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On 6/9/2018 at 7:54 AM, JLSigman said:

Next up is Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. If I can read the tiny type of this mass market paperback copy. What was I thinking when I bought this?????

Finished that re-read. Love this series! Put in requests for the next two books at the library.

While waiting for that, I'm re-reading for the 100th time since I was a kid "Spock's World" by Diane Duane. One of two classic Star Trek books I own, the other being "The Romulan Way" also by Diane Duane. 

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On 6/20/2018 at 5:54 AM, JLSigman said:

Finished that re-read. Love this series! Put in requests for the next two books at the library.

While waiting for that, I'm re-reading for the 100th time since I was a kid "Spock's World" by Diane Duane. One of two classic Star Trek books I own, the other being "The Romulan Way" also by Diane Duane. 

Okay, two things, because I respect your opinions a great deal... Firstly, I think that we can easily agree that Diane Duane's Star Trek books are light-years better than most.  In a way it's a shame that she got sucked into the black hole of adaptations, as if you've read her brilliant Door into Fire and the sequels, she was well on the way to being one of the most important fantasy writers in the US, if not the world and certainly one of the first to utilize openly gay characters in a positive manner. Do check out the aforementioned if you can find it.

Secondly, Brandon Sanderson... I don't get it, just as I don't get Shawn Michaels' human pinball routine, I just don't get the love for Sanderson's stuff. Yes, he's the most organized writer working today. Everything he does is commercially competent, but sweet tap-dancing Jesus, where are the surprises? Where are the growth and development of characters? Everything he writes is (to me) completely bland and predictable. Stylistically he's good to very good, but there nothing there that would place him with gents like Jack Vance, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Shea, or Michael Moorcock. Maybe it's because I do write and edit for a living that I'm more conscious of when a writer is pushing the reader's buttons. I see that telegraphed a lot in Sanderson, and to me it's a major flaw that takes me out of the story and has me looking at technique. 

Am I missing something?

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7 hours ago, OSJ said:

Secondly, Brandon Sanderson... I don't get it, just as I don't get Shawn Michaels' human pinball routine, I just don't get the love for Sanderson's stuff. Yes, he's the most organized writer working today. Everything he does is commercially competent, but sweet tap-dancing Jesus, where are the surprises? Where are the growth and development of characters? Everything he writes is (to me) completely bland and predictable. Stylistically he's good to very good, but there nothing there that would place him with gents like Jack Vance, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Shea, or Michael Moorcock. Maybe it's because I do write and edit for a living that I'm more conscious of when a writer is pushing the reader's buttons. I see that telegraphed a lot in Sanderson, and to me it's a major flaw that takes me out of the story and has me looking at technique. 

I'll start by saying I have only read the Mistborn trilogy, and I had originally only picked up the first one because there was a girl on the cover. For me, Allomancy is one of the most unique and completely thought out systems of magic I have come across in years. The pairs of Pushed and Pulled metals make sense in a logical way you don't often see with magic. Vin (the girl on the cover and one of two main characters) grows naturally from street rat to hero. Kelsier (the other main character) is much more complex than you think at first, and while the rest of the crew can be a tad flat, they still have personalities and act and react naturally. 

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I am certainly glad we're having this conversation. I didn't mention that one of the things I do find admirable in Sanderson is his logic and organization and that includes worldbuilding. Now as to why I'm really glad to have this conversation... You mention Allomancy as one of the best thought-out systems of magic, okay, I'll buy that; but I was going to recommend Lyndon Hardy's Master of the Five Magics and its sequels, which came out in the late 1980s as paperback originals. Sure they can be found on abebooks.com dirt cheap. Anyway, I checked the Internet Speculative Fiction Database just to make sure that I had the title correct and spelled Hardy's first name properly, etc. as I didn't want to send you on a wild goose chase and guess what I discovered? 

Are you ready for this? Last year, an author who hasn't been active since writing a trilogy in 1988-1990 has written a new book in the series, apparently with a female lead, who is the daughter of his original protaganist. I am totally jazzed about this. I absolutely loved Hardy's work back in the day and the idea of a new book in his world of magic is just totally cool. 

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I'm about 2/3 of the way through a biography of John Quincy Adams in "The American Presidents" series. It's an interesting read. My main takeaways from it are that JQA was a good diplomat, an honorable man, a mediocre president (due to his being such an honorable man), and a really shitty parent.

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Just finished Seward: Lincoln indepensible man, by Walter Stahr.  Very thorough, but accesible at the same time.  I would call it pretty readble, without being simplistic. The authour claims that Seward was the best statesman in the 19th century, save presidents.  I'd tend to agree, though I have to read more on Henry Clay to be sure. ***** Now to start the brick that is Grant by Ron Chernow. . . .

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Read the first 30 pages or so of Borne by Jeff VanderMeer and starting your book with a gigantic, flying, malevolent bear is a really good way to keep me reading.

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Judith Allen: The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism

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On 7/8/2018 at 12:26 PM, RIShane said:

Judith Allen: The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism

A fascinating woman who should be known for much more than one story about horrid wallpaper. 😉

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I almost put is in the Epic Fantasy thread, but it is what I'm reading currently... We've talked about Steven Erikson's Malazan series quite a bit, but I don't recall any discussion of his stories of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. You can't really call it sword & sorcery as any swordplay is really secondary. Sorcery & sorcery? I guess that's more accurate. It's not as dark as Bleak Warrior (but what is?), however, the two titular characters are blithely amoral or perhaps moral to a peculiar necromantic code that the reader isn't privy to, yet for some reason they are completely engaging, even when getting up to some seriously nasty shit. Fun stuff!

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On 7/11/2018 at 9:16 AM, OSJ said:

A fascinating woman who should be known for much more than one story about horrid wallpaper. 😉

Very true! Even if it was particularly bad wallpaper. ;)

 

Vic Gatrell: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age

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Rachel Weil: A Plague of Informers: Conspiracy and Political Trust in William III's England

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