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Plessiez

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  • Birthday 10/26/1984

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  1. I really should try to read The Shepherd's Crown at some point (I think that I've also not read I Shall Wear Midnight but that I have read everything up to Wintersmith, but it's been a while). I was a bit discouraged after reading Raising Steam (which I'm afraid I didn't like at all) but everything I've heard about the later Tiffany Aching books has been very positive. (And good luck finshing your PhD!)
  2. I played this early last year and thought it was okay, but definitely a bit of a disappointment compared to Planescape Torment. I liked the setting but the writing is pretty uneven (and I think the combat is a bit underwhelming, but I basically avoided fighting as much as possible anyway). The game is also very short (I think much shorter than it was originally intended to be?) and the ending is pretty lacklustre. If you like it so far, I'd stick with it, but don't expect it to get much better than it is so far.
  3. I (finally) finished Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Heat and Dust a couple of days ago. As I said in an earlier post, I struggled with this quite a lot (and only really perserved with it because it's fairly short). Don't think I ever really got what the point of the whole thing was supposed to be. I took a break part way through to read Aliette de Bodard's In The Vanishers' Palace. I'd read On A Red Station, Drifting by the same author some years ago and found it to be ... well, not bad, as such, but pretty abstruse. But this book was a lot more accessible and I quite enjoyed it. Now I'm about halfway into Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and The Light. Liking it a lot so far (but then I'm pretty sure I was always going to: I've been a big fan of Mantel since I first read A Place Of Greater Safety.) One thing I've noticed is that my memory of the first two books has blured slightly with my memory of the early Shardlake books by C. J. Sansom (which are set in the same time period and which, I think, I first read around the same time as Wolf Hall). This has definitely coloured my impression of some of the minor characters (Richard Rich, for example, is much more of an outright villain in the Shardlake series than he is in Mantel's series, at least so far).
  4. City of Blades is really good, I think; probably the strongest part of the trilogy. City of Miracles I liked a bit less than either of the first two books, but I think the series as a whole is pretty consistent in quality.
  5. Been a fairly slow month: I've read one book I liked a lot and one book I really didn't (and which, in fact, I've not yet finished). I've seen Lavie Tidhur's Central Station described as a mosaic novel (in the style of Francis Spufford's Red Plenty or Charlie Stross's Accelerando) but I'm not sure I'd agree with that classification. It's true that it doesn't have much of a linear plot and that the narrative perspective jumps from character to character, but the story feels a lot more unified than either of those two examples. It helps that the characters from the first chapter of the book are also present at the end (and, in fact, feature throughout the story in some role or other.) It's also very well written: I really liked it. On the other hand, I've struggled with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Heat and Dust, largely because I really can't stand any of the characters. I'm going to try to finish it this week (and ignore the temptation to give up and move on to The Mirror and the Light) but I can't say I've enjoyed it so far.
  6. I remember really liking these books (especially Vellum), but it's probably been almost a decade since I last read them. (I think I might have tried rereading them in 2013 or whenever it was that Errata came out, but I'm not sure if I actually did.) Might be time for another reread soon. I'd had the impression that Duncan stopped writing full-length novels after this, and that he'd focused exclusively on short stories and novellas instead, but googling just now it turns out he had a novel published in 2015 (Testament) which I'd just never heard anything about before today.
  7. After about a week I was still less than a sixth of the way into C. J. Cherryh's Fortress at the End of Time and wasn't particularly excited to read more, so I've decided to give up on that for now. Cherryh's always been a bit of a hit-and-miss author for me though: I really like Downbelow Station and Cyteen, but I've never been able to get into the Chanur or Foreigner series. I read Martha Wells' All Systems Red instead but found that slightly underwhelming as well. The main character is fun, but the world-building and plot is all pretty minimal. (To be fair, it's only a novella so there isn't that much room for an elaborate plot.) Still, more or less on target for January. For February, the aim is to read four books: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Heat and Dust, Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light, Matt Ruff's Sewer, Gas & Electric and Lavie Tidhar's Central Station.
  8. Making steady progress on my to-read list. As I said in my first post in this thread, this year I'm aiming to read at least one literary-prize winning novel a month. Half of a Yellow Sun (which won the Orange Prize/Women's Prize for Fiction in 2003) was that novel for January. The subject matter -- a failed secession attempt and the resulting civil war and famine -- is exactly the sort of thing I avoided reading last year because of a fear that I'd find it too depressing. And it is pretty depressing, obviously, but I'm glad I made the effort to read it: after a slightly slow start I thought it was really good. Only one slightly false note, for me: But yeah, this was definitely worth reading. Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future describes the fictional international agency of the title's various attempts to reduce global CO2 emissions over the course of several decades starting in 2025. Not really sure what to make of this. I enjoyed the experience of reading it, I think, but I'm not really convinced it totally works as a novel (or, really, whether it's a novel at all: there is definitely a central narrative but at least half the book is made up of short essays and dialogues about various topics, including -- at one point -- long lists of Antarctic glaciers). At times the effect is more like reading a slightly unfocused series of blog posts than reading a work of fiction. I tend to broadly agree with KSR on most things so I didn't really mind the digressions, but I can imagine some people reacting very differently. There's also a very minor conversation early on which suggests that two characters -- and possibly the author? -- believe that Invictus is a film about the (FIFA) World Cup, which annoyed me more than it probably should have done. (Though when a book is as heavy on exposition and info-dumping at this one, it feels like the sort of mistake you should be trying to avoid.)
  9. Halfway through my planned January books so far. After bouncing off it quite hard when I first started it in September, I was surprised by how much I ended up liking The Priory of the Orange Tree. It's definitely not without its flaws: it's perhaps a bit too long, the ending is a bit of an anticlimax and the central protaganist is probably not as interesting as some of the other POV characters. But I guess I'm willing to overlook a lot for a decently written epic fantasy novel that isn't part of a trilogy (or a multi-volume series with no end in sight...). For all the book's length, the plot moves along at a fairly brisk pace once things get going, too. Honestly most of Event Factory probably went well over my head: it's not something written to be easy to understand and it's not like anything I've read in a while. I'm not even sure I know what it was about, other than the surface level reading of the narrator visiting a foreign city and being constantly rebuffed in their attempts to understand the "crisis" that the city may or may not be experiencing. The whole thing is written in an almost stream-of-consciousness style and frequently skips over important subjects and events as the narrator insists that they don't merit further explanation. But ... well, I said I wanted to read something a bit more experimental than usual, and this certainly was that. And finally I enjoyed Jade War a lot, though it's pretty bleak at times. As in the previous volume of the series, there's a really well done tension between Hilo's self-image, as seen through his inner monologues in his POV chapters, and the objectively horrible things he actually does. Looking forward to Jade Legacy, which I think is meant to be out later this year.
  10. Something of a long-shot, as I'm not sure this fits all the clues that well (and I've seen the film but not read the book), but could this be
  11. New year, new thread. What are people reading this year? I didn't read as much fiction as I'd have hoped to last year, and what I did read tended to be pretty similar in a lot of ways (that is, I read a lot of somewhat optimistic/escapist secondary world fantasy published in the last five years). Not hugely surprising, given 2020, but I'd like to do something different this year. My -- well, "resolution" is too strong, so let's say "vague hope" -- is to try to read a bit more of a mix of genres and to try some things that weren't necessarily published within the past few years. Specifically, each month I'm planning to read at least one literary prize winner, at least one work that's somewhat experimental in format or structure and at least one book published before this century. I'm also aiming to read at least sixty books this year (but I'm not really so concerned about that). So for January, my goal is to read the following: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Fortress in the Eye of Time by C. J. Cherryh Event Factory by Renee Gladman Jade War by Fonda Lee The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  12. I read this myself last night, after I decided to try something a bit lighter than the first few chapters of The Ministry of the Future. Possibly I reread it: I believe that I read at least a couple of Diana Wynne Jones' books when I was eleven or twelve, but I can't remember which ones. If I had read it before, any memory I'd retained of the plot had been pretty thoroughly overwritten by the Studio Ghibli film. If I did read it when I was younger, I wonder if I found that twist equally surprising then or whether it's only lots of exposure to other secondary-world fantasy that has conditioned me to think that this is somehow breaking the rules. I felt similar Well, at least I'm not the only one... Actually, looking back I see that a couple of people in previous versions of this thread were also disappointed by Shorefall, but we definitely seem to be in the minority. Does failing to finish a book mean you didn't like it, or was there some other issue? I probably abandoned about a dozen books in 2020, but I'm hoping to make a second attempt at most of them this year. (Mostly asking because Light from Other Stars was on my tentative list of books to read in 2021.)
  13. This is close to my position, I think. I've realised recently that I have a surprising amount of nostalgia for the books -- I read and reread them a lot when I was younger, and lurking (and very occasionally posting) on rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan in the mid-to-late 1990s was one of my earliest experiences of the internet -- but I really think that this is a series that would benefit from a less than faithful adaption. There's a great deal of stuff than I'd cut or change from the books if I was adapting it, though I expect almost all of that to make it in in at least some form.
  14. I didn't like Shorefall as much as Foundryside. Honestly, I'm not sure I liked it at all, though I'd probably need a bit of time to properly work out why. The plot moves along at a frenetic pace and there are some fun set pieces, but the central antagonists aren't especially interesting and the wider world seems even smaller and less developed in this volume than it did in the first. Just didn't work for me the way the previous book did.
  15. I'd agree that this season has definitely lost its way, but I'm not sure it's gone wrong in the same way that the second season did. That season (and arguably the first as well) both ended up being consumed by a fairly ridiculously plot about saving all life in the galaxy/universe/multiverse from some superpowerful threat, with Burnham somewhat implausibly at the centre of it all. But this season the main mystery arc is weirdly anticlimatic and the closest thing to central villains for this season are just ... generic evil space pirates? Compared to last season, it seems almost directionless. But honestly I'm really just posting to join the chorus of people saying nice things about Farscape. I've been rewatching it recently and it really does do a pretty great job of having the monster-of-the-week episodes actually matter in terms of how they affect the main characters in later episodes. (Except for season one's "Jeremiah Crichton", which is still awful twenty years later.) I think the first season of the BSG remake is pretty good, if a little bleak, but it definitely started to go downhill fast during its second season and I found it basically unwatchable by the middle of the third season.
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