What are you reading?

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thoreau
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by thoreau » 04 Sep 2018, 11:32

"Well, none of the characters are acting like it's NBD, that they're practically bouncing off walls as they make proclamations, so I guess we're not in an Asimov story."

"Hey, there's a guy with a long digression on how to eat cereal and why it comports with a meticulously-developed in-world system of philosophy. Maybe we're in a Neal Stephenson story?"
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Ellie
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Ellie » 04 Sep 2018, 12:07

I would too! That sounds awesome.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 04 Sep 2018, 18:30

If I come back to the idea and make anything of it, I'll let y'all know. :)

While I was thinking of making the puzzle more whose species, I do promise not to make the punchline: "I dunno, probably some random teenage amateur, like 'Eye of Argon'?" "Yeah, probably. Well...who's up for shuffleboard?"
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Painboy
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Painboy » 05 Sep 2018, 16:54

If you want to get really meta the characters could refer back to a story that sounds suspiciously like this one, written by someone who sounds suspiciously like the author.

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Jennifer
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jennifer » 05 Sep 2018, 17:10

I read Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, which surprisingly was far less silly than it sounds. It is actually "realistic" in the way that certain Harry Turtledove fantastic alt-histories are "realistic" -- as in, of course it's inherently silly to think "Imagine World War Two -- only if aliens invaded our planet halfway through!" or "World War Two -- only with magic instead of science powering these new weapon inventions" ... but IF you suspend your disbelief enough to accept this premise, what follows does not require any further suspension.

Likewise, IF you accept the premise "So, what if vampires really have existed all along," the rest of ALVH makes sense without further suspension of disbelief: well, then, of course many vampires would support slavery and the Confederacy, if for no other reason that to make it easier for them to feed on human beings WITHOUT fear of human law-enforcement authorities taking an interest. And of course at least some vampires would try to be "moral" about it: "I must kill humans to keep my own self alive ... but I will only kill humans who are evil, or already close to death anyway. Feeding on innocents and children is beyond the pale and I oppose my fellow vampires who do this."
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thoreau
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by thoreau » 05 Sep 2018, 17:10

Painboy wrote:
05 Sep 2018, 16:54
If you want to get really meta the characters could refer back to a story that sounds suspiciously like this one, written by someone who sounds suspiciously like the author.
Stephen King basically did that in books 6 and 7 of Dark Tower. It was...well, it was something.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 05 Sep 2018, 19:47

The Show That Never Ends by David Weigel
Aside from the introduction it's bone dry. Reads like a high school history book. I got as far as Dark Side of the Moon and gave up on it.
Maybe if you were a more informed prog rock fan than I, with a vast collection of music, and a thorough knowledge of the members of each band, when they joined, when they left, and their contributions in between, you might get something out of it.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 05 Sep 2018, 20:37

thoreau wrote:
05 Sep 2018, 17:10
Painboy wrote:
05 Sep 2018, 16:54
If you want to get really meta the characters could refer back to a story that sounds suspiciously like this one, written by someone who sounds suspiciously like the author.
Stephen King basically did that in books 6 and 7 of Dark Tower. It was...well, it was something.
The only problem is it goes against the fairly standard premise that a work of futuristic fiction doesn't exist in the back-history of that fiction. The "Nobody ever looks at a Starfleet officer who's time-traveled to the present day and asks them if they're a Trekkie" thing.

I might have someone bring it up as a blind alley; otherwise, everyone could just do a search for the names of other species and find the story in their Great Corpus of All Their Species' Literature phone apps.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

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JD
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JD » 07 Sep 2018, 12:52

Eric the .5b wrote:
30 Aug 2018, 22:49
In shorter material, the other day I bit the bullet and read Three Worlds Collide, a free novella by Eliezer Yudkowsky that's a vaguely retro-40s science fiction story with the most absurdly contrived set of ethical dilemmas (and responses to them) that I can easily think of.
In a weird bit of synchronicity, I just ran across a reference to a story in which humans deal with alien (kind of) diplomats who...you guessed it, eat babies.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 07 Sep 2018, 18:54

JD wrote:
07 Sep 2018, 12:52
Eric the .5b wrote:
30 Aug 2018, 22:49
In shorter material, the other day I bit the bullet and read Three Worlds Collide, a free novella by Eliezer Yudkowsky that's a vaguely retro-40s science fiction story with the most absurdly contrived set of ethical dilemmas (and responses to them) that I can easily think of.
In a weird bit of synchronicity, I just ran across a reference to a story in which humans deal with alien (kind of) diplomats who...you guessed it, eat babies.
Pity that I can't easily find it online. It's like looking up a book and realizing that there's no ebook version; that startling realization that not everything is digitized.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

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JD
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JD » 27 Sep 2018, 10:43

I'm browsing The Battles of George S. Patton's Lowest Ranks. It's a series of recollections by men who served in Patton's Third Army in the late stages of WWII, and it is (as the title implies) written from a worm's-eye view. No grand sweeping strategic epics here; these are about guys getting drafted when they couldn't speak any English at all; supply trucks being driven by soldiers who had literally only learned to drive twenty-four hours earlier; men whose entire training on the mortar consisted of "This is a 60mm mortar. Now, onto the next subject..." being told they were now mortar crewmen; four-day cross-country journeys on boxcars so cramped everyone couldn't even lie down at the same time; and always mud, chaos, and exhaustion. The book is self-published, so the editing is pretty iffy, but in a way that works for this book - it's like hanging out with a bunch of old veterans and hearing their stories.
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JasonL
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 02 Oct 2018, 10:38

Audible of "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Truth Behind the Nordic Miracle" - Michael Booth is way better than I thought based on a terrible title. For one, it's very funny in a British observer of the cold peoples sort of way. For another, I thought it was going to be a nitpicking of low hanging fruit against utopian claims, and there's not much of that. The author is actually fond of the societies in question and how they allocate resources, but there are things to talk about. Sitting atop all the happiness rankings are the Danes, and you look at their economy and it appears not to be doing too bad with a medium large national debt. Peek under the covers and you see horrifying levels of personal debt though - nearly 300% of income compared to US levels at like 110%. They have adapted to the highest taxes in the world with fairly extreme personal borrowing habits.

He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.

Pretty good.

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JD
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JD » 02 Oct 2018, 11:15

JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.
There's a reason it was a Danish/Norwegian author who described the Law of Jante. A Swedish-American friend described Sweden to me as "Everyone earns $40,000 a year, everyone pays 40% taxes, and there aren't even any stoners."
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 02 Oct 2018, 12:22

JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
Audible of "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Truth Behind the Nordic Miracle" - Michael Booth is way better than I thought based on a terrible title. For one, it's very funny in a British observer of the cold peoples sort of way. For another, I thought it was going to be a nitpicking of low hanging fruit against utopian claims, and there's not much of that. The author is actually fond of the societies in question and how they allocate resources, but there are things to talk about. Sitting atop all the happiness rankings are the Danes, and you look at their economy and it appears not to be doing too bad with a medium large national debt. Peek under the covers and you see horrifying levels of personal debt though - nearly 300% of income compared to US levels at like 110%. They have adapted to the highest taxes in the world with fairly extreme personal borrowing habits.

He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.

Pretty good.
Denmark has a population of what? five? six? million? Deep diving into their economy and social norms may be interesting, but I don't think it's large enough to take away any general conclusions.
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JasonL
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 02 Oct 2018, 12:51

It covers the whole region : Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland. Sweden about 10M, Denmark, Finland, Norway each about 5.5M. Iceland tiny at like 350K.

It’s reasonable to ask questions about commonalities and “the miracle” with that sample size.

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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 02 Oct 2018, 19:57

JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.

There are "anti-consumerism" types who would fucking love it in a Puritan colony.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

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thoreau
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by thoreau » 02 Oct 2018, 20:06

Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
There are "anti-consumerism" types who would fucking love it in a Puritan colony.
Hey! From what I've read by Richard Hofstadter and David Hackett Fischer, I might kind of like it in a Puritan colony!

(Well, not the "No modern pharmaceuticals" part, nor the "limited library facilities" part. But the work ethic, low crime rate, and attitude toward learning all sound pretty sweet!)
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 02 Oct 2018, 20:08

Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.

There are "anti-consumerism" types who would fucking love it in a Puritan colony.
There was a subset of youth in the 60's that went around toting Mao's little red book dressed in the official Chi Com drab garb complete with hat. That set them off from their tie died peers.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Aresen » 02 Oct 2018, 20:21

Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.

There are "anti-consumerism" types who would fucking love it in a Puritan colony.
No, they would not. They just disapprove of other people liking things that they do not and having the option to choose the polyester sweater that costs $10 over their $145 pure wool sweater (hand-carded, of course).
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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 02 Oct 2018, 20:48

Aresen wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 20:21
Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.

There are "anti-consumerism" types who would fucking love it in a Puritan colony.
No, they would not. They just disapprove of other people liking things that they do not and having the option to choose the polyester sweater that costs $10 over their $145 pure wool sweater (hand-carded, of course).
Maybe don't make a stupid generalization when you're unfamiliar with the specific genus of lefty critter I'm referring to.

Yes, yes they would. There are people who want everyone to have to wear the $5, slightly irregular, sweater that they find satisfactory.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

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Aresen
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Aresen » 02 Oct 2018, 21:17

Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 20:48
Aresen wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 20:21
Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
JasonL wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 10:38
He finds "hygge" - the danish national view of community based cozy times (yes for real) - kind of horrifying in practice. There is intense social conformity pressure.

It is kind of interesting to hear in some detail what life is like - how nationalistic many of these places are, how "cohesiveness" is obtained and what the costs are.
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.

There are "anti-consumerism" types who would fucking love it in a Puritan colony.
No, they would not. They just disapprove of other people liking things that they do not and having the option to choose the polyester sweater that costs $10 over their $145 pure wool sweater (hand-carded, of course).
Maybe don't make a stupid generalization when you're unfamiliar with the specific genus of lefty critter I'm referring to.

Yes, yes they would. There are people who want everyone to have to wear the $5, slightly irregular, sweater that they find satisfactory.
You're right they do exist. But they usually metamorphose into the type I describe after the second winter in the commune. :lol:
If Trump supporters wanted a tough guy, why did they elect such a whiny bitch? - Mo

Those who know history are doomed to deja vu. - the innominate one

Never bring a knife to a joke fight" - dhex

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JD
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JD » 04 Oct 2018, 12:03

Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.
I've read similar things about the Finnish (I think) "baby box" that all families get upon the birth of a new child. I can kind of get some of the positivity about feeling that even the poorest children in society are welcomed and get the same sweater and books etc. as the richest, but some people went in a whole creepy direction with it, like "It's great that every child born in the same year is wearing the exact same thing!"
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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 04 Oct 2018, 19:09

JD wrote:
04 Oct 2018, 12:03
Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 19:57
I'm vaguely reminded of a lefty piece on living in Iceland back in the 90s. The writer was unwholesomely fascinated by the uniformity of things. How great and soothing it was that there was only one brand of everything in the stores. Even how similar everyone looked, which hit the point of creepiness.
I've read similar things about the Finnish (I think) "baby box" that all families get upon the birth of a new child. I can kind of get some of the positivity about feeling that even the poorest children in society are welcomed and get the same sweater and books etc. as the richest, but some people went in a whole creepy direction with it, like "It's great that every child born in the same year is wearing the exact same thing!"
Yes. I've encountered that.

It might not be too far off from the people who miss a more unified pop culture.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

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Eric the .5b
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 12 Oct 2018, 21:48

I've read a lot of more novels in the last four years or so than in the decade prior, thanks to ebooks on my phone and tablet, and, eventually, Kindle.

A lot of them have ended up series fiction, mainly because I decided to do urban fantasy for one NaNoWriMo and decided to do a survey of the better-rated works of the genre (and have been working down those purchases ever since). So, I hit a few novels by Seanan McGuire and started working through those series.

Series. The woman has eight distinct series of novels, two under another name on the basis that they're more horror-oriented. She's written 30 novels in the last 9 years and just hit age 40. The fuck. At the rate she's going, she'll actually pass Isaac Asimov on novels written by the time she's 50. (Mind, she's not writing a slew of nonfiction, like he was.)

Which got me wondering what writers put out the most novels, specifically, but that's an oddly hard thing to look up, since every list of prolific writers I look at includes all works.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

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Jadagul
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jadagul » 12 Oct 2018, 22:13

Eric the .5b wrote:
12 Oct 2018, 21:48
I've read a lot of more novels in the last four years or so than in the decade prior, thanks to ebooks on my phone and tablet, and, eventually, Kindle.

A lot of them have ended up series fiction, mainly because I decided to do urban fantasy for one NaNoWriMo and decided to do a survey of the better-rated works of the genre (and have been working down those purchases ever since). So, I hit a few novels by Seanan McGuire and started working through those series.

Series. The woman has eight distinct series of novels, two under another name on the basis that they're more horror-oriented. She's written 30 novels in the last 9 years and just hit age 40. The fuck. At the rate she's going, she'll actually pass Isaac Asimov on novels written by the time she's 50. (Mind, she's not writing a slew of nonfiction, like he was.)

Which got me wondering what writers put out the most novels, specifically, but that's an oddly hard thing to look up, since every list of prolific writers I look at includes all works.
And then you also get into questions of wordcount.

Sanderson puts out 1-2 novels a year, but that underrates his prolixity: often one of them will be 300-400k words.

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