Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-06-2014: Dare To Be A Bad Writer [OregonMuse]


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The Daily Kos Netroots Library MeetUp Was A Huge Success


Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately and prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.

All non-book discussion should be done while enjoying maple-bacon pancakes in the previous open thread.


A Tragedy, Not A Farce

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

OK, so a few weeks ago, I told the story of James Theis' novella The Eye of Argon, by reputation the worst SF-F story ever written. But, based on some comments in the thread, I went back and re-read it more carefully, and now I'm kind of sorry I piled on. It's actually not that bad.

Oh, it's plenty bad, alright, but it's not bad-bad. It's badness comes chiefly from questionable word usage and outright malapropisms, and some of them are, admittedly, hilariously funny. And you can tell that Theis has spent way too much time reading Robert E. Howard. But, to his credit, the pacing is good, and the story is consistent. A while back, I was asked to critique a story written by a friend of Mrs. Muse, and one of the mistakes was a complete shift of point of view. It start out using a more or less omniscient perspective but then, about 2/3rds of the way through, with no warning, we're listening to the story being told to us in the first person by the main character. I suppose a more experienced, competent writer could make something like this work, but this author did not have such skills. It was very jarring and amateurish, and she obviously didn't know what she was doing. But I don't think this was the case with Theis, there's nothing that bad in EoA. I think Theis knew what he wanted to do, he just did it clumsily.

Even his worst malapropisms aren't completely hopeless:

Startled by the barbarians stunning appearance...and the fear that Grignr might be the avantgarde of a conquering force dedicated to the cause of destroying their degenerated cult, the saman momentarily lost their composure.

So WTH does "avantgarde" mean in the context of an action scene? Well, it doesn't mean anything, it's actually the wrong word. I think Theis meant "vanguard" here, not "avantgarde". Even though we can all have a hearty laugh, it's actually a good thing: It's easy to see that Theis had heard the correct word, knew what it meant, knew how to use it, but got it confused with another, similar-sounding word. This is a forgivable mistake, which would have been corrected in the first-draft editing, if OSFAN ever had such a thing. Theis was trying to imitate something he had heard or read, and was trying to get it to work for him. That's a laudable goal for a beginning writer. Sometimes in art museums, you see art students in front of famous paintings with their paints and easels out, copying the work of the master. Theis is doing something similar here, imitating the overly-florid writing styles of early pulp writers like Howard and HP Lovecraft. In short, there's nothing wrong with Theis' writing that couldn't be fixed by practice and experience.

Some of years ago, a friend of mine told me he was in a writers' group, and that this group called itself the "Dare To Be Bad Writers Club". The idea is that all of these aspiring writers knew that most of what they wrote was going to suck, but that that shouldn't be a deterrent to writing. They knew they would improve only if they stunk out the joint first.

The wiki entry for James Theis indicates that was stung by how badly his story was received, and that he never wrote anything else. I think that's sad, because the potential is clearly there.

I wish I had some device that would enable me to send messages back in time. If I could, I'd tell him "Jim, this story you just published in OSFAN is going to become a laughingstock. But whatever you do, however bad it hurts, don't let it discourage you. Those guys laughing at you couldn't string two sentences together to save their own lives. I'm not going to say your story is good, because it obviously needs a lot of editing and rewriting, but that's the way it is. Nobody is ever good at anything the first time they do it. Or second, or third. You need to ignore the laughing and work hard at perfecting your craft. And the only way you're going to do that is practice, practice, practice. So please don't give up."

A List of Children's Books That Look Death in the Eye

There are some interesting books on this small list. I had never heard of the one by Terry Pratchett, Nation. Also, the excerpt from Charlotte's Web is heartbreaking. I cry like a little girl every time I read it.

And speaking of which, E.B. White's interesting correspondence concerning some of the ideas behind his writing Charlotte's Web can be read here. I really like the way he writes.


The Smashwords Summer Sale Is On

And it lasts the entire month of July. Many authors of many genres are offering their eBooks at reduced prices, including free. Click here to browse the titles.


Another Independent Brick-And-Mortar Bookstore Bites The Dust

Any of you morons in SoCal?

Brand Bookshop in Glendale, CA, is closing its doors after 29 years:

A used bookstore with a vast, eclectic selection, Brand Bookshop was one of the largest bookstores of its kind in Southern California. In addition to the books in its sprawling Glendale store it has a large stock warehoused offsite, totaling more than 100,000 books.

I'm sorry to hear this.


Books of Note

The 5th installment of the Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter Nemesis, by the eeeeeevil Lord of Hate Larry Correia was released last week. And I hope it becomes a huge bestseller for Larry if for no other reason than it will result in his his enemies weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth.

___________

Is it safe? The political thriller Marathon Man by William Goldman is on sale for less than $3 (Kindle edition) until July 31st. Goldman is also the author of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure. In my opinion, the movie is better.


Books By Morons

Another moron author heard from. Long time reader "Gnardo Polo" has written a Celtic fantasy (I never knew this sub-genre existed before now) about a young man who needs to learn to be a good man before he can be a leader of his people.

"Wizard's Heir" is available on Kindle for $2.99.

And this is not his first book. Gnardo is the author of a number of other fantasy novels.

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Funding For A Moronette: Part-time author and full-time moronette Anna Puma is seeking funds so she can complete the writing of her 'Sluggor' novel. Hopefully some of you morons can lay off the Valu-Rite and Czech pr0n for a day or two and pass along a few pfennigs her way.

Also, Anna recommends The Keep by F. Paul Wilson, he of 'Repairman Jack' fame. Anna saus it's not your typical vampire story. It asks, at what price will you sell your soul for vengeance?


What I'm Reading

I saw that the Kindle edition of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang was on sale for $1.99, so I snapped it up. Mrs. Muse highly recommends this biographical view of modern Chinese history as seen through the eyes of a daughter, her mother, and her grandmother. It starts out with the grandmother as a teen-aged girl, given as a concubine in 1909 to a local warlord, and Chang's description of those times is one of chaos and barbarism (Note: you do NOT want to Google for images of footbinding. Trust me on this). Chang's mother married a zealous communist party official who was denounced and purged during the Cultural Revolution. Chang herself was a Red Guard for a period of time, and also she worked as a doctor, electrician, and steelworker.

What drives me crazy in the reviews is that they really, really want to excuse the horrific crimes of communism. Like this:

Working as a "barefoot doctor" with no training, Chang saw the oppressive, inhuman side of communism

OK, so what if somebody wrote this:

Working as a writer and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw the oppressive, inhuman side of Naziism

I'm guessing the person who wrote the sentence I quoted first would be OUTRAGED! if he or she ever read the second.

And these reviews keep referring to the "excesses" of communism, as if it were a wonderful thing that got ruined because somebody took it just a little bit too far, refusing to acknowledge the truth of Solzhenitsyn's observations that the concentration camps, purges, and mass killing are there, and always will be there from the very beginning.

But read Chang's book.

Jung Chang is also the author of Mao: The Untold Story.


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So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:04 AM




Comments

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1 First?

Posted by: EC at July 06, 2014 10:02 AM (doBIb)

2 First-ish?

Posted by: Yep, I'm a nerd at July 06, 2014 10:03 AM (FCgaq)

3 Dang. So close...

Posted by: Yep, I'm a nerd at July 06, 2014 10:03 AM (FCgaq)

4 Space by James Michener, I really need to go book shopping.
Thanks for this blog OM!

Posted by: FCF at July 06, 2014 10:03 AM (Khja4)

5 Aren't "avant garde" and "vanguard" cognate?

Posted by: Dr. Varno at July 06, 2014 10:06 AM (RmZpe)

6 You can't possibly judge a _published_ SF/F story to be the worst ever written. The truly astonishing examples of suck never make it out of the slush pile. Ask around for slush readers to send you their favorite examples of unmitigated sh*tfulness. It won't be Vogon poetry, but it will be much closer than you thought possible.

Posted by: bittergeek at July 06, 2014 10:06 AM (bBZdU)

7 Avant garde means advanced guard,or vanguard.Doesn't it?

Posted by: steevy at July 06, 2014 10:11 AM (zqvg6)

8 Got the first six Dresden File novels by Jim Butcher on the Kindle Daily Deal awhile back. Plowing through them now. Light reading and fun. Not great literature of course, but it isn't meant to be. The interesting thing is, per Wiki, he wrote the first one for a writing teacher to prove that anyone could churn out genre dreck. And now I think he's on book 15. Paying the rent, so good for him.

Posted by: Todd W at July 06, 2014 10:13 AM (lrkg9)

9 I've been trying to read "To Demons Bound" by Robert Vardeman and Geo W Proctor. First in what is shaping up to be an unreadable series.

I'd enjoyed another series Vardeman cowrote: "War of Powers", with Victor Milan. But where that one's prose was snappy and witty, the prose in TDB would gag James Theis. Theis would note at least one abrupt shift in perspective, for instance.

There's something in Howard "homages" that brings out a writer's inner moron.

Posted by: boulder t'hobo at July 06, 2014 10:14 AM (3kZUM)

10 I read The Keep a while back and did not care for it.

Posted by: steevy at July 06, 2014 10:16 AM (zqvg6)

11 FYI - To Kill a Mockingbird hits iBooks this week.

Posted by: Jaydee at July 06, 2014 10:17 AM (E5DLT)

12 Who among us has not trod the path of Jophan?

http://tinyurl.com/monyfbz

Posted by: All Hail Eris at July 06, 2014 10:18 AM (QBm1P)

13 Just finished a fantastic book called The Emperor of All Maladies about the history of cancer. I was afraid it would be dry, but it moves pretty quickly and is incredibly interesting.

Posted by: Jenny Hates Her Phone at July 06, 2014 10:21 AM (GmTxn)

14 Aren't "avant garde" and "vanguard" cognate?

Avant garde means advanced guard,or vanguard.Doesn't it?

Hmmm... You guys are probably right. I still think he meant to use 'vanguard', though.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 10:22 AM (+ahS9)

15 Hit Half Price books yesterday, and on the advice of someone - a 'ron? I picked up a copy of Book Two: Sharing Knife Legacy, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Only a chapter or so in, and of course I guess all the world-building must have been in Book One, but ... OK, so far.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at July 06, 2014 10:23 AM (Asjr7)

16 I started to read the reviews for the Wild Swans book and had to stop. The supposed serious comments by the readers were washed over by their abhorrent spelling that distracted me from what they were attempting to say.

The Stupid. It Burns

Posted by: exsanguine at July 06, 2014 10:23 AM (WiAcn)

17 for morons, you guys are smart. Wikipedia notes that "avant-garde" is basically the same as vanguard. My guess is that the writer in question just decided to go with the fancier sounding word, which is often a sign of a second rate writer.
It's as Roger Price wrote years ago, people with a limited vocabulary will often stretch words out to make them sound more impressive, for example, saying "in -ter-rest-ting" instead of "in-tress-ting".

Posted by: mallfly at July 06, 2014 10:25 AM (zjcTL)

18 Oh, and speaking of works in progress, I'd like to invite everyone to check out the chapters posted for the in-progress YA historical adventure - Lone Star Sons. It's a kind of remake of the Lone Ranger with the identifying elements carefully filed off, but historical and aimed at tweens. (website www.celiahayes.com, and go to the tab for Lone Star Sons.)
Any feedback, criticism, comment or suggestions are welcome. It will be out in the fall, in paperback, but all the chapters so far are on my website.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at July 06, 2014 10:27 AM (Asjr7)

19 For another entry into the "books I'm not going to finish" pile: Mack Reynolds and Dean Ing, "Trojan Orbit".

Reynolds (like Obama) was raised by a commie, and swiftly joined the Socialist Labor Party - or whatever the hell it was called. Then the SLP tossed him on his ass for the usual Not Following The Line garbage. So he wrote some SF and got sick, so his last few books were finished and published posthumously. Dean Ing got this one. So what you get here is a "critique" of deep-space capitalism.

Some corporation has built a space-station at Earth's "trojan" Lagrange point - trailing behind Earth in its orbit - and another base on the Moon. The station is failing, both physically and economically; and an inspector is sent to ascertain some solutions. Along for the ride is a jewel-thief who needs to avoid Earth for awhile, and a Soviet agent (Reynolds was one of those anti-Soviet commies; he'd be a Krugmanite today).

Reynolds hasn't the chops to show us why Capitalism Doesn't Work - it is literally true that "Elysium" is better - so the critique is handled through dialogue.

And the dialogue is awful. I could especially do without the slang. Everyone saws "wizard" when something is good, and call each other "chum-pal". Floozies are "mopsies". It reads like some hack trying to mimic 1920s gangster movies and 1950s sitcoms at once.

I'd picked this up at a used-book store, because for some unfathomable reason it's no longer in print. I don't know about Kindle though.

Posted by: boulder t'hobo at July 06, 2014 10:31 AM (3kZUM)

20 Theis was only about 17 when he wrote it, so I can give him some slack.

Nowadays I know 30 and 40 year olds who have the grammar skills of a 4th grader.

Posted by: Dr. Varno at July 06, 2014 10:31 AM (RmZpe)

21 "Dare to be a bad writer" - this is excellent advice.

Oldest kid has writing talent; I always tell her to just "vomit the words onto the page and just go back and edit after." (Actually I tell her to do this for essays too; she tends to be the type type type backspace backspace backspace kind of essay writer"; takes forever).

Speaking of bad writers, I thought the book Princess Bride was awful. And yet the movie rocked.

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 10:33 AM (GSIDW)

22 Right now I am reading Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler. It's steam punk alternate history where the Egyptian Empire rules the world. The set-up is imaginative enough to get over the usual lefty-ness and the unlikeability of the main character.

I read Diana Gabaldon's latest installment in the Outlander series; quite satisfying & way better than the last 2 books, imo.

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 10:37 AM (GSIDW)

23 Maybe I'll get some old-fashioned writing done in the next few days. The power will probably be out, and the weather might inspire me to work with the classic Pearls Before Swine line: "It was a dark and stormy night. The sea was filled with angry monkeys."

Posted by: pookysgirl at July 06, 2014 10:38 AM (xHrex)

24 The Startup Owners Manual, which I use in teaching a course on early stage startup entrepreneurship, celebrates trying and failing and trying again, though to be considered acceptable in academic circles that is described as validating business model hypotheses and pivoting.

Posted by: Motionview at July 06, 2014 10:39 AM (e6TyM)

25 Btw, OregonMuse, thanks for the book thread. I always look forward to it all week.

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 10:43 AM (GSIDW)

26 The editor is your friend...sometimes. In the first edition of my novel, the editor misunderstood an idea I was trying to convey and changed it; screwing it up. My mistake: not checking her work thoroughly.

Posted by: baldilocks at July 06, 2014 10:43 AM (36Rjy)

27 Just finished MH: Nemesis (It came out two weeks early on Kindle) and am now about 1/4 through the first Grimnoir novel.

Dude's got chops; his stuff is not normally my cuppa tea, but all the flak he took after his Hugo nomination made me think he couldn't be all bad. And here I am, 2 months later having read all five MHI and now a Grimnoir. The SJW brigade earned him an easy $40 from me, and there's still more to spend.

Posted by: Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer at July 06, 2014 10:44 AM (Nk6GS)

28 Finished "The Martian", which I really liked. Now I need to get back to "Speaker for the Dead". Which I will tonight, when I go back to work.


Concerning "The Keep". Decent book, terrible, and I mean terrible, movie adaptation if you've ever seen it. My problem with the book is that it is pretty much a rip-off of the short story "The Devil is Not Mocked". Same idea of Nazi's in a Castle who come across something that is far bigger and more evil than they are. And that thought struck me immediately upon reading the book when it first came out.

Posted by: HH at July 06, 2014 10:46 AM (XXwdv)

29 I love to read but just haven't been able to get into it lately..too much to do in the summer. I am waiting for Daniel Silva's new book to come out on Tuesday and hopefully that will get me back in the swing of it.

Posted by: Molly k. at July 06, 2014 10:47 AM (EFsqh)

30 Michener's only good novel was The Source, being one of the rare documented instances he did not include his drier-than-a-popcorn-fart historical research notes as the first 50 pages.

Posted by: jwpaine at July 06, 2014 10:47 AM (68O4K)

31 A screenwriting pal told me you had to write at least six before you could write a decent one.

Pretty true.

Posted by: PJ at July 06, 2014 10:47 AM (cHuNI)

32 Speaking of bad writers, I thought the book Princess Bride was awful. And yet the movie rocked.

Yeah, this is pretty much my opinion, too. I think it's one of those rare cases where Hollywood actually improved the original material.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 10:47 AM (+ahS9)

33 This is something of a minor SPOILER ALERT for-

"The Guinea Pigs" by Ludovik Vaculik

Vaculik was a samizdat novelist when Czechoslovia was behind the Iron Curtain.

"The Guinea Pigs" was written during that time.
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Switching point of view, if done properly can be tremendously effective.

The first time I read "The Guinea Pigs" I was completely blown away by the shift in point of view from 1st person to 3rd toward the very end of the novel.

It was integral to the story and indicated something that, well, I found completely believable and profoundly frightening in a philosophical manner.

YMMV - but I've never forgotten it.

I've promised myself to use this type of shift in a novel at some point. So, far I haven't found a proper use for it.
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For an example of a really lousy, amateurish, and trolling your reader's use of shift in point of view by a major American writer- 1st to omniscient 3rd-

check out, or rather don't

Kurt Vonnegut's "Slapstick".

Posted by: naturalfake at July 06, 2014 10:49 AM (KBvAm)

34 The worst stuff can also be the funniest. For that, there is fan-fiction.

If you dare, look up the Robocop/Batman fan-fic... and yes, it is detachable...

Posted by: The Fictional Hat at July 06, 2014 10:50 AM (lN8KC)

35 Finished The Circle by Dave Eggers. Awesome!! And I never use that word. Then Facebook starts manipulating our emotions...so I guess it ain't sci-fi, it's the truth.

Posted by: PJ at July 06, 2014 10:50 AM (cHuNI)

36 I have dared to be a bad writer. Well, my commie sock puppet did, anyway.

Posted by: Prez'nit 404 at July 06, 2014 10:50 AM (Dwehj)

37 Some of years ago, a friend of mine told me he was in a writers' group, and that this group called itself the "Dare To Be Bad Writers Club". The idea is that all of these aspiring writers knew that most of what they wrote was going to suck, but that that shouldn't be a deterrent to writing. They knew they would improve only if they stunk out the joint first.


This is the entire point of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. Just. Fucking. Write. Just sit there and pound at the keyboard and vomit the words on the page.

Then you can go back and fix it later. But you have to get the first draft done before you can do that.

Posted by: alexthechick - Oh save us mighty SMOD at July 06, 2014 10:50 AM (dMSj2)

38 28 I love MWW ,was introduced to his work by David Drake.

Posted by: steevy at July 06, 2014 10:51 AM (zqvg6)

39
Hitler: The untold story...dog lover, vegan

Posted by: wait what? at July 06, 2014 10:52 AM (PG7Uu)

40 I'm sure I have read The Devil is not Mocked but I am drawing a blank on it.

Posted by: steevy at July 06, 2014 10:53 AM (zqvg6)

41 Reading Michael Crichton" "State of Fear".
Amazing its ten years old and 20 years prescient about the globull warmening scam. And a really good read.

Posted by: meleager at July 06, 2014 10:54 AM (UXopz)

42 "Gnardo is the author of a number of other fantasy novels."

Knew I had heard the author's name as soon as I clicked over. Have read the first two of his "Cricket" series (also Celtic fantasy) and enjoyed them. Need to get the last once budget permits.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at July 06, 2014 10:57 AM (GDulk)

43 Avant garde means advanced guard,or vanguard.Doesn't it?

In French, yes, but in English, it's not used to describe the military formation.

I mean, I haven't read All The Books, but I've never heard it used that way.

Posted by: Waterhouse at July 06, 2014 10:57 AM (q2Ojj)

44 In my reading of the Crusades I got through the siege of Antioch, which succeeded mainly because an insider let the Crusaders in through a ladder. Antioch was huge and with two mountains on one side and walls with numerous gates, was nearly impossible to seal off. Although the Olderbourg book gave a satisfactory description of what happened, the Asbridge book contained more maps and photos to illustrate the situation the Crusaders were facing (also Asbridge concentrates only on the first Crusade where Oldenbourg talks about all of them).


Made some progress in "The Red Fortress" through the commies takeover and WW2. It was funny early in the Lenin times when a lot of people in his circle didn't want to be around Stalin because they considered the Georgian such a boorish oaf. I'm sure they had plenty of time to contemplate the foolishness of uttering that in the Gulag assuming they didn't meet a more sudden end. Between destroying the cathedrals and churches and their dimwitted dogshit projects that often got left half completed, the commies were fucking disasters for any aesthetic and historical aspects of the Kremlin. It's funny how when I was growing up Kruschev always looked like an ogre, particularly how the MFM wanted to contrast him to the youthful Kennedy, but he was such a breath of fresh air compared to Stalin, whom he forcefully and specifically repudiated. I should have this completed next week.

Posted by: Captain Hate at July 06, 2014 10:58 AM (2HuZ3)

45 I just finished "The Eagle Has Landed," by Jack Higgins.

I wanted to like it...I really did. But the dialog was awful, the plot was predictable, and the characters were straight out of central casting.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 06, 2014 10:58 AM (QFxY5)

46 Write, yes, bad writing, ok, but for practice.

Don't publish it

rewrite it, take the story idea and do over.

and edit, edit, edit.

Posted by: Slow Fester, apprentice fry cook at July 06, 2014 11:00 AM (BPH0o)

47 "A screenwriting pal told me you had to write at least six before you could write a decent one."

Stephen King used the "Richard Bachmann" alias to unload his pre-Carrie crap on us. "Rage" and "The Long Walk" didn't sell. (There's also "Blaze" - which he unloaded later, because it was even worse.)

But then "Bachmann" switched to posting a book he'd written later on - "Thinner" - which was competent and in King's usual oeuvre of supernatural horror. That book sold, and he got outed.

The Bachmann Books are worth reading just for the illustration of how beginning writers stumble toward a winning formula.

Posted by: boulder t'hobo at July 06, 2014 11:01 AM (3kZUM)

48 The only scifi I've ever read was an excellent short story anthology edited by Asamov called "Tomorrow's Children." Now out of print but used copies available online. My favorite was the Bixby story, "It's a Good Life" which was made into a Twilight Zone episode.

Anyway, all the stories have children as protagonists and there is something especially chilling when children are the villains or the victims in stories.

Posted by: Semi-engaged Scroller at July 06, 2014 11:05 AM (/cUUk)

49 Just finished "Empire of the Summer Moon" by SC Gwynne, about the wars between white settlers in Texas and the Comanches, focusing largely on the Comanche war chief Quanah Parker. It is the rare book on the conflict with the Indians that is respectful of them without whitewashing their brutality. It avoids a simplistic "white man bad, red man good" point of view. Loved the book.

Posted by: radar at July 06, 2014 11:06 AM (tt1Et)

50 I just started a mystery called "The Edge of Normal" by Carla Norton. Pretty good, so far.


I'm also reading "Blood Feud" on my Kindle and it is most entertaining: the battle of the narcissistic, borderline, psychopathic titans. How did our beloved country fall so far?

I got "The Amateur" to listen to in the car, although I decided to start with something lighter: one of those Ann Rule collections, this one being mostly about Susan Powell and her psychopathic family-by-marriage.

And I finally got my Catholic Study Bible - had to order used since it's so darned expensive but I got a real nice hardback copy, doesn't look like anyone ever opened it so I guess I better fix that. And I'm waiting on my copy of the catechism and then I'll be fully equipped for my studies.

Posted by: Tonestaple at July 06, 2014 11:06 AM (B7YN4)

51 One of the things I find sadly ironic is that at least in our neck of the woods the giant big-box bookstores killed off the smaller hangout type stores, only to fold themselves. Now we're left with nothing.

One of my favorite places to hang out on a rainy afternoon was Upstart Crow, one of those funny dusty semi-dangerous uneven floor places that served coffee/pastries and the usual hippie channeling a beatnik with an out of tune guitar in the front. (I think they're in San Diego now). a Barnes and Noble moved in literally next door and they were gone faster than a chocolate croissant. Then, the Barnes and Noble did so well that they opened a bigger and better one across the street. (!?!?) I remembered thinking how "that's retardit sir", and reading what BN had to say about that. Next to this BN was a Starbucks and, across the street was, a Starbucks. Then came a Borders.

I started ordering from Amazon as I couldn't find squat in these stores - kind of like a Home Depot. I guess part of it was I felt no interest in wandering through the piles and shelves - there was no mystique. Only sterile departments broken down into sub departments. I just wanted to get in and get out. And why would I want a starbucks when there's a real one next door with more stuff I don't want?

You guessed it, the big books ate themselves and we were left with...

Well at least in Los Altos and Menlo Park Kepler's still survives because of the rich hippies.

Posted by: Clutch Cargo at July 06, 2014 11:07 AM (7HjKx)

52 Posted by: HH at July 06, 2014 10:46 AM (XXwdv)

That must have become a trope. I've seen "Young Indiana Jones" and an animated "Hellboy" movies about that exact subject.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at July 06, 2014 11:07 AM (GDulk)

53 Books the Mrs has lying around, acquired for a few dimes apiece at the resale shop. At those prices, it's easy to pick up lots of books she would probably otherwise not sample.

Covers only. You want to know contents, ask the Mrs.

"As seen on Oprah"
Robert Holden
Happiness Now
Timeless wisdom for feeling good fast
(Overpriced, I'd guess, at 20.)

Seven decisions that determine personal success
The Traveler's Gift
Andy Andrews
"Good Morning America Read This!"

Oprah and to a lesser extent GMA seem like automatic red flags to me.

This one I've read and mentioned on AoS, awhile back, I see Milady is re-reading:

John Powell, S.J.
Will the Real Me Please Stand Up
(So we can all get to know you)
"25 Guidelines for Good Communication"
with Loretta Brady, M.S.W.

J. Ellsworth Kalas
The Ten Commandments from the Back Side
(I asked, is that where eleven through twenty were carved?)

The Life God Blesses
Weathering the Storms of Life That Threaten the Soul
Gordon MacDonald
"includes study guide"

The Promise of the Second Wind
It's Never Too Late to Pursue God's Best
Bill Butterworth & Dean Merrill
Foreword by Lee Strobel

That's what's on tip of the iceberg this week. fwiw

Personally, I miss Tony Hillerman.

Posted by: mindful webworker in Milady's library at July 06, 2014 11:07 AM (EXESF)

54 One of my favorite places to hang out on a rainy afternoon was Upstart Crow, one of those funny dusty semi-dangerous uneven floor places that served coffee/pastries and the usual hippie channeling a beatnik with an out of tune guitar in the front.

I've visited the Crow a few times, way back when during my misspent yoot... Long time ago now.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 11:11 AM (+ahS9)

55 I'm reading, rereading actually, a local author James Welch's "Indian Lawyer". A movie about his book "Winter in the Blood" was released last year. I heard it got decent reviews, but I haven't seen it yet. It never made the local theatre.

Posted by: fairweatherbill at July 06, 2014 11:11 AM (X3pvy)

56 I devoured the first two novels about Thomas Cromwell--"Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" and am eagerly awaiting the third and final book in the trilogy.

If you enjoy excellent writing that verges on the lyrical, hard-hitting political intrigue and well-drawn characters...Anyway, both books by Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize--well-deserved.

Posted by: Semi-engaged Scroller at July 06, 2014 11:11 AM (/cUUk)

57 Reading Bloodlands by Snyder which is absolutely chilling and going to be on the required reading list for my sons-in-law. If things go to hell, they are to forget their normal gentlemanly behavior and protect the wives and grandkids.

Also reading Brewster by Mark Slouka. Recommended in Running Times magazine. Too many f-bombs to recommend it to my junior high runners.

Also recommended in RT was my book, Finishing Kick. It lacks the f-bombs, gratuitous sex, and vampires necessary for a major New York publishing house, but if you have kids getting ready to run cross country, this is a book they'll like. And you won't e embarrassed that they're reading it.

Posted by: longrunningfool at July 06, 2014 11:12 AM (ECaoJ)

58 Good to know, boulder!

To those who speak of just pounding out the first draft--yes, do it. Your mind is of two parts: creator and critic. You have to find a way to silence the critic to get that first draft. BTW writers call that "the sh***y first draft." Maybe you can think of something cleaner to tell the kids!

BTW I also told my students in high school and college about this agonizing over not being a "real" writer and going from chapter 1 to the conclusion in one sitting. Just get a first draft, the badder the better! Just get to "the end" and then get all writerly about it.

Posted by: PJ at July 06, 2014 11:14 AM (cHuNI)

59 Read the first two MHI books this week. Main character is a Mary Sue. Grant Jefferson is a caricature. He should have hooked up with Holly.

That said, the other characters are great (especially the Orks--"TASTE VENGEANCE OF SKIPPY!"). The gun porn is cool and the action is as well. Will keep reading.

Posted by: Secundus at July 06, 2014 11:17 AM (U1oVO)

60 So did they end up with Shakespeare or Das Kapital?

Posted by: Insomniac at July 06, 2014 11:18 AM (mx5oN)

61 51 One of the things I find sadly ironic is that at least in our neck of the woods the giant big-box bookstores killed off the smaller hangout type stores, only to fold themselves. Now we're left with nothing.

There's always the library I guess. Coffee's probably not as good though, although some larger public libraries do have cafes.

Posted by: Insomniac at July 06, 2014 11:19 AM (mx5oN)

62 PJ -
More than one way to go about it. I write in basically a single draft, mostly start to finish unless I need to unload a scene because it's a distraction. Then I do a clean-up/light edit to get all the elements working properly and to flesh out stuff that I left a little too thin.

Posted by: longrunningfool at July 06, 2014 11:24 AM (ECaoJ)

63 Testing new laptop ampersands

Posted by: Mr Wizard at July 06, 2014 11:24 AM (gmrH5)

64 &&& that's better

Posted by: Mr Wizard at July 06, 2014 11:25 AM (gmrH5)

65 Testing new laptop ampersands

Looks like they didn't come through.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 11:26 AM (+ahS9)

66 BRB, writing the Great American Novel...aaaand done!

Posted by: Insomniac at July 06, 2014 11:26 AM (mx5oN)

67 Oh, there they are.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 11:26 AM (+ahS9)

68 64 &&& that's better
Posted by: Mr Wizard at July 06, 2014 11:25 AM (gmrH5)

You Platinum Membership holders, always having to flaunt it.

Posted by: Insomniac at July 06, 2014 11:27 AM (mx5oN)

69 "Empires of the Word" - Nicholas Ostler. Read it.

Posted by: SFGoth at July 06, 2014 11:27 AM (ZNiFh)

70 It takes time and a certain amount of cussedness. I was 14 when I put my first story in the mail to a magazine, hoping they'd buy it. I was 34 when I sold something.

Damn, that mail was slow.

Seriously, you definitely have to be willing to fail, to look at your own darlings and figure out how they're flawed, and scrap them when they're just not fixable.

One useful morale-building technique is to seek out and read bad published fiction. Read a novel by Clive Cussler or Dan Brown and say to yourself, "I can do better than that."

Posted by: Trimegistus at July 06, 2014 11:27 AM (XDf+Z)

71 I recognize many of the Kos Kidz in that pic. Huge supporters of mine, I'm proud to say.

Posted by: Prez'nit 404 at July 06, 2014 11:28 AM (Dwehj)

72
here's a good read, but it's a blog:

http://earlyamericanists.com/

Young scholars who know their shit discuss early American history.

Posted by: Soothsayer of The Righteous And Harmonious Fists (-449 days left) at July 06, 2014 11:30 AM (Cadn7)

73 Currently reading-

"The Rhesus Chart" by Charles Stross

This is one of the "Laundry Files" novels in which, Bob Howard, our hero works for a branch of the British Secret Service dedicated to stopping inter dimensional, Lovecraftian horrors from breaking into our world.

"Case Nightmare Green", the return of the horrors to Earth, seems closer than ever and the novel is a bit darker and less cheeky than those which came before.


So far it's good and a return to form for one of my favorite writers.

Stross seems to have gotten over his need to tell that he thinks Christians and particularly evangelicals, are stupid, stupid, hypocritical stupidheads and ruin his story, as he did with his last Laundry Files novel, "The Apocalypse Codex" with lame-ass leftard tropes, instead of, you know, actually developing a logical plot and characters that could exist on planet Earth.

I suppose like so many leftie writers he thought the Socialist Rapture was upon us with the election of TFG and used "The Apocalypse Codex" to pile on and show he was a good little leftard. Perhaps now, the massive corruption and colossal fail of King Putt has made him a bit wiser.

Anyway, "The Rhesus Chart" so far Is a good return to form and a fun read.

Posted by: naturalfake at July 06, 2014 11:32 AM (KBvAm)

74 "Read a novel by Clive Cussler or Dan Brown and say to yourself, "I can do better than that."


Hang on a second. They are prime best-sellers. Why would you want to do any better?


Hell, if the bar is that low...

Posted by: HH at July 06, 2014 11:33 AM (XXwdv)

75 a novel by Clive Cussler or Dan Brown

They read kind of like one of Uncle Joe's coloring books.

Posted by: Prez'nit 404 at July 06, 2014 11:36 AM (Dwehj)

76 Recently re-read John Stewart Mill's "On Liberty" and James FitzJames Stephen's response "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."

Mill comes across like a whiny teenager with an idea that he thinks is spiffier than it is. In essence, he was complaining that "society" wasn't totes cool with people doing whatever they wanted. In other words, the squares were harshing his mellow.

Stephens, in contrast, wrote like an adult. Best quote by him:

"Originality consists in thinking for yourself,not in thinking differently from other people."

Posted by: The FitzHat at July 06, 2014 11:38 AM (lN8KC)

77 I just finished "The Eagle Has Landed," by Jack Higgins.

I
wanted to like it...I really did. But the dialog was awful, the plot
was predictable, and the characters were straight out of central
casting.


Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at July 06, 2014 10:58 AM (QFxY5)

The movie is great. Michael Caine as Colonel Steiner. Donald Pleasance as Himmler. Robert Duvall as Colonel Radl.And! Donald Sutherland as feisty Irish revolutionary Liam Devlin, and how could anyone forget Jenny Agutter (JENNY! AGUTTER!!!) as Molly.It really is a must watch if you love a good war movie.

Posted by: Sharkman at July 06, 2014 11:41 AM (rXB/r)

78 @49 Radar - YES! IMHO Empire of the Summer Moon is a good read. I read the book before I read any reviews, which is a refreshing approach. Its a history that reads nothing like dry-as-a-popcorn-fart history. Therefore it irritates the loincloths of the politically correct crowd, since it doesn't hyper-emphasize the nasty, brutish White-eye conquest of the peace loving, wymmin-worshipping, basket-weaving peyote-eaters. Neither did it egregiously attempt to preserve the notion of Christian exceptionality, nor waste chapters to bolster "Anglo male ego" as is alleged by some of the more pearl-clutching reviewers. I don't think it is a definitive book, but believe it contributes to the body of knowledge on the Comanche, and the events of the time. If referring to Indians as Indians (instead of First Peoples) or descriptions of scalpings and mutilations as "savage" offend thine eye, well, pluck thee, and all that.

Posted by: Amelia Earhart died in the dark at July 06, 2014 11:41 AM (AJs/D)

79 HH: I mean write better, not necessarily sell better. Cussler and Brown both benefit mightily from being brand names, with associated marketing machinery and hype. They no longer have to produce good novels, they just have to produce Clive Cussler or Dan Brown novels (even if someone else actually does the writing).

But compare Raise the Titanic with some of Cussler's recent work. That first novel was a real thriller, interesting and new. Now? He's not just phoning it in, I doubt he even knows the titles of the books being published under his name any more.

Posted by: Trimegistus at July 06, 2014 11:42 AM (XDf+Z)

80 I devoured the first two novels about Thomas
Cromwell--"Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" and am eagerly awaiting
the third and final book in the trilogy.



If you enjoy excellent writing that verges on the lyrical,
hard-hitting political intrigue and well-drawn characters...Anyway, both
books by Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize--well-deserved.

Posted by: Semi-engaged Scroller at July 06, 2014 11:11 AM (/cUUk)


Somebody in my book group was talking about Wolf Hall yesterday; between that and your description my interest is piqued.

Posted by: Captain Hate at July 06, 2014 11:43 AM (2HuZ3)

81 6,270 votes in the movie poll from last night. Ummmm, that's a lot.

Posted by: Lincolntf at July 06, 2014 11:46 AM (ZshNr)

82 Is that a picture from a Moron Meetup?

Posted by: Mr Wizard at July 06, 2014 11:46 AM (gmrH5)

83 I asked this last week, but nobody answered. Has anybody read Jon Krakauer's book on Pat Tillman? Some of the cover blurbs made me think that it might be something of a hit job against Tillman and/or W.

Posted by: Weirddave at July 06, 2014 11:50 AM (N/cFh)

84 Posted by: Trimegistus at July 06, 2014 11:42 AM (XDf+Z)



Yeah, I see your point. Especially in the 'co-written' part. Just extending something that should have ended with the original author.


Kind of sad, but I guess that's just how it is.

Posted by: HH at July 06, 2014 11:50 AM (XXwdv)

85 I liked Wolf Hall but couldn't get into Bringing Up the Bodies for some reason.
Maybe I just wasn't in the proper mood.

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 11:51 AM (GSIDW)

86 6,270 votes in the movie poll from last night. Ummmm, that's a lot

Heh. I voted like I was in Chicago. I'm sure many other morons did the same.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 11:52 AM (+ahS9)

87 What movie won?

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 11:54 AM (GSIDW)

88 That was a wonderful letter of E.B. White, Oregon Muse. Thanks for that and as always for the book thread. Such a nice "breather" in the midst of politics.

I am mostly just reading things I have read before including "The Essential Wisdom Of the Saints" edited by Carol Kelly-Ganghi a book of only about 115 pages which contains such delightful comments such as:

"The safest remedy against thousand snares and wiles of the enemy is spiritual joy"

St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

and this one on human nature which made me chuckle:

Look at me . God's mercy has preserved me in this day in bodily virginity, but I confess that I have not escaped from the imperfection of being more excited by the conversation of a young woman than being talked at by an old woman.

St. Dominic (1170-1221)

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at July 06, 2014 11:54 AM (k1KSf)

89 Read the Wildside edition of the Eye . Darrell has some interesting insight .

Posted by: DrDrill at July 06, 2014 11:54 AM (LFHpm)

90 Something I stumbled upon and don't remember mentioned here: 'The Tome of Bill'. Book 1 is 'Bill the Vampire'.

It's a genre right up moron alley: vampire fiction/comedy.

I read the first book and immediately thought two things:

1. The writer (Rick Gualteiri) most read this moronblog.

2. This is EXACTLY what would happen if Ace was turned into a vampire.

The books are cheap on kindle and hilarious. I don't often laugh out loud when I'm reading. This is the first book that had me doing that in a long time.

Trust me and buy the compendium.

Posted by: phat at July 06, 2014 11:54 AM (pbPW0)

91 Haven't read the Tillman book, but heard talk that it was a bit piece.

I'm starting Lawrence in Arabia. I don't know a lot about the subjects covered or the era. I can tell you that it is well written and interesting so far.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at July 06, 2014 11:55 AM (Lqy/e)

92 This past week I've been rereading, rather than reading. I dipped back into _Declare_, by Tim Powers. Still the greatest supernatural spy novel ever.

Posted by: Trimegistus at July 06, 2014 12:06 PM (XDf+Z)

93 "House Of Cards" has been re -released and I picked it up at Sams club. Oh my. Now I'm hooked and must read the entire trilogy. Extremely timely even though it's set 25 years ago and involves British politics.

Posted by: small town girl at July 06, 2014 12:14 PM (aOVzl)

94 41 Reading Michael Crichton" "State of Fear".
Amazing its ten years old and 20 years prescient about the globull warmening scam. And a really good read.
Posted by: meleager at July 06, 2014 10:54 AM (UXopz)





The main thing I learned from State Of Fear is that Crichton really, really, REALLY hated Martin Sheen.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at July 06, 2014 12:18 PM (z8eKB)

95 Some light books for summer reading --

John Sandford's "Field of Prey." Very enjoyable. The author keeps the quality high after all these years. This was a "Davenport" book. I hope the next will be a "that f***ing Flowers" book. Highly recommended.
*
Stephen King's "Mr. Mercedes." No politics, thank heaven, but not recommended. Barnes and Noble reviews 4/5 and Amazon also 4/5 stars. I say 2/5 is a charitable rating. Did he even have an editor?

Never been a huge fan of King, but this seems substandard to me.
*
I liked Wilson's "The Keep" novel, as well as most of his stuff. Never saw the flick.
*
Reading Gutfeld's "Not Cool" next. Skimmed through it and it impressed me much more than Carolla's "President Me." YMMV.

Posted by: doug at July 06, 2014 12:19 PM (mjfdB)

96 Posted by: Todd W at July 06, 2014 10:13 AM (lrkg9

I enjoy them.

He gets pretty good at winding together a complex multibook plot.

My only complaint would be by book 15 it does become a bit formulaic and I hope he fixes that soon.

The formula is basically:
Story happens
Around the 75% mark we see some twist that had been withheld from us until this point.
Last 3 chapters (his chapters are really short) is like recap wrapup.

I liked that in the first few books. I tolerated it as the plot got more complex, by this most recent book I was like "well, the action is over at this point, I know that already."

Posted by: tsrblke, PhD(c) And father to be in 6 months! at July 06, 2014 12:23 PM (HDwDg)

97
I would have enjoyed Jack Higgins more if he hadn't tried to rewrite The Eagle Has Landed about 20 times.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at July 06, 2014 12:27 PM (z8eKB)

98 Nood furry travel thread

Posted by: Y-not at July 06, 2014 12:27 PM (zDsvJ)

99 I've read 'The Keep' and most of Wilson's work, very entertaining especially the Repairman Jack stories


Read some of 'The Eye Of Argon' and it was amateurish knockoff of Conan but not LOL material for me either.


Read Ursula Le Guin's 'The Wizard Of Earthsea', first of a series, which is a beautifully written story of a young man who becomes a wizard and makes a bad decision he must learn to deal with. The author's voice sounds a lot like Tolkein to me, I'll definitely check out more of her work.


Listened to 'Ringworld' by Larry Niven, which unfortunately isn't available on e-book. Great scifi concept of course but I'd forgotten how funny it was, one of his best.


Currently reading 'Assassin's Apprentice' by Robin Hobb, really terrific page-turner. It's also first of a series, will have to check out the rest.

Posted by: waelse1 at July 06, 2014 12:32 PM (x+P8L)

100 Just finished Longbourn, a Downton Abby-esque view of the Bennet household and the events of P&P with the house staff as the main characters. The author is Jo Baker, and while she manages to insert a representative of all of the standard grievance classes of modern times (class, race, sexual orientation, fem power), it's not too heavy-handed. There are some twists concerning the original characters, and it is interesting to see them from a different POV. It's well-written, with a few turns of phrase that I found delightful. So, recommended, if you like that sort of thing.

As far as writing goes, I'm pretty good at the writing, writing, writing part but I suck at the editing part. I'm not sure if it's because I'm stubbornly convinced I shit gold onto that page there, or can't abide the thought of maiming or killing my precious word-babies, or if I'm too damned lazy, or what.

Posted by: Gem at July 06, 2014 12:33 PM (zw+pb)

101 #32

And yet the book and the screenplay were written by the same person, William Goldman. Perhaps this is why Goldman is far better known as a screen writer than a novelist.

The novel was somewhat autobiographical in the framing portion, set in the time of Goldman's childhood, and the movie was made contemporary in the framing, which made it more accessible to a young 80s audience.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 12:37 PM (NLEgK)

102 97
When they run out of ideas they recycle. Need a new book for the money.
New authors take a couple of classes in writing. Buy a writing program with built in thesaurus.
It is really difficult art, the great ones allow us to soak up the story.
It is hard and I couldn't do it, but poor writing is difficult to read and mostly a waste of memory on my kindle.

Posted by: watches on the intertubes at July 06, 2014 12:38 PM (jsa6I)

103 Wound up really enjoying Juliet Chase's "Amy's Amazing Adventures (Across Space and Time)", despite the book being clearly aimed at an audience much younger and much more female than I. Good, clean fun and I only noticed maybe half a dozen errors.

Also recently read "Kali's Children" by Craig Allen. Enjoyed the story, but found a major plot point to be simply not credible, so through the entire second half of the book, a part of my brain was rolling its eyes going "yeah, right".

Currently re-reading Michael Moorcock's "The Warlord of the Air". This and its fellows in the series are the only Moorcock books I enjoyed when I was a youngun; never could get into the Elric of Melnibone stuff. I liked it when I was younger because I was an airship nut and knew just enough Russian history to recognize the Ulianov character who shows up towards the end of the book. I'm still an airship nut, but I know lots more history now; as our hero is being shown around the communist utopia Ulianov's followers have built in a hidden valley in China, all I can think about is the hundreds of millions who lost their lives building communist utopias. Still enjoy the airship stuff, though.

Posted by: Anachronda at July 06, 2014 12:38 PM (o78gS)

104 Hey all you guys probably know this author already, but in case you don't.

John C Wright. I highly recommend. He writes SF and also Fantasy and they are very entertaining. Not limp wristed politically correct nonsense either. I have read six of his books an EVERY SINGLE ONE was worth the price of admission.

Posted by: simplemind at July 06, 2014 12:40 PM (hTeQK)

105 Just finished reading "A Desert Called Peace" by Tom Kratman. A futuristic SF where an Earth colony has been settled by direction of a Supra-UN type body, and it has re-created all the problems of Earth. Now, 500 years in the future, they are strangely enough re-fighting the last 20 years on Earth.
It's a vehicle for Kratman to criticize and how he would do it better. There's more books to follow (or have already followed).

Now reading non-fiction, "Six Days of War" by Michael Oren, about the 6 -day war in 1967. His lead up to it is a reminder of how the players change but how little anything else changes in the Middle East.
The Arabs and the Middle East are models of dystopia. They seemed to be trapped into repeating the same mistakes, over and over.

Posted by: Bossy Conservative riding the comfy chair at July 06, 2014 12:46 PM (+1T7c)

106 Just finished reading "A Desert Called Peace" by Tom Kratman. A futuristic SF where an Earth colony has been settled by direction of a Supra-UN type body, and it has re-created all the problems of Earth. Now, 500 years in the future, they are strangely enough re-fighting the last 20 years on Earth.
It's a vehicle for Kratman to criticize and how he would do it better. There's more books to follow (or have already followed).

Now reading non-fiction, "Six Days of War" by Michael Oren, about the 6 -day war in 1967. His lead up to it is a reminder of how the players change but how little anything else changes in the Middle East.
The Arabs and the Middle East are models of dystopia. They seemed to be trapped into repeating the same mistakes, over and over.

Posted by: Bossy Conservative riding the comfy chair at July 06, 2014 12:46 PM (+1T7c)

107 A used bookstore with a vast, eclectic selection...

I once had an interesting run-in with a used bookstore.

Way back in '83, while a college student, I spent a summer working out here at China Lake. To tide me over that awkward space before my first paycheck, I sold most of my book collection to a local used bookstore.

Twenty years later, I found myself back here at China Lake and the used bookstore was still open. Poking around, I found that the books from the collection that I had most missed were still sitting on the shelves, so I bought them back.

Made me wonder both about my taste in books and the futility of the used bookstore business.

A couple years later, the used bookstore went under.

Posted by: Anachronda at July 06, 2014 12:49 PM (o78gS)

108 #99

I was about halfway through doing an e-book version of Ringworld when the plug was pulled. I had done e-books for several of Larry's early novels but his agent, who had expanded her operation to handle e-book publishing, didn't want to take them on. Larry didn't want deal with it himself and so the files are just collecting digital dust.

My e-book for 'A Gift From Earth' was pretty nice. Larry had bought the rights for an image Aldo Spadoni created specifically for that story to use as a cover.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 12:51 PM (NLEgK)

109 The Arabs and the Middle East are models of dystopia. They seemed to be trapped into repeating the same mistakes, over and over.

The Arabs learn nothing and forget nothing.





(I denounce myself)

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 12:51 PM (+ahS9)

110 Regarding the Princess Bride, it's really not unusual for the Hollywood film version to be superior to the book. In fact, it's long been known that pulp is the preferred source material. Literary fiction just doesn't translate to the silver screen. On the other hand, ever try to read Puzo's The Godfather?

Posted by: JoeyBagels at July 06, 2014 12:53 PM (6SPeW)

111 @105 - You might also enjoy Steven Pressfield's newest -- "The Lion's Gate." Highly recommended.

http://bit.ly/1qBfnfW

Posted by: doug at July 06, 2014 12:55 PM (mjfdB)

112 #107

Was that in China Lake proper or Ridgecrest? I remember buying a box load of SF from the used book store in Ridgecrest when I was there for a week in 1981. That was the year I spent traveling with the carnival. Hitting the local used book store was a major goal whenever we got to the next town. Most of my duties during the week, once the tent was up, was sitting at the ticket counter. So I got through a few hundred books that season.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 01:00 PM (NLEgK)

113 I am reading "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. Finished Part One.

It could have been called "While Suffering from a Splitting Headache on the Beach in Algiers, I Shot a Man Just to See Him Die."

Also reading "Alchemy of Bones: Chicago's Luetgert Murder Case of 1897." Wifey's great-great-grandmother was Agatha Tosch, called to give testimony in the trial(s).

Posted by: Grampa Jimbo at July 06, 2014 01:01 PM (V70Uh)

114 I was a Clive Cussler fan for a long time. He had written a couple of books prior to "Raise the Titanic", and it was clear he was on a learning curve with those earlier books. His first, "The Mediterranean Caper", really sucked. But with each one he got better, and by the time RtT was published, he had hit his stride. And on from there, through the '80s and '90s, he wrote a lot of quite good technothriller novels. Deathless prose for the ages? No. But there is a market for that genre, that people like the late Tom Clancy, Dale Brown and quite a few others, can attest to.

But in recent years, Cussler, like all of us, got older and lost a lot of his writing "steam" if you will. But he still had a fan base out there, who would pretty reliably buy a book if it had Cussler's name on it. So he (or his publisher) found a few people who would, in effect, ghost write for him (I saw Arthur C. Clarke do this same thing towards the end of his life). Cussler would produce an outline, and hand it off to the other guy, who would write the actual book. So you would see CLIVE CUSSLER and Joe Blow on the cover, and people would buy it. But aside from his name and a few story ideas, Joe Blow was the one who wrote the book. And yes, quite often they sucked.

Yes, it's sad, but that's the publishing business.

Posted by: Bumper at July 06, 2014 01:01 PM (l1Nun)

115 34 If you dare, look up the Robocop/Batman fan-fic... and yes, it is detachable...

But does he have a vacuum attachment?

Posted by: Kryten at July 06, 2014 01:03 PM (o78gS)

116 Doug @ 111

I have that ready to read also. I wanted to read Oren's book first, as it is more of a straight history of the war, then read Pressfield's historical novelization after.

I am a big fan of Steven Pressfield, too.

Posted by: Bossy Conservative riding the comfy chair at July 06, 2014 01:04 PM (+1T7c)

117 "Standing on a beach with a gun in my hand"

Robert smith might not be Camus, but he got through the story in less time. And then you got to listen to "boys don't cry"

Posted by: boulder terlit hobo at July 06, 2014 01:04 PM (BVQxc)

118
Stross seems to have gotten over his need to tell that he thinks Christians and particularly evangelicals, are stupid, stupid, hypocritical stupidheads and ruin his story, as he did with his last Laundry Files novel, "The Apocalypse Codex" with lame-ass leftard tropes, instead of, you know, actually developing a logical plot and characters that could exist on planet Earth.
I suppose like so many leftie writers he thought the Socialist Rapture was upon us with the election of TFG and used "The Apocalypse Codex" to pile on and show he was a good little leftard. Perhaps now, the massive corruption and colossal fail of King Putt has made him a bit wiser.
Anyway, "The Rhesus Chart" so far Is a good return to form and a fun read.
Posted by: naturalfake at July 06, 2014 11:32 AM (KBvAm)


Didn't he also tell us at length what stupid poopy-heads Americans are? I really enjoyed the Laundry stories and "The Apocalypse Codex" pissed me off so much I swore I'd never buy a new copy of his books again. And minimal copies of used. Such a fuck-head. I'm only nominally Christian but the self-righteous posturing of this little Scots socialist FUCK angers me to no end. Fuck. You. Charlie. Stross. You. Haggis. Eating. Wanker.

Posted by: J. Random Dude at July 06, 2014 01:04 PM (8OfdL)

119 112
#107

Was that in China Lake proper or Ridgecrest? I remember
buying a box load of SF from the used book store in Ridgecrest when I
was there for a week in 1981.


Ridgecrest, down on Balsam street. Between 1983 and 2002, the store had moved to the other side of the street, but was otherwise the same.

Posted by: Kryten at July 06, 2014 01:05 PM (o78gS)

120 Wonder sock powers, DEACTIVATE!

Posted by: Anachronda at July 06, 2014 01:06 PM (o78gS)

121 For a truly bad science fiction novel (not just bad, vile) try "Gender Genocide" by Edmund Cooper.



Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at July 06, 2014 01:06 PM (EDprM)

122 109, it's the culture. In my business, I've met many Arabs- Christian as well as Muslim-- and individually, they are among the sharpest tools in the shed. They are quick studies and are able to spot trends ( and capitalize on them and get out ) while most are still trying to figure out what just passed them by. What they suck at is working together towards a common goal. The reason for that is envy and jealousy. But I'm not surprised so many of them make it in the US, because they are individualistic.

Posted by: JoeyBagels at July 06, 2014 01:06 PM (6SPeW)

123 "Reading Michael Crichton" "State of Fear".

Amazing its ten years old and 20 years prescient about the globull warmening scam. And a really good read." And he has a bibliography in the back that is pure gold.

"Cool It" by Byorn Lomborg is just excellent.

Posted by: Grampa Jimbo at July 06, 2014 01:09 PM (V70Uh)

124 #108,
That's too bad they stopped your production of an e-book version, I was wondering why many Niven books are available but some aren't. Though on July 8 'Ringworld' is going to be available as a graphic novel, this is an Amazon link to the Kindle version:

http://tinyurl.com/qz5x99f

$10 for a 272-page e-book, not sure if it's worth picking up, will probably wait for some reviews.

Posted by: waelse1 at July 06, 2014 01:09 PM (x+P8L)

125 Concerning "The Keep". Decent book, terrible, and I mean terrible, movie adaptation if you've ever seen it. My problem with the book is that it is pretty much a rip-off of the short story "The Devil is Not Mocked". Same idea of Nazi's in a Castle who come across something that is far bigger and more evil than they are. And that thought struck me immediately upon reading the book when it first came out.
Posted by: HH at July 06, 2014 10:46 AM (XXwdv) ----------I loved "The Keep" by F. Paul Wilson. One of the first horror books I read back in the 80s. Director Micheal Mann did a movie adaptation of it and I agree with HH, it was horrible.

Posted by: Darth Randall at July 06, 2014 01:11 PM (6n332)

126 #47

There was another reason for having alternate names for publication. It used to be very common because publishers wouldn't let any one name dominate their line. In short stories it would often be the case that a single author would produce nearly everything in an issue of a magazine like Astounding but under several names in addition to his own. When Asimov's was launched in the 70s it was kind of an in-joke for those who remembered the earlier era.

Prolific writer in the genre trenches were usually hard up for cash and needed to sell everything they produced. Thus the pen names. Dean Koontz was writing under so many different names that he lost track and relied on a friend of his to find all of it when old Koontz material had become very valuable. Books that had originally been sold for around $2500 to be published under a different name were revived under Koontz's real name to earn him sums orders of magnitude greater.

If you can find it, Robert Silverberg wrote a really funny article for Penthouse about publishing in the 50s. Several very prominent novelists wrote under pen names as a way of having a second income hidden from their wives. The money was used to maintain a mistress in the city, where of course they had to venture frequently for meetings with their agent or publisher.


Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 01:13 PM (NLEgK)

127 RE: bad writers, some day we should have a "Popular Books that are Awful" thread.

My vote? The Celestine Prophesy. Could not get past page five. It was sophomoric and simply badly written.

/sorry all you Celestine Prophesy fans. Maybe I'm just a book snob.

Posted by: shibumi who is exceptionally cynical today at July 06, 2014 01:16 PM (25HWz)

128 If you're a history buff, and you haven't already read Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico," you must do it. I'm not what you'd call a history buff but I always find history interesting.

The work is in 3 volumes, originally published in 1843. My copy is from 1892. It sat on my parents' bookshelf for ages. After I took my first trip to Mexico (for business, 3 weeks) I decided I wanted to know more about it. WOW! I wasn't expecting the most fascinating book(s) I would ever read. Just his description of the Aztec culture and artistry are worth the read (e.g, Moctezuma had a private zoo with animals from all over North America in their natural settings).

If you have any proficiency in Spanish or Latin, you could even try reading the many footnotes, which only adds to the wonder.

Prescott followed this with "Conquest of Peru" (2 volumes). This is not as action-packed as "Mexico" but his description of Incan civilization will leave you wondering if a perfect communist society really could exist. As this was a well known scholarly work of the time, I am sure that Marx and Engels drew the better part of their cocial philosophy from this work. For instance, the Incas would divide and appropriate all the arable lend every year, and collect and distribute all the crops and wool to be eaten and turned into cloth by the plebes, with a certain amount always going for storage. They had no written language, and all record keeping and accounting were done with knots on string.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 06, 2014 01:18 PM (8MjqI)

129 #118

The Laundry series is the only Stross material I'd even give a glance these days. I was amazed to hear he'd done a sequel to 'Saturn's Children,' as that was one of the most boring and pointless novels I've read in recent years. I kept waiting for something meaningful to happen but when the entire cast is various kinds of robots on autopilot with no real reason to do anything, there just isn't much story happening.

I read that book in the same week as 'Anathem.' That was easily Stephenson's weakest novel but it at least had a bunch of interest bits in it as you waded through it. It could have been easily a third shorter without losing much.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 01:21 PM (NLEgK)

130 "106
Just finished reading "A Desert Called Peace" by Tom Kratman. A
futuristic SF where an Earth colony has been settled by direction of a
Supra-UN type body, and it has re-created all the problems of Earth.
Now, 500 years in the future, they are strangely enough re-fighting the
last 20 years on Earth.

It's a vehicle for Kratman to criticize and how he would do it
better. There's more books to follow (or have already followed)."

There are six books in the series so far, I think. Kratman does for organized warfare what Larry Correia does for beating your werewolf boss to death...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at July 06, 2014 01:22 PM (XO6WW)

131 /sorry all you Celestine Prophesy fans. Maybe I'm just a book snob.

--

No, it was awful.

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 01:23 PM (GSIDW)

132 So here's my feeling on Stross and the Laundry Files. Its a good idea, well executed, but ultimately unsatisfying. He is a lefty writing about good and evil, but he is by dogma unable to judge and it makes the longer arc of his story fairly empty and meaningless. If he had any convictions, he'd be the English Correia. He doesn't, so after the first couple go rounds he doesn't have anywhere to go with the longer story arc. Waste of talent and good ideas actually.

Posted by: simplemind at July 06, 2014 01:23 PM (hTeQK)

133 #127

Fans of that book deserve no apology. You have to have serious cognitive deficits to think it was anything of merit.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 01:23 PM (NLEgK)

134 My all-time favorite F. Paul Wilson book was "Midnight Mass" which is a damn fine vampire novel.

And I would also recommend "The Select" about a possible future of medicine.

Posted by: Tonestaple at July 06, 2014 01:23 PM (B7YN4)

135 Try the "Breakers" series by Edward W. Robertson.

Dude can write, yo.

Posted by: eman at July 06, 2014 01:24 PM (MQEz6)

136 Stross also got in a good sneer or two when SFWA kicked out Vox Day. He can blow me.

Posted by: boulder terlit hobo at July 06, 2014 01:25 PM (BVQxc)

137 #119

Had to be the same place. It isn't like there was a lot of other venues in Ridgecrest. Or a lot of anything, except desert.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 01:25 PM (NLEgK)

138 What they suck at is working together towards a common goal. The reason for that is envy and jealousy. But I'm not surprised so many of them make it in the US, because they are individualistic.
Posted by: JoeyBagels

You might be coming to an incorrect conclusion judging all "Arabs" by the ones that emigrate to the West, and particularly America.
That would be a self-selecting group (taken as a whole) that is willing to leave the "tribe" and try to make it in the New World because they too are sick of the dystopia and want something better.

I once worked with a Christian from Lebanon, who was a funny and smart guy. He grew up in the Bekaa Valley, and served in the Lebanese Army prior to deciding he had to get out (this was over 30 years ago). Later, another guy from Lebanon, a Muslim Arab, came to work at the same company.
Very smart, hard working guy. He was working while at the same time getting his PhD in Chemical Engineering. These two guys worked together.

In America, they could work together and be friends. I can remember them standing together, with their arms around each others shoulders. Back home, they would have been enemies.

And also, the company that we all worked for was owned by two Jewish guys. Imagine that, so crazy, that is just might work. Only in America?

Posted by: Bossy Conservative riding the comfy chair at July 06, 2014 01:26 PM (+1T7c)

139 The Arabs learn nothing and forget nothing.

Posted by: OregonMuse at July 06, 2014 12:51 PM (+ahS9)


Heh. I recognize the quote; Talleyrand's famous quip about the Bourbon restoration. It was reported that when Talleyrand died, Metternich said "I wonder what he meant by that?"


Posted by: CQD at July 06, 2014 01:28 PM (7oUgp)

140 I think they should do a movie about President Obama and his hard life because of people like Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: dorcus blimline at July 06, 2014 01:28 PM (hP/Mt)

141 Sharia Law is what first-generation Muslim immigrants come to America to get away from.

Their grandchildren, however, sometimes seek their cultural roots and become radicalized.


Posted by: Grampa Jimbo at July 06, 2014 01:29 PM (V70Uh)

142 Read Ursula Le Guin's 'The Wizard Of Earthsea', first of a series

WARNING: read the first three books by all means, but do NOT read Tehanu if you liked the first three. (Tehanu was written many years later and many people have said that reading it destroyed the first three Earthsea books for them.)

Posted by: jaed at July 06, 2014 01:39 PM (C40z/)

143 I'm also reading "Blood Feud" on my Kindle and it is most entertaining: the battle of the narcissistic, borderline, psychopathic titans. How did our beloved country fall so far?

-
And today it is reported that Obama will support Lizzy Warren rather than Hillary for POTUS. Fasten your seatbelts. We're in for a bumpy ride.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 06, 2014 01:40 PM (Mogjf)

144 sorry all you Celestine Prophesy fans. Maybe I'm just a book snob.

--

No, it was awful.

-
Bunch of progressive crap.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at July 06, 2014 01:42 PM (Mogjf)

145 Thank you votermom and Epobirs.

I think the world is filled with amazing books, but "Celestine Prophesy" is one that can be used to either lower your IQ or as firewood.

/currently reading Murakami's "The Elephant Vanishes." He uses description in an almost surreal way and is incredibly inventive.

Posted by: shibumi who is exceptionally cynical today at July 06, 2014 01:47 PM (25HWz)

146 Under the 'itis easier to edit than write rule,' EoA looks like a good story to unpack, identify errors and rewrite. Now, when I write at work, I keep ex Pfc Wintergreen in mind during editing, always asking if my prose is to prolix. That said, when I was his age I had characters named something like Ironhorse Railtrack ( because he was an Indian asteroid miner, see).

Honestly, I sometimes find things I wrote last week embarrassing.

Posted by: Jackofspades at July 06, 2014 01:48 PM (KN1cL)

147 The Startup Owners Manual, which I use in teaching a course on early stage startup entrepreneurship, celebrates trying and failing and trying again, though to be considered acceptable in academic circles that is described as validating business model hypotheses and pivoting.
Posted by: Motionview at July 06, 2014 10:39 AM (e6TyM)Check out "Choose Yourself," by James Altucher, an e-bookby an eccentric millionaire/broke guy/millionaire/broke guy, etc. He is the consummate entrepreneur who discusses the end of the era of cubicle dwellers to fend-for-yourself creativity/success.

Posted by: RushBabe at July 06, 2014 01:51 PM (uI9Lg)

148 Anyone having trouble posting?

Posted by: doug at July 06, 2014 01:54 PM (mjfdB)

149 73 and 118.

Stross seems to have gotten over his need to tell that he thinks
Christians and particularly evangelicals, are stupid, stupid,
hypocritical stupidheads and ruin his story, as he did with his last
Laundry Files novel, "The Apocalypse Codex" with lame-ass leftard
tropes, instead of, you know, actually developing a logical plot and
characters that could exist on planet Earth.


There is a saying among writers, "Write what you know." So much of the left of are pig-ignorant of Christians in general and the conservative/evangelical/charismatic ones that it is jaw-dropping. Pundits, authors of fiction, whoever. Do they know any? Ever talk to any? (other than the loud mouths, that is).

If they wrote the equivalent stereotypes of women or blacks or homosexuals, they would be read out of civilized discourse in a minute.

Posted by: LochLomondFarms at July 06, 2014 01:55 PM (LL8fA)

150 Didn't he also tell us at length what stupid poopy-heads Americans are? I really enjoyed the Laundry stories and "The Apocalypse Codex" pissed me off so much I swore I'd never buy a new copy of his books again. And minimal copies of used. Such a fuck-head. I'm only nominally Christian but the self-righteous posturing of this little Scots socialist FUCK angers me to no end. Fuck. You. Charlie. Stross. You. Haggis. Eating. Wanker.

Posted by: J. Random Dude at July 06, 2014 01:04 PM (8OfdL)


Yep, you're right.

Stross pissed me off enough that I evoked the "naturalfake One Last Chance Rule"(TM) for old Chas.

So far, so good with the new one. But, if I hadn't enjoyed his stuff so much in the past, he'd be gone.


Don Winslow, another of my favorite authors, managed to piss me off so much with his loving, lingering, loudly slurping and frequently applied blow job of Obama in "Savages"-

that I evoked "naturalfake's Law of I Forever Cast Thee into Ignored and Unread Author's Limbo".

Stross may yet find his way there but so far, no.



So here's my feeling on Stross and the Laundry Files. Its a good idea, well executed, but ultimately unsatisfying. He is a lefty writing about good and evil, but he is by dogma unable to judge and it makes the longer arc of his story fairly empty and meaningless. If he had any convictions, he'd be the English Correia. He doesn't, so after the first couple go rounds he doesn't have anywhere to go with the longer story arc. Waste of talent and good ideas actually.

Posted by: simplemind at July 06, 2014 01:23 PM (hTeQK)



In some ways, Stross is a bit of a sad case. He's simply too smart and talented to forever wallow in the libtard's fantasy swamp, but wallow he does.

Novels like "Rule 34", seem to show that maybe the obvious cracks of socialism/marxism are starting to make themselves apparent to him.

But, perhaps, he's simply too cowardly and worried about being cast out of the delusional kool kids klub to follow his doubts to where they lead.

I hope he does though. He might produce some truly great works if he ever went down that path.

Intellectual courage for a socialist though...that's tough.



Posted by: naturalfake at July 06, 2014 02:01 PM (KBvAm)

151 141--you hit the nail on the head. And it's not just Arabs and Muslims. Latinos too. The third generation gets radicalized---and it's American education culture that does the radicalization. That's why I pull what's left of my hair out when they say that those of us who want to end illegal immigration are racists. No. It's more that I no longer have faith in our institutions to assimilate them....

Posted by: JoeyBagels at July 06, 2014 02:03 PM (Usdw3)

152 New book "Virtual Unreality" in a fascinating author interview by Ira Flatow on sciencefriday dot com

Deals with the reliability, or lack thereof, of information on the Internet.

Also a link to an excerpt. Search for "A Web of Doubt"

http://bit.ly/1siAFyi

I sure wish pixie would parse messages and throw an error message rather than a "500" hairball

Posted by: doug at July 06, 2014 02:06 PM (mjfdB)

153 #150

I didn't get that impression from 'Rule 34' at all. Wasn't that the book that had the UK nationalizing Walmart and the narration regarding this as a good thing?

Outside of fiction, on his blog you can find his attempt to attack Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Fascism,' and it is apparent that the thesis of the book has severely gored Stross' beloved bull. He declares that socialism couldn't be bad because the guy who is considered the founder of the NHS is a secular saint and seemingly the person by which the ideology should be judged.

Nevermind that the NHS is embodying all of the downfalls of socialism and private medical practices are growing rapidly in the UK because nobody who can afford the choice goes with the NHS.

Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 02:07 PM (NLEgK)

154 I'm looking for a good history of the Crusades. All I ask is that it is well-written and truthful. I don't want a white-wash of Christian mistakes and violence, but I don't want to read a book that makes the Crusaders look like the bad guys and the Muslims the angels--or the victims. Any Moron--ic recommendations?

Posted by: JoeyBagels at July 06, 2014 02:18 PM (Usdw3)

155 JoeyBagels : I'd honestly start with Captain Hate's posts. He's become the authority on the Crusades around here.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at July 06, 2014 02:23 PM (l4SC+)

156 I have long been a fan of Charles Murray, for his clear thinking, eloquent expression, and willingness to take his thinking where the data leads him. It is likely that, without his Losing Ground book, we would never have had welfare reform (now undone, but so it goes). However, he typically writes on public policy and data, and that can be a bit dry.

Not so his newest book, which is light on pages and heavy on wisdom. The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead is a kind of book I wish we had more of -- essentially a brain dump of wisdom accumulated during a long life of seeking.

The book is framed as advice for young people looking to succeed in a world in which curmudgeons like Murray will be quietly judging them, but after you get past the "pull up your damn pants and stop saying 'like' all the time" parts, which are very fun to read, he dives into how to write well and productively, how to pursue happiness, the prime virtues, how to respect and understand religious thinking if you are not religious yourself (#1 recommendation: read Mere Christianity, which I have now bought and will read soon).

Ultimately it's a book of general good advice. It was easy, fun, and delightful to read. It also made me stop in my tracks and reflect about my life in a few spots. Strongly recommended.

Posted by: Splunge at July 06, 2014 02:26 PM (qyomX)

157
I didn't get that impression from 'Rule 34' at all. Wasn't that the book that had the UK nationalizing Walmart and the narration regarding this as a good thing?


I don't remember that part, but that wouldn't surprise me as the main character was a good little cop in the regime.

But, within that cop's oh-well-that's-the-way-it-is narration were constant examples of ever mounting inefficiency, inability to effect any progress or result brought about by the ever increasing amount of laws and regulations "for society's own good."

And it seemed almost everyone outside of the cops were either working the black-market, the seams within the law or completely outside the law.

The Panopticon-state entity that arose independently was now mostly controlling the world came about (if I'm remembering correctly) by the increasing need to monitor and direct all peoples behavior to make them fall into line with the ever-increasing laws and regulations, so much so that it had taken on a life of it's own.

Thus, Stross's socialist, omni-sexual, multi-cultural paradise is one of mounting control, manipulation, arm-twisting and loss of freedom.

Maybe for him those are features, not bugs.

I just didn't read it that way.

Posted by: naturalfake at July 06, 2014 02:27 PM (KBvAm)

158 My e-book for 'A Gift From Earth' was pretty nice.
Larry had bought the rights for an image Aldo Spadoni created
specifically for that story to use as a cover.


Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 12:51 PM (NLEgK)

Can't find this e-book anywhere, can you point to a seller where it's available?

Posted by: waelse1 at July 06, 2014 02:41 PM (x+P8L)

159 JoeyBagels : I'd honestly start with Captain Hate's posts. He's become the authority on the Crusades around here.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at July 06, 2014 02:23 PM (l4SC+)


Thanks for the praise but there are probably some other Morons who are more well read than I am on this; whoever it was that recommended the Asbridge, for example. I've found the Horde to be an excellent source of historical recommendations.

As for the original question, I find myself, thanks to the MFM, very sensitive to slams on Christianity by dimwits gargling moooooslim spooge. That said, neither Asbridge nor Oldenbourg are nearly as bad as Gibbon is in that regard. Every now and then, Asbridge will cut the Muz slack that he doesn't seem to provide to the Crusaders but keep in mind that the Crusaders were a huge motley crew from all over the place and not all of them had the purest of motives. Some were there solely for riches and plunder. Some of them pounded the Jews on the way there so pureness of intent was severely compromised in some. Also the Latins were often at cross purposes with the Byzantines; I believe it was here that the phrase "Byzantine intrigues" first began being used by western Europeans.

That said, once the fighting starts Asbridge calls it straight up. There is much savagery on both sides which he points out. Oldenbourg, being Russian, is under no PC constraints plus it was written in the 60s (and is extremely well translated). I'll report more as I complete them.

One further thing: The subtitle of Asbridge's book is "The Roots of Conflict Between Christianity and Islam" and was written in 2004 so take that for what it is.

Posted by: Captain Hate at July 06, 2014 03:52 PM (TflbH)

160 I'm looking for a good history of the Crusades. All I ask is that it is well-written and truthful. I don't want a white-wash of Christian mistakes and violence, but I don't want to read a book that makes the Crusaders look like the bad guys and the Muslims the angels--or the victims. Any Moron--ic recommendations?

Posted by: JoeyBagels at July 06, 2014 02:18 PM (Usdw3)


Runciman's History of the Crusades would be my first recommendation. Probably my second too, for that matter.

Posted by: CQD at July 06, 2014 04:18 PM (7oUgp)

161 Just finished Three Princes and here is my goodreads review (I am VMom on goodreads, btw):


Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler 3 Stars

The world-buiilding is impressively imaginative, I really like that about this novel. Unfortunately, the main character is unlikeable - he's basically a pampered prince/secret agent for the status quo, which is an imperial Egypt. He also seems to have the emotional depth of a fresh-water snail.
The second problem is the pacing - nothing much happens in the 1st half, which is more like a travelogue of the rich & powerful, then something exciting finally happens almost 2/3rds into the book. And for almost a whole chapter I think the main character will be heroic. But no, he's a damsel. I'd probably rate this 2 stars but for the excellent world-building.

Posted by: @votermom at July 06, 2014 04:42 PM (GSIDW)

162 Someone interested in learning more about the Crusades could do worse than checking out the "Great Courses" CDs. These are lectures by various college professors. I am fortunate in that my local library has a large selection of them and I listen to them on my daily commute. It makes the traffic jams caused by the incessant road construction in the DFW Metroplex bearable.

Posted by: Obnoxious A-Hole at July 06, 2014 04:57 PM (PD6iL)

163
Fern Arable is the best character name in all literaature.

Posted by: Jaclyn at July 06, 2014 05:43 PM (ocU5X)

164 "Working as a "barefoot doctor" with no training, Chang saw the oppressive, inhuman side of communism."

Communism is like a Mobius strip -- it doesn't have another side.

Posted by: Joshua at July 06, 2014 06:08 PM (oCZ4e)

165 40: "The Devil is not Mocked" is a story by the wonderful Manly Wade Wellman (also a Night Gallery episode) and the title of the second volume of Nightshade's Wellman collections. I have all five of them; fascinating guy. Not sure where to find the story now except in the Nightshade collection, but it's expensive. AbeBooks has it for a low of $65, high of $450. ... Speaking of Wellman, the Kane books by one of his contemporaries, Karl Edward Wagner, are out in ebooks now.

Posted by: RovingCopyEditor at July 06, 2014 06:16 PM (UMsIr)

166 26 baldilocks: Not your fault, really; an editor should never change a meaning before contacting the writer. First, do no harm.

Posted by: RovingCopyEditor at July 06, 2014 06:18 PM (UMsIr)

167 #158

It was never released. I had it ready to go and Larry tried to get his agent to handle publishing it. She didn't want to do it and Larry didn't want to deal with that aspect of the business, so it just exists for me and nobody else.


Posted by: Epobirs at July 06, 2014 06:53 PM (NLEgK)

168 Have my copy of Monster Hunter: Nemesis. Of course, I bought it because Larry Correia is the next best thing to Jim Butcher, not because it makes the Left whine.

That's just a delightful bonus.

Posted by: Shawn at July 06, 2014 07:21 PM (/lltO)

169 I thought this was going to be a post a bad story you wrote thread: http://alturl.com/mvik6 The link is to a facebook note, so I don't know if it'll work.

Posted by: Dave M at July 06, 2014 10:24 PM (O8MI1)

170 Madame Bovary by Flaubert pulls of the narrator switch. The novel opens with an unidentified first-person narrator - but clearly not one of the main characters. Shortly thereafter it switches to third-person narration, but generally from the POV of the title character.

Posted by: mgarbowski at July 07, 2014 09:18 AM (w7jkB)

171 " Those guys laughing at you couldn't string two sentences together to save their own lives."

But EoA first became popular at writers' conventions and gatherings. I was first told about the book by two writers who have published about 200 books between them (published-published, not self-published). They commonly played the EoA game (see how long you can read EoA without laughing, then pass it on) at SFF writers' conventions back in the day. Unfortunately it is the real writers who were laughing at him, although I think it's partly because they could recognize their own early terribleness in it.

Posted by: C. at July 07, 2014 11:12 AM (N8FSl)

172 "largest" and "Southern California" usually goes with "was".

Posted by: Chris Balsz at July 07, 2014 12:34 PM (HZLYB)

173 http://www.mbtclearanceukoutlet.com professional supply all kinds of cheap mbt shoes,mbt shoes outlet,mbt shoes uk,free shipping!

Posted by: mbt shoes clearance at July 08, 2014 12:19 PM (Vlez0)

174 only the truly thicked skinned and brave have the courage to become great artists. that long, dreadful period of sucking is very difficult to deal with and hard on the soul. it sucks to suck, but if a would-be artist sticks it out long enough, they can be great. the mimicry stage is probably the worst, but one must endure and refuse to give up if one is to be truly great.

Posted by: MistressOverdone at July 08, 2014 11:42 PM (2/oBD)

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