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About Plessiez

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  • Birthday 10/26/1984

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  1. Plessiez

    First Quarter 2019 Reading

    I didn't read much fiction in 2018 (or at least I didn't finish much) but I''m going to make a bit more of an effort to do so this year. To start the year I'm hoping to complete the following this month: Hunger (Elise Blackwell) The Last Days of New Paris (China Mieville) New York 2140 (Kim Stanley Robinson) The Sea Watch (Adrian Tchaikovsky) Jerusalem Poker (Edward Whittemore) Alif the Unseen (G. Willow Wilson) Like everyone else, it seems, I'm reading something by Tchaikovsky. I think I read the first five Shadows of the Apt books over the first half of 2017 then took a bit of a deliberate break; I'm going to try to finish this series this year if I can. I'd guess lots of Shadows of the Apt was written (in some form) before Empire in Black and Gold was published, so perhaps the speed at which those books came out doesn't reflect the speed at which they were written.. But even if so, I'm also pretty surprised to learn that Tchaikovsky has a day job to quit.
  2. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Carlsen is obviously an incredibly strong player, but (given that) he's a pretty underwhelming world champion and really not that good a match player. Today's game (and Saturday's) are fully in keeping with that. I certainly expect him to win the tiebreaks (on rating alone he's a huge favourite) but I really hope he doesn't.
  3. Plessiez

    July '18 Reading - What We Read in the Shadows

    Inspired by the recent Philip K. Dick thread, I just finished Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. I thought it was good, if a bit dated, though the final third almost feels like a different story than the rest of the book. I read this recently and liked it quite a bit. It seemed a bit clunky in places but the setting is nicely done and there are at least hints of more depths to the villains than is obvious at first. I'm a bit reluctant to start on all the sequels/prequels that have apparently already been published though; I'm not sure I'd want the story dragged out for too long. (Incidentally, in the UK this was published as just 'Twelve Kings', which reminded me of the way that The Traitor Baru Comorant was published as 'The Traitor' in the UK. Is there a general preference for simpler/more generic titles among UK publishers?)
  4. Plessiez

    What’s your all time favorite book series?

    Iain M. Banks' Culture series is probably my favourite 'pure' science fiction series, though the books vary in quality a lot (I think The Player Of Games, Use of Weapons and Look to Windward are the best, and that Matter and Excession are -- by some distance -- the worst, for what it's worth). Much more of a single shared setting than a series with recurring characters and plots though. The same caveat applies to my second favourite science fiction series, C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union setting. This includes not only the relatively near-future space opera of Cyteen and Downbelow Station but also the Morgaine books (starting with Gate of Ivrel) which I guess are more in the science fantasy genre. In the same science fantasy vein I really like Gene Wolfe's Solar Cycle. My favourite sub-cycle is The Book of the Long Sun but I think the general critical consensus is that this is the weakest bit. Among (completed) fantasy series, my favourites include China Miéville's Bas-Lag / New Crobuzon books, Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars, and Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, particularly the run between Moving Pictures and Jingo. Outside speculative fiction, I like Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books (particularly the short run from Have His Carcase up to Gaudy Night) and Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (though I think the last book, Hearing Secret Harmonies, is not so good).
  5. I also really liked this season -- thought it was a definite improvement on Season 1. Episodes 6 through 8 were all really strong in different ways. Yes, I think this is pretty clear from Bash's phone call with the hospital in the previous episode.
  6. Plessiez

    June '18 Reading - Something something witty.

    Read Claire North's The Sudden Appearance of Hope last week. I thought it was good, though a bit depressing (and the ending was rather an anticlimax) but I was definitely struck by how similar it felt thematically to The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August. One thing I was half-expecting which either didn't happen or I missed: Yeah, Good Omens is great.
  7. Plessiez

    What are your favourite Philip K Dick books?

    I remember really liking Now Wait For Last Year when I read it some years ago, but it's been long enough that I can't really remember much of the plot.
  8. Plessiez

    June '18 Reading - Something something witty.

    I've not read much new fiction this year, but I did finish Valente's Space Opera recently. I liked it quite a bit, though I thought the second half wasn't quite up to the level of the first half. I thought the first three books of the Long Price were very good, but I've never been able to finish the fourth.
  9. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Karjakin takes the lead! I missed today's games, but the results are ... not what I was expecting. I'm sort of rooting for Ding now, actually.
  10. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Seems hard to remember that, during round 4, Kramnik was on 2.5/3 and had (at several points) a winning position against Caruana. What odds would you have got on Kramnik only having 3.5 by the end of round 9?
  11. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Caruana beats Aronian to take the sole lead. Don't think there's a way back into contention for Aronian now (or for So, if he loses to Karjakin as it seems he will).
  12. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Well, yesterday was disappointing for Aronian and today was no improvement. A shame that So chose today to start playing well. Kramnik's play today was also very strange. I'm not sure I can see either of them recovering. Caruana and Mamedyarov are now tied for first. I don't really think either of them would challenge Carlsen all that much, honestly (Mamedyarov's head-to-head score in particular is not encouraging). Then again, I'd have said the same about Karjakin in 2016 (and probably did). It does look like one of those two will win this though.
  13. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    I'm following the Candidates too. Bit surprised (but not displeased) to see So and Karjakin at the bottom of the table, even if only after two rounds. Though So hasn't been quite in the same form he was a year or so ago. Even though I wasn't happy about how Kramnik qualified, a part of me would be very amused to see him beat Carlsen in a match (not that I'm that confident he would).
  14. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    So, final candidates confirmed now. Aronian (#2 on the live rating list at the moment) Mamedyarov (#3) Caruana (#4) So (#6) Kramnik (#7) Ding (#10) Grischuk (#11) Karjakin (#13) A pretty strong line up, I guess: MVL the only person in the top ten who stands out to me as missing. Thinking about the wildcard announcement a bit more, I'm slightly annoyed on MVL's behalf. Think he'd have been a much fairer wildcard pick (if 'fair' and 'wildcard' make sense together) and pre-announcing Kramnik just makes it explicit that MVL never had even a chance of getting this despite outperforming Kramnik in pretty much every measure this year.