What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books' started by Readsalot, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. GRCooper

    GRCooper Author of the Singularity Point LitRPG series LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I'm about 2/3 the way through Friday by Heinlein.

    I think I've got the twist-ending figured out - but if I don't, then the good news is that I've got a new story to write ;-)
     
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  2. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    The Singularity Trap

    by

    Dennis E. Taylor


    So this is a book from the guy that wrote the bobiverse. That's the reason I bought this and it's really all you can say about it.

    I can see some John Scalzi influence in here (From the old men's war series in particular) but without the research and done in reverse.

    What Scalzi did = Take an average Joe, throw him into space, politics and war surround him, have him use his own wits to escape death and step by step climb the military ladder.

    What happens here = Take an average Joe, Throw him into space, Politics and maybe war is caused by him, have him sit in a room brooding throughout, escape death by cheat coupon, turn him into a mary sue that suddenly is a genius in everything (though he wasn't up until the last third of the book when he was wrote into a corner), mary sue your way through the rest of it.


    The book is actually sad. The premise is that some nobody touched a stone and got infected by an unknown thing that turned him into the silver surfer. This is chapter three.


    NOTHING HAPPENS AFTER THAT TILL THE FINALE!

    He just sits in a room wondering what will happen to him. Everyone on earth just talks around in circles not knowing what to do with him. Then the Finale finally comes along with him suddenly telling us he was the smartest at MIT and head of his class in software engineering or something so he just needs to use that... where did that even come from? Oh and his wife is also a genius and a walking model... because of course. And we learn that in the finale only because Joe average spent this whole book doing nothing so he has no skills to save him. got to cheat coupon myself out of it.

    Supporting cast are childishly written and one dimensional. It's all about the Mary Sue. I swear by the end of it I was convenienced Joe Average was the singularity in the title not the infection.


    Stay away from this one. It's a poor imitation of Old Man's war combined with a little Bobiverse minus all the charm and research needed to actually write a book about politics.
     
  3. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Sounds like that would've been a slightly better book? ;)

    Thanks for sharing / warning.
     
  4. Korkk

    Korkk Level 3 (Apprentice) Citizen

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    How unfortunate I really liked the Bobverse books and was thinking about giving this one a try thanks for the warning
     
  5. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    The Interdependency Series.

    By

    John Scalzi

    Book 1. Collapsing Empire

    I'm a big fan of Scalzi so I got this as an audiobook the minute it came out. I remember hating it so much that I refunded it about two chapters in!!

    Anyway his next installment just came out so obviously I wanted it... and ended up repurchasing this one for context.... because I'm stupid like that.


    Set up is interesting, People now occupy the stars and are cut off from earth as they use "the flow" river to fly between planets. A Monarchy rules and the noble house control the trade routes.

    Then you have everything else which is the problem with this book.

    You know the trope of the manly dirtbag excutive from the 60s? Where men had egos the size of planets, everything was a mine is bigger then yours competition to seize more power, where they slept with anything that moved and thought of it as nothing but another notch under their belts?

    Where women had to take the role of the seducer and use underhanded means to get what they wanted in a mans world yet it was made very, very, very, VERY clear that they were walking Vags only and would only be secondary to the men? That even they knew they didn't have what it takes?

    You know, the out dated trope that was all but gone from entertainment by the 80s?

    Flip the genders but keep everything exactly the same. That's every single character here.


    The book also suffers from Book 1 syndrome where 90% of it is an exposition dump that hints at this being important and laying the foundation for the actual plot. For that please buy book 2!

    I admit it gets better after the midway point but mostly I attribute that to Stockholm syndrome. Some interesting nuggets here and there but so not worth all the crap you have to read through.

    Also yes, the flow is hinting at mensuration and they use it so often that it starts to sound weird, actual mensuration is discussed because why not at this point, all the ships are named after something promiscuous female related. Because That's funny?



    Book 2. The Consuming Fire


    Well this one is noticeably better. The she-man trope is still played out to eleven which is eyerolling but at least now the characters actually have a character other then me WOMEN you man get naked and lay on your back.

    The plot finally starts moving building on the exposition dump from book 1 and the story starts to unfold showing a very interesting picture that's not what you'd expect.

    politecs play a major role.

    The only woman shown in a good light is a woman that acts like a woman not a She-man... which makes we wonder about the author's psyche since he didn't have an issue with writing women before this.

    It comes of as manesplaining is what I'm saying.

    Men are still only there to play the role of submissive women used for their dick-vags. Which is funny because A HUGE portion of both books focuses on female sexuality and how most if not all of them are bi... yet we never get any hint of men being attracted to men. They are there just for the women to play with....hmmmmm


    Villians and heros barter their sons in arranged marriages for politics and status but the girls don't have to worry, they don't have to do it if they don't want to... good god... The difference is that villains love the sons more and heroes love daughters more? This got confusing...


    I think I came across the word f**k over a thousand times per book which is interesting because the main feature of all the characters is how little fucks they give. It's also the mark of poor writing if that's the one thing you can say, over and over and over again.


    Another hallmark of third tier writing is the line by one of his favorite characters "That is so not a ME thing to do. I don't get do monogamy. But f**k that! Because I'm me not some 2 dimensional fictional character written by a hack! I'll do whatever the f**k I want!"


    Well dear authors you were not hacks, You only become one after you've attached that label to yourself. This is something on the level of writing "well, as you know" then dropping some new information on the reader. No, I don't know, that's why you're telling me, if I did know I wouldn't need to be told. Never do this, it's so BAD!


    Lock-In was the worst book I've read by Scalzi and yet it was bad by comparison to his other work, on it's own without his name attached it was a meh book at it's worse.

    This however was bad, really bad! Which is a shame because the plot and direction are really creative and interesting. The politics were clever and kept off the monotony. Scalzi is a clever guy but whatever he's trying to say in these books I wish he'd kept it to himself instead of vomiting on the pages and asking me to smell it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  6. Jason Maskell

    Jason Maskell Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Scalzi's a hack. Old Man's War was good, but he hasn't hit again.
     
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  7. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    red shirts is good.

    I know Android dream and agent to the stars get a lot of flank but I liked them.

    His recent work though like Lock in and this series.... crap. Someone needs to check in on the guy, Something might be wrong with him
     
  8. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Right now, I'm finishing up some of @DJ Schinhofen's books. Mainly The Path to Peace and Gamer for Life— the latter of which I got back in October of last year but never finished since I had to jump into writing Astral Falls a couple days later for NaNoWriMo.
     
  9. Jason Maskell

    Jason Maskell Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Nah, just let him fade into richly deserved obscurity.
     
  10. Jun

    Jun Level 13 (Assassin) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I'm listening to The LAdy of the Rivers now. It's okay. Some parts are engaging, the others are kinda bleh.

    Next I'll be listening to Welcome to Night Vale.
     
  11. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    OMG you're in for a treat! I loved that podcast though I admit I kindda dropped it when they went on hiatus a few years back.

    P.S. Stay away from the dog park. All hail the cloud!
     
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  12. Readsalot

    Readsalot Level 13 (Assassin) Citizen

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    Caught up on two of my favourites: King's Avatar and Overgeared. Both of them are so much fun to read - pure entertainment. Finished Emperor of Solo Play. Readable, but mediocre at best. Nothing original or inspiring. Reading ARK at the moment. It's decent, but I get the impression it's the not-so-clever little sibling of Legendary Moonlight Sculptor.
     
  13. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    100 years of solitude, Magical Realism. Well, trying to. I think I may have gotten the wrong print edition.

    Things like dialogue are stuck on the same paragraph, so it's unclear who is talking to who.
     
  14. CheshirePhoenix

    CheshirePhoenix Crazy Hermit on the Hill LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen Editor Aspiring Writer

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    I used to spend hours roaming the depths of the TV Tropes website (note: if you go to check out TV Tropes, you will more than likely be there for a long time), and there was one meta-trope that was really important to keep in mind. Not BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy), Load Bearing Bosses, or Calls to Adventure, or any of the other tropes that the website claims are "legendary".

    No. The trope that's most important to keep in mind is this: Tropes Are Tools. I won't link the trope itself, because that's something of a faux pas (linking to TVTropes is a trope in and of itself, because it leads you down a Wiki Walk that lasts for hours and will ruin your life), but here is the relevant quote that I had in mind while reading The Queen's Opal: "Tropes are just tools. Writers understand tropes and use them to control audience expectations either by using them straight or by subverting them, to convey things to the audience quickly without saying them."

    The Queen's Opal isn't a groundbreaking book. It doesn't do anything new, or particularly fresh, and the only twist on the standard epic fantasy formula is reversed shortly after it's introduced. Elves are magical, humans are greedy, dwarves are, well, dwarves. There is no monster in the closet, there is no big bad evil guy (there are a few antagonists, but none that I would say qualifies as a BBEG), and there is no big world spanning event going on.

    So why do I say this is epic?

    Simple: because it is. There is a problem, and the heroes set out to resolve the problem. Echoing much of YA Epic Fantasy, the adults (although "adults" is a stretch since the protagonists are in their 80s and 60s, respectively, but "elves") are useless, and the biggest problem is that nobody bothered telling the relevant people any relevant or necessary information. It could have saved a lot of time and effort in the end, but then this wouldn't be a book. Sort of how LotR wouldn't be a trilogy if Gandalf had just called the eagles to fly Frodo over the volcano in Mordor and dropped the ring into the caldera - they'd have been home in time for dinner!

    But it wouldn't have been a book, or a trilogy, or really much of a bedtime story at all, for that matter.

    The same sort of situation is seen here. Had the elves simply prepared the protagonists and told them what to expect, they wouldn't have suffered. They wouldn't have been forced to grow, but they wouldn't have suffered. At times while I was reading, I found myself frustrated and facepalming, thinking to myself "why would they be so stupid? Why are they so bloody naive? Why, why, why...?"

    The answer is in the journey. Both of the protagonists grow immensely as people from page one to page ... well, I read it on a Kindle, so page whenever. The brash and impulsive swordsman is forced to become a healer. The shy and retiring bookworm is forced to confront the world. The mouthy sarcastic happy-go-lucky thief is forced to take down his walls. And all of this is written in a way that I, as an adult, can enjoy, and I can see a younger audience enjoying it as well. Because as dark as the dark parts are - and it does get pretty dark at times - there is a thread of humanity running through, almost like a voice saying "shhh. This is necessary, but this, too, shall pass."

    And the dark bits do indeed pass. It doesn't quite ever reach a level that I would call lighthearted or happy, because it deals a lot with the darker sides of human nature - greed, ambition, hunger for power, and selfishness - but for some weird reason I still found it to be a pretty hopeful book overall. Much like Pandora's Box, The Queen's Opal unleashed all manner of horrors, but it also brought forth hope.

    On the downside, nothing in it is really surprising to a genre savvy reader. It doesn't break any molds or push any boundaries, and the plot is fairly predictable. In fact, I bet I can predict the plot of book two already, and the climax to come in book three. That does make the dramatic tension meaningless, but again: Tropes are Tools, and Ms. Stevens has used all of them in the manner in which they were meant to be used.
     
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  15. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    @CheshirePhoenix

    I think you need to start a blog where you talk about stuff like this.
     
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  16. CheshirePhoenix

    CheshirePhoenix Crazy Hermit on the Hill LitRPG Author Beta Reader Citizen Editor Aspiring Writer

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    It's pretty rare that a book inspires me to write a narrative blog style review, so my blog would be pretty barren, to say the least.
     
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  17. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Doesn't matter... do it for the internet, for the next generation, for the greater good!
     
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  18. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Level 9 (Burgler) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Currently working on Red Shirts by John Scalzi.
     
  19. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    Good read. More so if you're a fan of Star Trek.


    Read Elevation. The newest book by Stephen King.

    This was a misleading one. It was released on Halloween and by King under horror and suspense... So when I put my headphone on and started working on dinner the last thing I expected was a LGBTQ life time story from the hallmark channel!

    The book is three hours on audible and ended at the 1 hr 30 minute mark. The rest if it was just grandpa rambling.

    Plot wise =

    Remember (Thinner) by King from 1984?

    A guy got cursed by a gypsy to keep losing weight until he faded into nothingness.

    Now imagine that this guy had a lesbian couple as neighbors. You might be wondering "so what?" Well, because this has the 80's mentality of the entire neighborhood is ganging up on the couple. Not for being gay, but for being MARRIED! how dare they? I guess? Does it matter?

    Now our thinner guy must sacrifice his well being in order to save the women. His last wish before the end is to be their saver... They will fight back, pretend they can rescue themselves but he know better BLEEEGGHHH!!!!! Sorry I had to wash the taste of that out of my mouth.


    Not only is this a recycled idea from his older work it's REALLY dated. Even the way it's written makes you feel like you jumped into a wormhole and ended up in 1985 with the word "married" plasted before the word "gay" to excuse the town's attitude. Doesn't help that the women are TV trope stereotype of a gay couple either with a little bit of Trump and climate change deniers peppered.


    Book ends at the midway point. You get 20 extra minutes of martyrdom. You know, when your elderly father or your husband gets a cold and acts like he's dying? Going on and on about not wanting you to worry while 100% wanting your attention and how dare you not appreciate him doing this for you when he's so so so SO sick? It's that for 20 minutes.

    Then for half an hour a rambly story about a retiree that gets a dog and isn't sure what to do with her. Nope, that's it. There is no point to that one except as filler.

    Refunded! First time I've ever refunded an audiobook I've actually listened too but holy was that not worth it... and on halloween no less! I should have just streamed Thinner for a better hour and a half!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  20. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    Looks up.


    I.... might be long winded... sorry.
     




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