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About Plessiez

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  • Birthday 10/26/1984

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  1. I thought Europe in Autumn was fun (though not remarkable) before the late book plot reveal, but I'm not really sure how I feel about it after that reveal. To me, it took something away from the setting of the rest of the book. I'm not sure how much of a hurry I'm in to read the next two books in the sequence, though I've heard people say nice things about them both.
  2. I agree that MVL would probably have been a more deserving winner, but I'm very happy that Aronian won. Hope MVL can get to the Candidates too, though I'm not sure what his chances are. (Pretty pleased with the result of the other semi-final too, actually.)
  3. It's been a quiet month, but I finished Kay's Children of Earth and Sky. I quite liked it -- and it was fun spotting the callbacks to the Sarantine Mosaic -- but I thought the last couple of hundred pages were a little bit disappointing.
  4. Azmaiparashvili's ongoing involvement in chess, at any level, is pretty depressing. Hmm. Let's go with: Bu - Svidler MVL - Grischuk QF1: MVL - Bu Ivanchuk - Giri Aronian - Dubov QF2: Aronian - Giri Jobava - So Fedoseev - Rodshtein QF3: So - Fedoseev Najer - Rapport Ding Liren - Wang Hao QF4: Wang Hao - Rapport
  5. Yeah, Kasparov did slightly better overall than I was expecting, especially on the last day of the blitz. A shame he had such bad time management in the earlier rounds. Focusing on more recent events: It seems slightly odd to me that the World Cup (whose main purpose for existing at this point, surely, is as a qualifier for the Candidates) is open to both Carlsen -- who can't qualify for the Candidates unless somebody left a very big loophole in the regulations -- and Karjakin, who already has qualified. I think FIDE should either have the World Cup be a stand-alone event, unconnected to the World Championship cycle entirely (which would be my preference), or change the rules to stop people who have already qualified from being able to interfere with the qualification process. Though I guess a counter-argument is that, as long as players can qualify by rating, it's going to be impossible to prevent already-qualified players from having an impact on the qualification process at some level. Bring back Zonals and Interzonals!.
  6. Just finished The Stone Sky today -- I thought it was a great conclusion to the trilogy. .
  7. I think Kasparov's going to do really badly in the St Louis Rapid & Blitz part of the Grand Chess Tour. (And I guess that's not a controversial opinion.) Although given the form So and Nakamura seem to be in right now, maybe he'll not do quite as badly as I've have guessed when it was first announced that he'd be taking part... In hindsight, I wonder if Kasparov regrets resigning at the age he did. Could he have lasted long enough to win back a re-unified world title, or was his retirement one of the factors that made the reunification effort successful? I've not had time to follow chess much recently, but it's been nice to see Aronian playing well again over the last few months (he's even back up number two in the live rating list as I write this, I see). I'd like to see him get one last chance to qualify for a World Championship match -- is that still possible this cycle?
  8. I read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer last week, and liked it quite a bit although I'm not sure I'll be in any rush to read the next two books in the trilogy.
  9. I liked these books a lot, but I can definitely see that they're not for everyone. (Though I thought one of the other people who liked it would have posted by now...) While I agree Mycroft is somewhat similar to Zakalwe, I'd imagine his politics would put him on pretty much the opposite side of the Culture... The Banksian character Mycroft most reminded me of was actually (spoilers for an early Iain Banks book): Well, I think the books are definitely not set in any sort of utopia. I don't think this is even meant to be that ambiguous: within a few chapters of the first book we learn that the world has: a large class of people who have been sentenced to forced-labour for life (under threat of starvation), a police force answering to an unelected government who routinely track people's location and biometric data, very restrictive laws / cultural norms limiting freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. . And that's before we learn about... I saw Yoon Ha Lee, in one of the pieces linked to at the end of the essay LV posted above, refer to the future of Terra Ignota as 'a dystopia telling itself it was a utopia' and I think I'd agree with that. Though I have a feeling that Palmer didn't intend to make it quite as unambiguously a dystopia as I thought it was. But I could be wrong about that: I've tried to avoid reading too much authorial comment on it before I've read the third/fourth books. (As for the essay itself, I don't really have much to say other than that I agree with Yoon Ha Lee's indirect response.)
  10. Watership Down is the first book that came to mind for me; I think this was one of first real books I ever read (perhaps even the first, though this seems unlikely now). I certainly saw the film at a much younger age than seems sensible. I also remember reading A Wizard Of Earthsea (as well as its first two sequels), The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and both the Narnia books and the The Dark Is Rising series. (I probably also read some children's / young adult stuff that was written in the actual decade I grew up, but it doesn't seem to have made much of an impression if so...)
  11. Will definitely try Replay at some point soon then, thanks. Oh, yes, I've read A God In Ruins too; I thought it was very well done but but it's an incredibly bleak novel in a way that the first book never really seemed to be. (I've tried a couple of Atkinson's other books and found them pretty depressing too.)
  12. I've not read Replay (should I?) so the book I found myself comparing this to was Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. Like Harry, the protagonist of that book lives a life in early twentieth century England over and over again, though they don't (at first) remember one life in the next. And while I agree that the framing device of the book is very good, I suspect the mechanics of changing time lines and interacting ouroborans doesn't really stand up to scrutiny if you look at it too closely. It's certainly a fun book though.
  13. Yeah, I'd post in a Too Like The Lightning spoiler thread. (Or maybe a general series thread, for those of us who've read Seven Surrenders as well.)
  14. So, yeah, this was really good. I don't know enough about colonial American history to have any idea if it's historically accurate (I had the vague feeling that some of the parallels seemed a bit too on the nose, if that makes sense), and my gut feeling at the moment is that I like Red Plenty a little bit more, but this was certainly one of the better things I've read this year. .I really didn't like this though. Which I could probably have guessed in advance (I dislike Bakker's stuff quite a lot, I had mixed feelings about Richard Morgan's fantasy series, and so on) but several people have said good things about it (both here and elsewhere). It's just not really my sort of thing, I guess. It's definitely well-written (for the most part -- there's some slightly jarring first-person-perspective stuff that I don't really see the point of), and the middle third especially is pretty gripping. But ultimately, it just felt like lots of horrible stuff happening to horrible people for no particular reason, which isn't really what I want out of fiction.
  15. Two thirds of the way to my target now. Since my last update: 38) Death's End (Cixin Lie; translated by Ken Liu) 39) City Of Stairs (Robert Jackson Bennett) 40) The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet (Becky Chambers) 41) A Closed And Common Orbit (Becky Chambers) 42) Full Fathom Five (Max Gladstone) 43) Four Roads Cross (Max Gladstone) 44) On A Red Station, Drifting (Aliette de Bodard) 45) The Delirium Brief (Charlie Stross) 46) Public Library and Other Stories (Ali Smith) 47) The Court Of Broken Knives (Anna Smith Spark) 48) Golden Hill (Francis Spufford) Will post thoughts on the more recent of these in the July reading thread. For my subgoals, I've read 38 different authors (aiming for 52), 22 authors I've never read anything by before (beating my target of 20) and I've read 4 short story collections (aiming for 6).