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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #3061
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    Some old Dr Who books

    Zeta Major, Corpse Marker Imperial Moon and Festival of Death
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    All Moderation in Purple

  2. #3062
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    Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee

  3. #3063
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    Tomorrow, I get Skin Game, by Jim Butcher, from the library.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  4. #3064
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    Hyperion

    The beginning pages had me worried, but I'm up in the 50s now, and it's getting really good.

  5. #3065
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    Forever Young, the autobiography of the "astronaut's astronaut", John Young. A little disappointing, actually - very much focused on the technical details of the flights (but excellent on that score), almost nothing personal. His first wife and their two kids get about three sentences total.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  6. #3066
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    Hyperion

    The beginning pages had me worried, but I'm up in the 50s now, and it's getting really good.
    Dan Simmons?
    Head-messingly good, in my opinion, but not to everyone's taste.

    Grant Hutchison

  7. #3067
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    I'm reading M.R. Carey's The Girl With All The Gifts. Slightly vexed to find it's (so far) a mildly tweaked zombie apocalypse story. I generally try to avoid anything that involves zombies, vampires, werewolves, dragons or superheroes, since these themes rarely seem to throw up anything new and engaging these days.
    But M.R. Carey is Mike Carey, who did a lot of clever stuff with his Felix Castor novels, so I'm travelling in hope. I'd still rather he hadn't put the Castor series on hold in order to write this one, though.

    Grant Hutchison

  8. #3068
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    Joyland, Stephen King. Apparently only comes in paperback form as a salute to the old pulp novels. Just started, so I can't offer any opinion yet.

  9. #3069
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    Return of a King, about our first invasion of Afghanistan.

  10. #3070
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    Rereading Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  11. #3071
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    Reading - or rather listening to on MP3 - The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson. Wow, is it laborious. He's got the ideas and the imagery, but the book is seriously hampered by the cod-archaic prose style and the endless repetition. I would have given up on it if it wasn't for Audible. (I did read the first few chapters in parallel.)

    Apparently the book is 200,000 words long (about 600 pages) but at one point an abridged version was released - 20,000 words (60 pages). I can't help thinking that shedding 9 pages out of every 10 did no harm to the story.

  12. #3072
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    I'm reading Write or Wrong : A Writer's Guide to Creating Comics by Dirk Manning as well as Writing for Comics by Alan Moore. Also started Final Diagnosis by James White because I wanted some fiction for a change of pace and also an actual physical book. That just happened to be the only Sector General novel the library had. I'm also working through The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis by Barbara Creed.

  13. #3073
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    Biography of Ian Fleming (Bond author)

    The story of a snobbish, selfish, cruel and idle man, it was a snobbish story that did not spare us the geneology of any aristocrat he had come into contact with, by an author who had been far from idle, but had no idea of which details to leave out. I mean - the scenario of a boring book that his wife wrote and was never published?

    I read it so you don't have to.
    John

  14. #3074
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    Thank you?
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  15. #3075
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    I finished The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson and Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr. Quite similar stories in some ways, with the key difference that I didn't end the Storr thinking, "Hooray! I'm never going to have to read that again!"

  16. #3076
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    Just finished Neil McAleer's biography of Arthur C. Clarke.
    The occasional encounters with Asimov and Heinlein reminded me of why I find Clarke to be by far the most likeable of the "Big Three". It becomes apparent in the book that if you had a disagreement with one these authors, you have could an amicable discussion with Clarke, a good-natured full-on argument with Asimov, and Heinlein would never speak to you again.

    Now I'm reading Multiverse, a collection of short stories in honour of Poul Anderson, each one set in one of Anderson's invented worlds, and many written by people who were his friends. These are interspersed with biographical notes from those who were close to him.
    I think this sort of volume is becoming a fine tradition in science fiction, and this is a fine offering in that tradition. So far only C. J. Cherryh has sounded a wrong note for me, with a content-lite Dominic Flandry piece. But that may be something to do with the particular style of writing Cherryh cultivates, which I rather dislike.

    Grant Hutchison

  17. #3077
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    Nearly finished "Engineers of Victory", by Prof. Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth professor of British History at Yale. The bok is blurbed as "The problem solvers who turned the tide in the Second World War.

    Prof Kennedy is a most eminent historian, as shown by his chair, but to misquote the late Senator Bentsen, "Professor Kennedy, I know some engineering, but you're no engineer."
    The book is an expert analysis of the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain, the campaigns that defeated Nazi blitzkrieg tactics (in Africa and on the Russian front), D-Day, and the Battle of the Pacific. But I was expecting to learn about the weapons of war, the development of radar, asdic, why the T-34 was the 'greatest tank ever built' and the engineers who made them. Instead the discussion is about the tactical and strategic policies of which those were a part. The engineers who developed them are mentioned by name and that's it.

    Ronnie Harker, the test-pilot who saw that the potential of the Mustang was hampered, disabled even, by its original low-powered engine and urged that it should be fitted with the RollsRoyce Merlin, that made it such an iconic aircraft. We learn more about the politics that initially hampered that refit than about the plane.

    The T-34 - we get discussion of its fighting ability, largely to demolish its all-mighty reputation, but beyond sloped armour and that it "could be cannabalised for spares" (something that I would have thought was true for any tank), nothing of development or construction, or about the engineer and manager of the Kharkiv Komintern Locomotive Plant, where the T-34 as originally made, Mikhail Koshkin. We did however learn about the T-34 that was sent to the US Army's proving grounds in Maryland, and the list of short comings that their engineers identified, pricipally that the welding was so poor that the tank leaked water when it rained!

    I was expecting something more like Prof. RV Jones' "Most Secret War". Prof. Jones lead British Scientific Intelligence in WW2, with direct access to Churchill and the Cabinet, so his account is not only about politics but the hardware and the development of it. I would recommend that book over Prof Kennedy's to anyone with a hardware type of mind.

    JOhn
    Last edited by JohnD; 2014-Jul-16 at 08:47 PM.

  18. #3078
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    The T-34 - we get discussion of its fighting ability, largely to demolish its all-mighty reputation, but beyond sloped armour and that it "could be cannabalised for spares" (something that I would have thought was true for any tank), nothing of development or construction, or about the engineer and manager of the Kharkiv Komintern Locomotive Plant, where the T-34 as originally made, Mikhail Koshkin. We did however learn about the T-34 that was sent to the US Army's proving grounds in Maryland, and the list of short comings that their engineers identified, pricipally that the welding was so poor that the tank leaked water when it rained!
    Just as well it wasn't a boat then! They did prefer its shape, wide tracks and diesel engine to anything the US had and they did get better as Soviet factories settled down having been uprooted in the retreat. The other thing to remember is that they weren't built to last, they were built to survive a couple of combats and then be repaired.

    I was expecting something more like Prof. RV Jones' "Most Secret War". Prof. Jones lead British Scientific Intelligence in WW2, with direct access to Churchill and the Cabinet, so his account is not only about politics but the hardware and the development of it. I would recommend that book over Prof Kennedy's to anyone with a hardware type of mind.

    JOhn
    I haven't read this for years and I thoroughly enjoyed it but he was a bit full of himself.

  19. #3079
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    Derek Robinson's War Story, the first of his Royal Flying Corps quartet. Biggles meets Catch-22 meets Jeeves & Wooster, set in France in 1916.
    Some convincing detail about early aircraft warfare, a lot of surprisingly funny English public school banter, and a well-thought-out character arc for the protagonist as he moves from despised rookie to contemptuous old hand. All narrated with sometimes surreal detail and dialogue:

    "The C.O. deliberately put a match to my plane this afternoon," he said. ... "It was brand new, I spent five days getting it here, and he deliberately set fire to it."
    ...
    "Don't worry, old man." Appleyard came around the desk and squeezed his shoulder. "Happens all the time. Nothing to lose any sleep over."


    Grant Hutchison

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