Cristo Meyers's Avatar

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Check to see if you have Isard's Revenge before you go. That's book 8 in the series, and ties off some plots from the comic series.
    Yep. Got 5-8. Adumar must've slipped the net for some reason.

  2. - Top - End - #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Check to see if you have Isard's Revenge before you go. That's book 8 in the series, and ties off some plots from the comic series.
    How is the comic series, btw? Does it have anything that the novels don't? I plan to read it at some point regardless, but if there anything that id get out of it having already read the entire series?

    Also, what are your thoughts on Mercy Kill? I was so excited for that when it came out, and just felt immensely let down by it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cristo Meyers View Post
    Yep. Got 5-8. Adumar must've slipped the net for some reason.
    It was the only book that want really connected to the others, in the sense that you didn't really need to read any of the series to fully enjoy it. I don't know why, but that seems to have made it way too slip through the cracks for some people.
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    All hail the dragon.

  3. - Top - End - #303
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    It also came out a few years after the rest, so it got treated more as a standalone. Plus, they were well into their not-Borg series then.

    The comics were pretty good. Dark Horse made good use of the mini-arc structure to avoid problems typical of on-going series, while also allowing more development than you get with singles. It doesn't really interface much with the later novels, but does do a lot of background set up (Fall of Petsage and Rise of Isard, the Rebellion becoming a Republic, the Ciutric Hegemony and starting the whole Baron Fel thing).

    Plus, they're hellafun.

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    "Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars — Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."

    — The Nemedian Chronicles.

    Know, oh Playgrounders, that between the years I got the 1977 Dungeons & Dragons "bluebook" Basic Set, and the 1979 Dungeon Masters Guide, during the waning of the Carter Administration, I would go to the school library and pick through the Science Fiction section.

    I would start with Asimov and Bradbury, but I'd skip ahead (I had an ambition to read all of it) to read a title I recognized from comic books:

    Conan

    The first story I read in the collection wasn't by Robert E Howard, the original author of the Conan stories, but by someone else.
    if I remember right, Conan goes into a cave, finds a skeleton with a sword, takes the sword, and then fights the now animated skeleton.

    Of course I saw the movie a few years later, but except for Tower of the Elephant (a fine tale, that's in many anthologies), which I've read a few times, I really hadn't te-read the REH Conan stories as much as I have say Clarke, LeGuin, Leiber, Moorcock, or Tolkien, and the last REH story (non-Conan) I read in a decades old anthology, I thought, "This is what Hitler would write, if he became a pulp writer instead of a dictator!", so very "of-I'ts-time" it was (IIRC, it was a re-telling of "Beowulf", in a tropical jungle, with a blonde guy battling a giant snake), and I didn't seek more.

    But at a used bookstore this month, I came across some Conan books of the same vintage as the one I read in a school library in the 1970's, one of which is [I]Conan the Usurper, published in 1967
    Spoiler: Franzetta cover
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    Among two de Camp "revisions" are two Howard stories, including 1932's

    The Phoenix on the Sword

    which was the first Conan story, but it leaves out the preamble at the top of this post, and substitutes:

    Storming the capital city and slaying King Numedides on the steps of his throne-which he promptly takes for his own-Conan, now in his early or mid-forties, finds himself the king of the greatest of the Hypnotism nations.
    .....A king's life, however, proves no bed of houris.
    Within the year, the minstrel Ronald is chanting defiant ballads in praise of the "martyred" Numedides. Ascalente, Count of Thrune, is gathering a group of plotters to topple the barbarian from his throne. Conan finds that people have short memories, and that he, too, suffers from the uneasiness of head that goes with a crown.

    While the old book fits nicely in my pocket, like paperbacks used to!, unfortunately the small type, fading ink, and yellowed pages make it hard for me to read out of the sun by lamp-light, so I bought 2003's
    The Coming of Conan the Cimmerisn
    Spoiler: cover and two interior illustrations
    Show


    .



    which instead of in "character history order" like the old paperbacks, instead goes in order that the stories were written.

    After the preamble, Phoenix on the Sword begins with

    "Over shadowy spires and gleaming towers lay the ghostly darkness and silence that runs before dawn. Into a dim alley, one of a veritable labyrinth of mysterious winding ways, four masked figures came hurriedly from a door which a dusky hand furtively opened. They spoke not but went swiftly into the gloom, cloaks wrapped closely about them; as silently as the ghosts of murdered men they disappeared in the darkness. Behind them a sardonic countenance was framed in the partly opened door; a pair of evil eyes glittered malevolently in the gloom..."

    Spoiler: what happens
    Show
    Some conspirarors plot to kill the new King Conan, meanwhile a slave of the lead conspirator, "a somber giant who's dusky skin revealed his Stygian blood", "Thoth-Amon of the Ring" is moaning 'boat how he used to be "a great sorcerer in the south", and "controlled beings from outside which came at my call and did my bidding. By Set, mine enemy knew not the hour when he might awake at midnight to feel the aligned fingers of a nameless horror at his throat! I did dark and terrible magic with the Serpent Ring of Set, which I found in a nighter tomb a league beneath the earth, forgotten before the first man crawled out if the slimy sea.
    But a thief stole the Ring and my power was broken. The magicians rose up to slay me, and I fled. Disguised as a camel-driver, I was travelling in a caravan in the land of Koth, when Ascalante's reavers fell upon us. All in the caravan were slain except myself; I saved my life by revealing my identity to Ascalante and swearing to serve him. Bitter has been that bondage!

    "To hold me fast, he wrote of me in a manuscript, and sealed it and gave it into the hands of a hermit who dwells on the southern borders of Koth. I dare not strike a dagger into him while he sleeps, or betray him to his enemies, for then the hermit would open the manuscript and read—thus Ascalante instructed him. And he would speak a word in Stygia—"

    Again Thoth shuddered and an ashen hue tinged his dusky skin.

    "Men knew me not in Aquilonia," he said. "But should my enemies in Stygia learn my whereabouts, not the width of half a world between us would suffice to save me from such a doom as would blast the soul of a bronze statue. Only a king with castles and hosts of swordsmen could protect me. So I have told you my secret, and urge that you make a pact with me. I can aid you with my wisdom, and you can protect me. And some day I will find the Ring—"


    So the Baron who Thoth-Amon has been monologging to is all "Ring?",
    "That makes me remember—my ring of good fortune. I had it from a Shemitish thief who swore he stole it from a wizard far to the south, and that it would bring me luck. I paid him enough, Mitra knows. By the gods, I need all the luck I can have, what with Volmana and Ascalante dragging me into their bloody plots—I'll see to the ring."
    , and pulls it out, upon which Thoth is "Dude that's totally mine! Gimme!" (not Howard's words, I'm paraphrasing now).

    Meanwhile, Conan is in the castle painting on some northern places on a globe that doesn't have them yet, and moaning 'boat doing king stuff instead of axing people, while his right hand man is "Verily it sucketh to be ye, but your doing great at king-ing. Hey while you sit here, I'm gonna go get drunk and get some time with the ladies, oh by the way I'm totally bummed 'bout that they may be a conspiracy to off you!", and Conan's all, "Nah, no big, I'm totally okay with it, you go party" (not Howard's words).

    Conan sleeps, and has a dream in which:
    "he saw that he was in a great dark corridor that seemed to be cut in solid black stone. It was unlighted, but by some magic he could see plainly. The floor, ceiling and walls were highly polished and gleamed dull, and they were carved with the figures of ancient heroes and half-forgotten gods. He shuddered to see the vast shadowy outlines of the Nameless Old Ones, and he knew somehow that mortal feet had not traversed the corridor for centuries.

    He came upon a wide stair carved in the solid rock, and the sides of the shaft were adorned with esoteric symbols so ancient and horrific that King Conan's skin crawled. The steps were carven each with the abhorrent figure of the Old Serpent, Set, so that at each step he planted his heel on the head of the Snake, as it was intended from old times. But he was none the less at ease for all that.

    But the voice called him on, and at last, in darkness that would have been impenetrable to his material eyes, he came into a strange crypt, and saw a vague white-bearded figure sitting on a tomb. Conan's hair rose up and he grasped his sword, but the figure spoke in sepulchral tones...."
    , and bearded ghost king dude tells Conan, "Dude let me touch your sword", and Conan's "Sure, that's cool" (not Howard's actual words, but close). So ghost dude touches Conan's sword and puts a bird symbol on it (the "Phoenix on the Sword"), and Conan's all "whoa, can you monogram all my stuff? " (okay, nowhere near Howard's words).

    Conan wakes up, the conspirators rush in, Conan fights them off, breaks his sword, grabs an old ax off the wall, gets cut but fights on, then the lead conspirator:[I]
    "..even as he began his charge, there was a strange rushing in the air and a heavy weight struck terrifically between his shoulders. He was dashed headlong and great talons sank agonizingly in his flesh. Writhing desperately beneath his attacker, he twisted his head about and stared into the face of Nightmare and lunacy. Upon him crouched a great black thing which he knew was born in no sane or human world. Its slavering black fangs were near his throat and the glare of its yellow eyes shrivelled his limbs as a killing wind shrivels young corn.

    The hideousness of its face transcended mere bestiality. It might have been the face of an ancient, evil mummy, quickened with demoniac life. In those abhorrent features the outlaw's dilated eyes seemed to see, like a shadow in the madness that enveloped him, a faint and terrible resemblance to the slave Thoth-amon. Then Ascalante's cynical and all-sufficient philosophy deserted him, and with a ghastly cry he gave up the ghost before those slavering fangs touched him.

    Conan, shaking the blood-drops from his eyes, stared frozen. At first he thought it was a great black hound which stood above Ascalante's distorted body; then as his sight cleared he saw that it was neither a hound nor a baboon...."[/]

    Conan, fights the demon-thing with his ax, which doesn't do the job, then he switches to his broken sword that ghost king dude etched, and the demon-thing is killed and disappears like a staked vampire on Buffy, at which point right hand man and guards show up and right hand man says"

    "bind the king's wounds. He's like to bleed to death" while Conan is still conscious.

    The End


    Okay!

    Well, not as good a start as Catherine L. Moore's 1934 first Jirel of Joiry story:

    Black God's Kiss

    or Fritz Leiber's first Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story, 1939's

    Two Sought Adventure/The Jewels in the Forest,

    it was good enough for me to keep reading more.
    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all


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  5. - Top - End - #305
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    So I needed a small book I could easily take to work, and have been enthralled by a tale for the past few days. What tale?

    Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...
    Snazzy avatar (now back! ) by Honest Tiefling.

    RIP Laser-Snail, may you live on in our hearts forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  6. - Top - End - #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    What tale?

    Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...

    Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? Dave, I really think I'm entitled to an answer to that question....


  7. - Top - End - #307
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    [I]
    Well, not as good a start as Catherine L. Moore's 1934 first Jirel of Joiry story:
    Let's be honest though, does anything begin as well as Black God's Kiss? I mean the story makes Jirel having a tunnel to hell in her basement seem basically completely reasonable and obvious.

    Currently I'm combining James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small with Mercedes Lackey's first Valdemar trilogy. Finishing this damned Ph.D. is gonna kill me, so I might as well die while reading total comfort/absolute fluff.

    (The comfort is Herriot, which I've read so many times I know the entire course of every story in the book from basically the first sentence. Doesn't matter in the slightest, it's all marvelous)
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    ... Mercedes Lackey's first Valdemar trilogy. Finishing this damned Ph.D. is gonna kill me, so I might as well die while reading total comfort/absolute fluff.
    Arrow's...something, right?

    I think I had just about every Valdemar novel she wrote way back when. Part of me wonders if I could even get through them now, twenty years later.

  9. - Top - End - #309
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    I couldn't ten (no eleven) years ago. I suggest you don't try, just enjoy the memories.

    Besides, there's so much else to read!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristo Meyers View Post
    Arrow's...something, right?

    I think I had just about every Valdemar novel she wrote way back when. Part of me wonders if I could even get through them now, twenty years later.
    I mean, they're definitely not great. They are however a remarkably pure form of teenage girl escapist fantasy, in that within about thirty pages the main character gets picked by a super-magical beautiful horse and taken away to a place where everybody's like super-nice and cares about her and it turns out that she's super-special and everybody loves her just the best. I couldn't tell you what the central conflict of the novel is because I don't think there is one. Things occasionally happen, but are mostly handled by other people offscreen, so really it's just the protagonist being empathetic and this being the best thing ever.

    It's like if you took Tamora Pierce's Alanna novels and removed absolutely all the attitude and sharp edges. I mean it's so feel-good it's sort of remarkable. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't usually like it, but dear me is finishing a dissertation a stupid amount of work. So easy to read feel goodness is not such a bad thing at the moment.

    Really, about the most stand-out bit is the amount of attention paid to the fact that the protagonist vicariously experiences her super-special horse friend's frequent sexual escapades because they're telepathically linked. I have no idea why this is in the text, but it's brought up repeatedly. Apparently the author is deeply concerned that we know the protagonist gets HD horse boning streamed right to her brain on the regular, because surely this is a thing we all want?
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  11. - Top - End - #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    ......streamed right to her brain on the regular, because surely this is a thing we all want?



    Hands down the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

    Thank you so very much!

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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    I mean, they're definitely not great. They are however a remarkably pure form of teenage girl escapist fantasy, in that within about thirty pages the main character gets picked by a super-magical beautiful horse and taken away to a place where everybody's like super-nice and cares about her and it turns out that she's super-special and everybody loves her just the best. I couldn't tell you what the central conflict of the novel is because I don't think there is one. Things occasionally happen, but are mostly handled by other people offscreen, so really it's just the protagonist being empathetic and this being the best thing ever.

    It's like if you took Tamora Pierce's Alanna novels and removed absolutely all the attitude and sharp edges. I mean it's so feel-good it's sort of remarkable. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't usually like it, but dear me is finishing a dissertation a stupid amount of work. So easy to read feel goodness is not such a bad thing at the moment.
    That sounds pretty much like I remember the Arrows trilogy. It had pretty much all the hallmarks of a first published book. Lackey got better as time went on, but the central line pretty much stayed the same just with different flavors.

    Really, about the most stand-out bit is the amount of attention paid to the fact that the protagonist vicariously experiences her super-special horse friend's frequent sexual escapades because they're telepathically linked. I have no idea why this is in the text, but it's brought up repeatedly. Apparently the author is deeply concerned that we know the protagonist gets HD horse boning streamed right to her brain on the regular, because surely this is a thing we all want?
    And it never goes away. Any work that had the Heralds in it usually had at least one mention of the overly amorous horseflesh.

    I still have a soft spot for the Last Herald-Mage (Magic's Pawn/Promise/Price) trilogy and the Mage Wars (Black/White/Silver Gryphon) trilogy, but there's a reason the last time I read any of them was almost a decade ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post


    Hands down the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

    Thank you so very much!
    No kidding. I almost spit my drink all over the monitor.
    Last edited by Cristo Meyers; 2018-04-16 at 06:46 PM.

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    The only Valdemar story I remember particular details about is the one where the viewpoint character is a ire mage of some description that comes into his powers, learns basic control, and ****ING EXPLODES (and dies, naturally) by the end to wipe out an army or something. It stood out among the rest of the series, for sure.

    What I'm currently reading: Having finished the Reckoners trilogy (they get waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better after Steelheart, though the ending feels a smidgen rushed) I'm out of novels to read, so back to web fiction!

    This time it's A Practical Guide To Evil, which is quite interesting. I'm not very far in but there's been some excellent worldbuilding and characterization already.

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    Yesterday I finished The Princess Bride. This is one of the very few times I can say that the movie was better.

    The best part of the book was getting a little more background history on Inigo and Fezzik. Buttercup was unbearably annoying in the book, and most of the other characters were more or less unchanged.

    The main reasons why I think the movie is better are: 1) the excellent performances given by everyone in the cast, and 2) Goldman's whole "I am abridging the original S. Morgenstern, who spent hundreds of pages talking about crap that I'm going to cut out of the book here for you" doesn't really add anything to the experience. The movie does that better with the whole "Peter Falk reading to Fred Savage" thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
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    Finally got through the 1634 books, onto the 1635: The Cannon Law. The timeline of this series has become confusing due to the books overlapping, and there's a few jarring swings between "well researched analysis" and "just grab the pop-history notions" that I can't help noticing, but the series is holding up quite well overall. I'm particularly impressed with the ingenuity of the "down-timers", and France mass-producing more advanced weapons than the flintlock rifle-muskets that Americans supplied to Gustavus Adolphus was hilarious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post

    Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? Dave, I really think I'm entitled to an answer to that question....

    Yeah. It's so much better than the film, although that's partially because it explains quite a bit of the stuff that the film doesn't (the book gives a couple of the man-apes actual characters and explores their reactions to learning about tools a bit, to give one example). Only just got up to the famous HAL stuff, instead of just the journey to get the gravitational assist from Jupiter.

    Not that the film isn't a masterpiece, and I even understand stuff like leaving out the radiator arrays on Discovery (although I don't like it, and think that Discovery looks even cooler in the concept art that features them, I understand the reasoning). It's just the book is just as entertaining while giving enough of an explanation that you can understand the idea.

    It also makes me wish that there were more books that used hard science interplanetary travel. The fact that it takes Discovery about two years to get to Saturn* makes the story different (the main characters are very isolated, even if they can contact Earth, and interesting stuff can happen on the journey). While there's quite a bit of stuff that's laughable in the 'we expected this by 2001' way, there's little that isn't realistic (I like both the two stage spaceplane and Discovery as spacecraft, I like that Discovery has been designed to make the long periods in microgravity comfortable at the expense of the relatively short periods of acceleration, and I like the fact that space is vast).

    * Yeah, for everybody who didn't know they go to Saturn in the book, it's the reason Discovery doesn't have the fuel to go home by itself (it was designed to go to Jupiter, but the mission was changed to slingshot around Jupiter and go into a parking orbit around Saturn). I believe the book sequels use Jupiter, so the film is more canon than the book.
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    RIP Laser-Snail, may you live on in our hearts forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Continuing to slowly work my way through Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere stuff. Just finished The Way of Kings and wow was that a long book. Good, though.
    Last edited by rooster707; 2018-04-17 at 05:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    What this guy said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    Yesterday I finished The Princess Bride. This is one of the very few times I can say that the movie was better.

    The best part of the book was getting a little more background history on Inigo and Fezzik. Buttercup was unbearably annoying in the book, and most of the other characters were more or less unchanged.

    The main reasons why I think the movie is better are: 1) the excellent performances given by everyone in the cast, and 2) Goldman's whole "I am abridging the original S. Morgenstern, who spent hundreds of pages talking about crap that I'm going to cut out of the book here for you" doesn't really add anything to the experience. The movie does that better with the whole "Peter Falk reading to Fred Savage" thing.
    My feelings exactly.


    Just started on Olaf Stapledon's "Odd John". I'm only a few chapters in and so far it has a number of similarities to another of his works regarding overly smart animals, "Sirius". One thing I really like so far is the impression of otherworldliness and frustration a true supergenius would feel. We'll see if lasts, but given how good the other stuff of his I've read has been, I don't doubt he can pull it off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    Yesterday I finished The Princess Bride. This is one of the very few times I can say that the movie was better.
    ...
    The main reasons why I think the movie is better are: 1) the excellent performances given by everyone in the cast, and 2) Goldman's whole "I am abridging the original S. Morgenstern, who spent hundreds of pages talking about crap that I'm going to cut out of the book here for you" doesn't really add anything to the experience. The movie does that better with the whole "Peter Falk reading to Fred Savage" thing.
    Point two is why I actively disliked the novel, particularly given how it kept coming across as an abridgment of a much better book.

    On a different note, I'm currently reading Don Quixote, translated by Edith Blume. It's a masterpiece of a novel, and is probably my favorite classic, for all that I loved Water Margin.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  20. - Top - End - #320
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Finally got through the 1634 books, onto the 1635: The Cannon Law. The timeline of this series has become confusing due to the books overlapping, and there's a few jarring swings between "well researched analysis" and "just grab the pop-history notions" that I can't help noticing, but the series is holding up quite well overall. I'm particularly impressed with the ingenuity of the "down-timers", and France mass-producing more advanced weapons than the flintlock rifle-muskets that Americans supplied to Gustavus Adolphus was hilarious.
    I particularly liked the anvil that dropped in 1632 with that lesson engraved on it, with Balthazar Abrabanel innocently assuming that the up-time doctors are fluent in like five languages, because that's more or less required to be a medical professional in his era.

    "Did you think you were smarter than these people?"
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2018-04-22 at 11:12 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  21. - Top - End - #321
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    I particularly liked the anvil that dropped in 1632 with that lesson engraved on it, with Balthazar Abrabanel innocently assuming that the up-time doctors are fluent in like five languages, because that's more or less required to be a medical professional in his era.

    "Did you think you were smarter than these people?"
    A very nice summation. There's a similar moment (which I don't remember well enough to locate - these books meander enough that I'm having a hard time keeping track of who is supposed to be where doing what) in one of the 1634 books (I think it was probably The Ram Rebellion, but I'm not 100% sure) where one of the characters (I think it was the semi-revolutionary schoolteacher) explains that the up-timers aren't as big an influence as they think they are. The down-timer peasantry were perfectly acquainted with the ideas of standing up for themselves, and with the notion of rising against the nobles when things went too far - they didn't need the wisdom of the up-timers to figure that out. All the up-timers provided was the organizational ideas that give peasant rebellions a much higher chance of success.

  22. - Top - End - #322
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    A very nice summation. There's a similar moment (which I don't remember well enough to locate - these books meander enough that I'm having a hard time keeping track of who is supposed to be where doing what) in one of the 1634 books (I think it was probably The Ram Rebellion, but I'm not 100% sure) where one of the characters (I think it was the semi-revolutionary schoolteacher) explains that the up-timers aren't as big an influence as they think they are. The down-timer peasantry were perfectly acquainted with the ideas of standing up for themselves, and with the notion of rising against the nobles when things went too far - they didn't need the wisdom of the up-timers to figure that out. All the up-timers provided was the organizational ideas that give peasant rebellions a much higher chance of success.
    I'd say "sprawling" would be a better term, since you've reached the cutoff point - 1634 - where the series really starts branching out. Each subset of novels is essentially a series in its own right, following one particular group of characters in a specific area/region. Trying to read completely chronologically, like all of the "1635 : The Location Noun", then proceeding to all the "1636: The Region Verb", you'll be very likely to get confused or lose track of who's doing what where and when, unless you're exceptionally good at remembering small details. Probably better to decide which subset of the immense cast you like best, then read their particular plotline through to the latest book before going 'back' to the branch point and following a different arc. If you don't like the cast - say, if you find Frank, Gerry, and Sharon to be insufferably boring protagonists - you can ignore future books in that arc and pick up the key events from offhand mentions in other plots that care about it.

    As an aside, what elements of 'pop history' did you notice? The only one that comes to mind for me is embracing the idea that Shakespeare didn't actually write the plays attributed to him.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2018-04-23 at 12:26 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  23. - Top - End - #323
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    Question Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quick question. does anyone else read comics on webtoons? and if so whats your favorite? i think the best one ive found so far is probably The strange tales of Oscar Zhan.

  24. - Top - End - #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    As an aside, what elements of 'pop history' did you notice? The only one that comes to mind for me is embracing the idea that Shakespeare didn't actually write the plays attributed to him.

    Unfortunately, detail on what I'm noticing with this would probably stray into moderation territory. These bits are growing smaller as I go on, and have disappeared from the Flint written sections almost completely, so it isn't a huge deal.

    I'm not too afraid of losing track of the characters while reading, although it is rather obnoxious to go from a Major Event like the conclusion of The Cannon Law to whatever The Dreeson Incident is. Until I've read a series two or three times, I often get a little fuzzy trying to think back on it, of course.

  25. - Top - End - #325
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurulian View Post
    Quick question. does anyone else read comics on webtoons? and if so whats your favorite? i think the best one ive found so far is probably The strange tales of Oscar Zhan.
    Kubera, Tower of God. Magician, Dice, and The Gamer until I got bored/confused. Soul Cartel until it ended (well after I got bored, tbh). Ability until it was scrapped. Couple of transplants from DeviantArt - SIN, Finding Gossamyr. Kubera's definitely my favorite, but as you can see, I'm pulling from a pretty narrow slice of the medium. I'll give Oscar Zahn a go at some point.

  26. - Top - End - #326
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    I continue to read the second Heralds of Valdemar novel very slowly. It continues to have no dramatic tension whatsoever. Occasionally it sets up something that could cause some sort of tension or conflict, but then immediately heads that off. For instance the princess-to-be gets all upset because she hasn't been chosen by a Magic Special Perfect Horsie yet, and feelings and also can't become the actual heir until so chosen. There's possible political and personal consequences, and an actual plot is threatening to develop. But then - shock! - she's chosen by a Magical Special Perfect Horsie on the next page.

    (It's also an extra special Magical Special Perfect Horsie, so special in fact that all the other Magical Special Perfect Horsies mind-wiped everybody into not realizing just how special it is. I look forwards to there being absolutely no negative consequences of this, and everybody deciding this was for the best and talking about how great this is.)

    Or our heroine's best friend comes back with a nasty case of PTSD from nearly dying after falling off a mountain. Fortunately she's just so good at empathetic magic that she cures him in about a paragraph! Crisis averted! I mean a story about, basically, a magical therapist could pretty interesting, but that might actually contain unpleasantness.

    So since the book lacks a plot, or conflict, what does it have instead? Well there's frequent reminders of just how awesome the heroine is, and how her only flaw is not understanding how awesome she is. Also frequent reminders of just how awesome it is to have a Magical Special Perfect Horsie, even though they don't seem to actually do anything except occasionally mindwiping everybody. It also spends time on parties, which are just the best and most intimate and perfect parties ever because everybody's in perfect fellowship since they are all just the best people and have just the best Magical Special Perfect Horsies together and way better than normal person parties.

    It's really sort of remarkable. If it was anything less than 100% in earnest about the whole thing, there's absolutely no way it would work at all. But as it is, it's simply impossible to dislike because it's basically the adorable puppy taking a nap in the sunshine of novels.
    Last edited by warty goblin; 2018-04-23 at 04:49 PM.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  27. - Top - End - #327
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Unfortunately, detail on what I'm noticing with this would probably stray into moderation territory. These bits are growing smaller as I go on, and have disappeared from the Flint written sections almost completely, so it isn't a huge deal.

    I'm not too afraid of losing track of the characters while reading, although it is rather obnoxious to go from a Major Event like the conclusion of The Cannon Law to whatever The Dreeson Incident is. Until I've read a series two or three times, I often get a little fuzzy trying to think back on it, of course.
    The Dreeson Incident is the book I tend to forget about because nothing important happens in it until the very end. I think its technically part of the Ram Rebellion/Tangled Web plotline.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  28. - Top - End - #328
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Reading (well listening to audio book of) "Whaling Will Never Do For Me" and it's great insight for the next game I'm writing, which is about historical whaling. The narrator is a bit mechanical, making odd pauses, but the content is useful.

  29. - Top - End - #329
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Finished 2001, finally (really great, but it just got hard to read after Saturn for some reason), and I've decided to try Cory Doctorow, beginning with 'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom'.

    Didn't realise the Magic Kingdom was relayed to Disney World before reading it, never been (been to Disneyland as a kid, due to having grandparents who live about a day's drive from or). But it's fun, and actually feels like an attempt to explore human nature in regards to evolving technologies (or at least more than many SF novels come off as). Everybody who had a problem with Whuffie probably starved to death.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  30. - Top - End - #330
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Last Shot just got in. I'm excited for it. Also, they could have done better with that damn sticker on the cover. If you put a sticker on paper make it an easy to remove sticker that won't leave crap behind! I was planning on having the Lando side of the cover out, since it looks better, but it would still be nice to not have crap on the Solo side.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2018-04-29 at 04:47 PM.
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