BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

A single berserk reached us yesterday, after having come all the way over the mountains from the city of Willow, fourteen hundred miles away. He delivered to Alric a single package the size of a man's fist, wrapped in rags, and refuses to talk with anyone about events in the West.
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BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby adrenaline » 07 May 2013, 20:24

Yep... it's that time again.

In the last few months I've become more and more interested in epic fantasy novels. I don't have much time to read the books themselves, between work, gym, social life... so I've been downloading and listening to audiobooks at work. My job is at a computer and pretty fucking monotonous, so I am easily able to listen and follow along. I've basically been listening to these books on and off 8 hrs a day since February and before that at my previous job... and I've gone through several.

Not surprisingly, it was Game of Thrones that really got me interested in epic fantasy... ready all the books before the series started, and between seasons I needed something to fill the void. I attempted to listen to Malazan Book of the Fallen, but my god... that is one crazy intricate storyline... far too much so for audiobook. I'd have to actually read that one. Anyways, here's a list of what I've listened to in the last year or so...

"Chronicle of the Black Company" by Glen Cook - awesome series and long so you really get invested in the characters. 10 book in total... well worth the read (or listen) if you enjoy this kind of thing.

"The Dagger and the Coin" by Daniel Abraham - pretty decent... 2 books so far with another coming out soon. Thought it was great at the time I was listening to it... but it has been eclipsed by the last couple series I've gotten in to. Still really good though.

"The Kingkiller Chronicle" by Patrick Rothfuss - amazing series. It is a trilogy... but the 3rd book is still in the works. HIGHLY recommended. HBO should really pick this up and make a series of it.

"The First Law" by Joe Abercrombie - thought it started off kind of slow, but I am on the 2nd book right now and I'm loving it. The reader is incredible with all the voices too, so that's a big plus. Also highly recommended.


I'm considering one of these series as my next:

"Gentleman Bastard" by Scott Lynch
"The Broken Empire" by Mark Lawrence
"Mistborn" by Brandon Sanderson
"The Sword of Truth" by Terry Goodkind

Anyone have any feedback on any of these, or other recommendations? I'm not really willing to commit to Wheel of Time yet... so forget that one lol.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby NewMutator » 07 May 2013, 22:14

Altered Carbon was highly enjoyable, both in text form and as an audiobook. It's not epic fantasy but more hardboiled sci-fi, inventive with noir elements lifted directly from the best of Raymond Chandler. Good stuff.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Gamer » 07 May 2013, 22:32

Start reading Brandon Sanderson. He puts out some awesome books like the one you mentioned, Mistborn. He also just started a new epic called the Stormlight Archive. Book one is the Way of Kings. Awesome, awesome book. And the coolest part is that even though his series are all their own stories, they are also all tied together by an overarching cosmere. The first stand alone book he put out is called Alantris, which is also very good. If you start reading them, you will thank me later.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Pogue » 07 May 2013, 22:39

I've always preferred science fiction to fantasy books myself, however I read the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks which is an epic fantasy series, it was great. As for Wheel Of Time I read the first couple books and they were ok Lord Of The Rings rip offs but reading a 15 book series or whatever it is? No thanks. There are lots of other better books out there. If you want a stand alone fantasy book that's about 800 pages or so and really good I recommend Tigana by Guy Gaveiel Kay. Having said that I now give you Pogue's List Of Books That Every Man Should Read:

Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle - George V. Higgins
King Rat - James Clavell
Money - Martin Amis
Transmetropolitan - Warren Ellis (yeah it's a graphic novel series whatever)
Post Office - Charles Bukowski
The Dice Man - Luke Rhinehart
Moby Dick - Herman Melville

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby SeekerAntiVegan » 07 May 2013, 23:01

Adrenaline - you should check out Abraham's previous series, the Long Price Quartet. It's quite... interesting.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby adrenaline » 07 May 2013, 23:56

ya seeker, i was considering that one too. thanks.

The one problem with fairly obscure books/series is finding the audiobook torrents... audiobookbay is pretty awesome... but I've had to resort to audible.com for a few books now. I don't mind paying for a good audiobook, but converting audible to mp3 is a pain in the ass.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Ratking » 08 May 2013, 00:01

Wheel of time is good but very long. Dune is very good as well if you haven't read it.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Myrk » 08 May 2013, 01:37

Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay is a pretty good series.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby dac » 08 May 2013, 01:38

choose your own adventure makes for a quick read. it's always a good idea to charge through the door.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby pallidice » 08 May 2013, 06:13

im currently reading sword of truth by terry goodkind. I think its awsome. 18+ book with detailed fighting, tourture, rape, love scenes. Magic and Mayham. Even Battle or war tactics a little bit. I dont know i really got into it theres like 10 plus books.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby limp » 08 May 2013, 06:15

house of leaves by mark z. danielewski

after many a summer dies the swan by aldous huxley

thank me later

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby NewMutator » 08 May 2013, 07:04

There's an audiobook for House of Leaves? I don't see how that's possible. Also, if you like radio theater I'd recommend pretty much anything ZBS puts out. They used to be featured on NPR a lot -- before it was cool. /totalhipster

http://www.zbs.org/

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby c⁄J⁄Iılk c⁄J⁄Iån ◊§t◊ » 08 May 2013, 13:32

I know you might be skeptical but try the Illiad & Odyssey on audiobook. Yea, they're boring to read, but they are amazing in audio, especially for long drives. It really foregrounds how they were meant to be orally recounted, not read.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby adrenaline » 08 May 2013, 13:38

Milk Man wrote:I know you might be skeptical but try the Illiad & Odyssey on audiobook.


I've read them both, and also listened to both on audiobook. I think I preferred reading them!

Pallidice wrote:im currently reading sword of truth by terry goodkind. I think its awsome. 18+ book with detailed fighting, tourture, rape, love scenes. Magic and Mayham. Even Battle or war tactics a little bit. I dont know i really got into it theres like 10 plus books.


You had me at rape.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby adrenaline » 08 May 2013, 13:41

limp wrote:after many a summer dies the swan by aldous huxley


Recently read "The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell" by Huxley... luckily they were short. Not too keen on reading any more of his stuff anytime soon lol.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby adrenaline » 08 May 2013, 13:43

Another book I recently read, which I HIGHLY recommend, is "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. Amazing book, and also based on a true story, which really adds to the wow factor. It was incredibly well-written.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby c⁄J⁄Iılk c⁄J⁄Iån ◊§t◊ » 08 May 2013, 13:57

Wellllll you could always do that shitty sequel, The Aeneid.

These aren't straight fantasy but they are fantastical & two of my favorite books:

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
Maldoror by the Compte de Lautreament (greatest passage ever here: http://kisa.ca/maldoror/2-13.php)

Also have you read The Worm Ouroborus by ER Eddison? Classic opium-head fantasy from the 20s.

Don't know if you could get any of these on audiobook, maybe Naked Lunch.

@noobmutt: Ahhh radio dramas nice, I will give some a listen next time I do a roadtrip. Last time I went on one I got a bunch of Sherlock Holmes radio dramas and they were awesome... what a homoerotic junky he is in those OG stories.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby headhunter » 08 May 2013, 17:02

A Cavern of Black Ice - by J.V. Jones - extremely good. I think it is a trilogy but I've only read the first.

The Illuminatus Trilogy - by Robert Anton Wilson - conspiracy occult theory

The Dresden Files is a good series about a magician in modern day (90s?) Chicago

R.A. Salvatore's Crystal Shard (etc.) series about Drizzt Do'Urder is a fun read though not nearly as mature writing as say GoT or even WoT.

headhunter

Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby headhunter » 08 May 2013, 17:09

Figured this would be a movie eventually:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP0cUBi4hwE

it's a good quick read.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Homer » 08 May 2013, 21:18

Harry Potter narrated by Jim Dale

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby dac » 08 May 2013, 21:46

50 shades of grey narrated by gilbert gottfried.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby par73 » 09 May 2013, 00:02

War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality is a book written by by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow, was published in 2011, and is a debate between views on science and spirituality. The book is written as a series of essays by each author on a mutually-agreed-upon list of 18 questions. The science worldview is represented by Mlodinow and the spirituality worldview is represented by Chopra. Each presents his side which is followed by the other person's rebuttal.

Overall, Mlodinow suggests that "the universe operates according to laws of physics while acknowledging that science does not address why the laws exist or how they arise". Chopra says that "the laws of nature as well as mathematics share the same source as human consciousness".

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Pogue » 09 May 2013, 02:23

dac wrote:50 shades of grey narrated by gilbert gottfried.


One of my personal favorites along with How To Win Friends And Influence People narrated by Gene Simmons.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby NewMutator » 09 May 2013, 06:10

Any books by Jonathan Carroll come highly recommended. Probably my favorite living author.

Also, milk, check out Mystery of Jaguar Reef--one of my favorites from years back.

Also, the Aeneid is underrated.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby SamTheButcher » 09 May 2013, 11:06

Wheel of time and Sword of truth are both great series already mentioned but this is another vote for them. Stephen Kings Dark Tower series is pretty awesome too. Its more of an epic fantasy/sci-fi/adventure than horror. You can get audio versions of those on torrent.

Something else you might want to listen to are short story podcast. Stories usually 30-60 mins long. Here are some sites for those. These are all free to DL.

Pseudopod http://pseudopod.org/

Drabblecast http://www.drabblecast.org/

Fantasy short stories: http://podcastle.org/

Sci-Fi short stories: http://escapepod.org/

This site has a lot of audio books: http://podiobooks.com/

Underwood and Flinch http://underwoodandflinch.com/ This is a novel by Mike Bennett. This guy is awesome he is the author but he also reads and does the voice acting and he is an amazing voice actor.

More Mike Bennett stuff: Short story series
Hall of Mirrors Volume 1 and 2: These are a series of short stories set up sort of like Twighlight Zone:
http://podiobooks.com/title/hall-of-mirrors-tales-of-horror-and-the-grotesque-volume-1/

Looks like Volume 2 isnt free anymore. I could send it to you if you wanted.

You can find more Mike Bennett stuff from his site:
http://www.mikebennettpodcast.com/

Yea I read and listen to audio books a lot.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby SeekerAntiVegan » 09 May 2013, 11:48

Sword of Truth is a vehicle for Ayn Randian views.

Keep that in mind.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby SamTheButcher » 09 May 2013, 11:58

SeekerAntiVegan wrote:Sword of Truth is a vehicle for Ayn Randian views.

Keep that in mind.


Yea thats one thing I like about it. I didnt make the Ayn Rand connection but that part of the message in those books I really like. I think it was book 6 that really went into it. It totally showed the failings and oppression of the "Socialist Utopia".

I am all for maximum personal liberty.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Pogue » 11 May 2013, 05:00

Has anyone ever read any of Tim Powers' books? I've been going to read The Anubis Gates and The Drawing Of The Dark for years but I always end up reading something else..

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Gekko » 12 May 2013, 14:22

Philip K. Dick is one of my favourite writers. All of his books are worth reading. I recommend "Ubik" or "Flow my tears, the policeman said" as starters.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby headhunter » 16 May 2013, 17:57

P.K.Dick - VALIS!!!

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Arzenic » 16 May 2013, 19:08

Philip K. Dick is indeed quite awesome

If you are into sci-fi i would also recommend Robert A. Heinlein.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Renwood » 18 May 2013, 00:45

It starts off kind of slow, but its really cool and would make a great Myth-Esque game.

From the ancient stories told in Icelandic Sagas here is:
The Saga Of Hrolf Kraki And His Champions.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Gekko » 22 May 2013, 12:37

Stranger in a strange land by Robert A. Heinlein is worth a read. I haven't read any other books from him though.
Yeah, VALIS! Probably not the easiest book to start with :D

Iain M. Banks is also great. "The player of games" is good for all us gaming addicts :)

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Honkey » 22 May 2013, 13:18

Dark Alliance- Gary Webb

Crossing the Rubicon- Michael Ruppert

The Creature from Jeckyll Island- Edward Griffin

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby adrenaline » 22 May 2013, 13:42

Just finished The First Law trilogy on audiobook... amazing. I honestly think the audiobook is better than the read... this reader (i think his name is Steven Pacey or something...) is incredible and really brings something to the story with different voices/accents for each character. Definitely a dark fantasy... so if you like brutal violence and epic battles and magic and stuff... well worth the read/listen. The audiobook torrents are available on audiobookbay if anyone is interested... free signup and had tons of great audiobooks.

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby switch » 27 May 2013, 03:46

Pogue:

I've always preferred science fiction to fantasy books myself,


This, as I find myself frequently pointing out, is an error as fantasy and science fiction are the same thing, cf, Clarke's Third Law.


Gekko

Philip K. Dick is one of my favourite writers


The Man In The High Castle is my favourite PK Dick by far.



I've recently finished the first two trilogies in the Gibson triptych.
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In this thread I briefly review them.

Trilogy I
Sprawl Trilogy


Neuromancer
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Groundbreaking 1984 novel introducing cyberspace. Sentient AI Wintermute wants to escape the matrix and travel to Alpha Centuri. Street Samuria / Razor Girl Molly Millions teams up with hacker Case and brain-hacked former Green Beret Armitage and the undead Dixy Flatline to investigate. Spaceside the wealthy clone Lady Three Jane battles for control of earthly megacorporations. Space stoners aboard the station Zion get Molly and Case into orbit where most of the action takes place. Wintermute spins off a copy of himself, Neuromancer, who makes the 4.5 lightyear journey to Alpha Centuri where he has detected sentient signals.

Memorable moments and the groundbreaking nature of the novel are what give its charm. Gibson's early characters are somewhat uninteresting which is why only Molly returns in the later novels.

Count Zero
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Turner, the three-million dollar man rebuilt after they blew him up in New Dehli works to free Angie Mitchel, daughter of cyberweapon programmer Chris Mitchel from the Mass Biocorp labs. Bobby Newark (hacker alias, Count Zero) meets Angie in the matrix but is nearly killed by illegal codebreaker technology. Marley Krushkhova, art gallery owner, is hired by Virek, one of Lady Three Jane's competitors to
go spaceside and discover the the connection between Mitchel and THE BOX a cyberspace combination of Wintermute-Neuromancer that frees AIs to become sentient. Turner rescues Angie, and they all end up in a massive shoot-out in a bar where Count Zero is trapped by a gang of hackers.

Gibson's second attempt is better than his first. Turner is a prototype for Rydell from the Bridge series. This story almost certainly inspired Gibson's screenplays for the X-files which also feature a Bobby Newark type character.

Mona Lisa Overdrive
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Mona, working girl, ala the Prince and the Pauper replaces Angie Mitchel who has become a superstar. Slick Henry lives in a flat in New Jersey and builds robots including the CORPSE GRINDER, he is hired to keep tabs on Bobby Newark, now THE COUNT, who lives entirely in Cyberspace but is hunted by Lady Three Jane. Molly Millions returns as Sally Shears to rescue Kumiko, the daughter of a Yakuza boss who is hiding her in London. Neuromancer-Wintermute returns from Alpha Centuri with news of the sentients living there.

This is the weakest novel in the series which basically sets up the transition to the Bridge trilogy by introducing the Yakuza and Gibson's post-cyberpunk trope of using children as main characters. I think the Flatline also returns briefly. Lady Three Jane, the only significant example of a clone in the Gibson universe is somewhat comparable to the Idoru of the Bridge series, but is generally evil rather than helpful. This can be considered the end of the classic cyber-punk era of the 1980s and the beginning of post-cyberpunk in the 1990s.

Trilogy II
Bridge Trilogy


Virtual Light
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Taking place in a post-civil war USA, mainly San Francisco, where the rubble of the Golden Gate Bridge serves as a ghetto for drug addicts. Chevette, bike messenger, steals a pair of eyephones, Steve Mann inspired eye-tap/google glasses setting her on a course to meet Rydell, freelance rent-a-cop. The eyephones contain nanotech plans and are sought after by various goons, Russians, and hitmen. Rydell, hired by Warbaby to recover the glasses, ditches the plan and hooks up with Chevette. Japanese sociologist Yamazaki studies the Bridge subculture including Chevette's former protector, Skinner and his craftsman and junk dealer Fontaine.

This novel is refreshing, featuring plenty of Gibson's trademark humour and style. The setting becomes significantly more post-industrial and the focus is more and more on the grunge element of society. Post-cyberpunk to the core. Gibson's characters are much more interesting and begin to show real life unlike their somewhat artificial cyberpunk associates from the 1980s. The only thing this novel really lacks is a convincing villian, a problem Gibson constantly runs into throughout the bridge series as he seems to feel that he's established that rich + powerful = evil and that impoverished working class = sympathetic.

Idoru
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Colin Laney, one of Rydell's buddies, is hired to work for the Japanese pop super-group Lo/Rez in Tokyo. Teamed up with Keith Blackwell, Australian bodyguard, Laney investigates the controversy surrounding Rez's plan to marry THE IDORU a virtual popsinger. Chia McKenzie, a kid member of the Lo/Rez fanclub (Zona Rosa, a horribly obese lesbian from New Mexico runs Chia's fanclub) having heard about the marriage plans to travel to Tokyo to talk Rez out of it. Chia meets MaryAlice, a loser with huge assets on the plane who sets Chia on her course to meet Masahiko an Otaku and the two discover that MaryAlice dumped an illegal nano-tech assembler on Chia. Blackwell and Lanely battle the Russian Mafia who are looking for the nanotech assembler, and have it out for Rez.

This is the best Gibson novel I've read other than the Difference Engine. Handsdown the epitome of post-cyberpunk, putting even Neil Stephenson to shame. The global setting has aged very well and anticipates Gibson's third trilogy in terms of its modernity. The Blackwell-Laney bromance is hilarious and gripping. Essential.

All Tomorrow's Parties
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Right. So, Rydell and Chevette broke up during the events in Idoru, Rydell goes to work as a security guard for the 7-11 brand Lucky Dragon. Chevette and her ex-boyfriend Carson still live in LA. Chevette palls around with Tesa who uses drone technology to film her everyday life, planning to make a documentary about Chevette. Laney, addicted to coughsyrup, contacts Rydell from a ghetto in Tokyo and informs him of the failed Rez/Idoru marriage. Laney, using one of the new nano-assemblers installed in the Lucky Dragon in San Fransisco sends Rydell a projector containing a copy of THE IDORU. Rydell and his buddy Buell Creedmore, dating MaryAlice and an aspiring Hank Williams cover artist- lands a gig at a Bridge bar. A group of assassins and Mercs, hired by Cody Harwood, like Laney a "netrunner" but the former a successful media entrepreneur - are chasing Laney looking for the projector. This leads them all to the bar where Creedmore is performing. Chevette meets up with Fontaine, Skinner's craftsmen who has recently found himself house-sitting Silencio, a kid who spends all his time searching the internet for priceless watches. Chevette ends up at the bar as Creedmore is set to perform. Harwood has his agents tourch the bridge, Chevette and Rydell hook up and escape to Fontaine's where with the aid of a mysterious assassin, they battle with Harwood's agents. Rydell turns THE IDORU projector over to the assassin who in turn dumps it into the Lucky-Dragon nanoassemblers churning out RL copies of the IDORU all over the world. Laney vanishes into the matrix ala Count Zero.

Not as excellent as Idoru, but damn fine all the same. The concluding book in the Bridge trilogy takes place entirely in one (24 hour) day and contains dozens of different characters and multiple storylines that demonstrate Gibson's usual mastery of the genre. Everyone meets up at the end in a bar, ala Count Zero, and the theme of Music uniting the characters continues. Gibson gets a little lazy with his villians - as usual - and some of the characters are mainly two-dimensional plot hole fillers, but otherwise this is a great conclusion to the saga. Big enough to be worth the read in terms of ideas, enthralling enough in characters to put the Sprawl trilogy to shame, and damn amusing at the same time. Hipsters even make an appearance.


Conclusion: Gibson routinely predicted the social implications of technological developments. New Mutator's mention of Chandler got me thinking of the latter's influence on Gibson which is also extensive- though I doubt these trilogies can be described as "hardboiled"- (possibly, mawk-Hardboiled). Through the cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk series the world of today emerges and science-fiction as we knew it essentially becomes obsolete. Read the Sprawl Trilogy for its profound cultural impact- movies, TV, spin-off literature, not to mention video-games!, language, etc; and read the Bridge trilogy for its mastery of the cyber-punk genre. All Tomorrow's Parties was published in 1999 and by no stretch of the imagination describes the world we've been living in since 2006 or so yet remains prophetic in 2013.

Trilogy III
Contemporary Trilogy (Pending)
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Pattern Recognition
Spook Country
Zero History

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby vinylrake » 27 May 2013, 14:14

While Gibson may have been the first to coin the word 'cyberspace', the concept of cyberspace had been explored before that. "Web of Angels' was published 4 years before Neuromancer and is the first literary description of what became the internet(aka "World Wide Web", although he expanded it to a faster than light network that allowed communication between planets). Besides the author calling it the 'web' he saw past the computing paradigm of the time in which everyone had their own computer to the current cloud/mobile computing model. In web of Angels everyone had their own small device/keyboard they could use to jack into the web. He also foresaw people who really know their way around the web (hackers) as outlaws and criminals (not a common concept in 1980).

Also, to an earlier comment, obviously Clark's 3rd law isn't an actual law. Clark's comment merely applies to how magic/fantasy and technology are *perceived* not the nature of the two things themselves. While some technology in a science-fiction setting might appear like magic to beings in a science fiction world who don't understand how it works, if the book is really science fiction then what is perceived as 'magic' is going to be based on some kind of actual technology. In fantasy fiction there's no attempt or relation between the 'magic' and the real world. That said, a lot of what gets labelled as 'sci-fi' isn't really science-fiction it's really more 'speculative fiction' - or 'what if' fiction. "Man in the High Castle" by PKD for example. PKD has written a lot of books and stories in the sci-fi genre, but MitHC is more speculative fiction ("what if the Axis powers had won world war II"?) than it is 'science-fiction'. (Being a PKD book it could very well have some sci-fi-ish elements PKD thrown in for garnish, I can't remember, but at it's heart it's a speculative fiction story)

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Re: BOOKS -- recommendations and stuff

Postby Gekko » 28 May 2013, 13:38

Oo, ty switch. I've only read the first trilogy by William Gibson. Didn't know about the rest. Gotta pick them up someday.
I also liked "The man in the high castle" a lot. It's been a long time since I've read it though.


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