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Finished River's Edge. Did I mention that I used to be pals with the author back in the day? All I can say is: "Jeebus fuck, Jim! I gave you two and a half hours of my life and THIS is what I get? Well written, (of course it is, it's Blaylock), much ado about what turns out to be very damn little. If it wasn't for Langdon St. Ives being on board it would have been a total waste of time. I feel bad saying this because a friend wrote it and a very dear friend published it, but sweet tap-dancing Jeebus, this was a big waste of time. Puts me in a perfect mood for Joe Abercrombie, after that I want to see heads lopped off and rivers of blood, and Joe never disappoints.

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So I buy my dad books all the time. He just devours them. I used to read a ton, but I’ve slacked off for a long time. Every time my dad reads a book, he regifts it to me so I can read it too and we can talk about it. I’ve got a huge bookshelf of books I’ve never read.

So, this quarantine I picked one. The Fisherman by John Langan. I don’t fish, I don’t enjoy fishing, but something drew me to it. I wasn’t immediately engrossed, but once it got to the story within a story, I was hooked (pun not intended). Last 150 pages I read more or less in one sitting. Loved it. 

So the next day I call up my dad and was raving about it and how I had so many questions and I needed to talk to him about it and ... he never read it. Apparently I never gave it to him. Didn’t show up in my Amazon history, and I’d remember if I got it at the little private bookstore, since I really only buy what they recommend me there. 

So, how exactly did a slightly weathered The Fisherman get to be on my shelf?

Then I read Come Closer by Sara Gran in the span of two days and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am definitely demon possessed.

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Thanks to this board I've done a DEEP dive on Edward Lee books. Love the humor and the HOLY FUCKING WOW SHIT levels they go to. I want to get into Bleakwarrior next after finishing Gideon the 9th, is there a collection of other works that tie into Bleakwarrior? I'm thinking about either Bleakwarrior and its related books or Black Company series since that one seems to have some omnibus collections. Any recommendations on which to go with next is appreciated, thanks.

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9 hours ago, Lawful Metal said:

So I buy my dad books all the time. He just devours them. I used to read a ton, but I’ve slacked off for a long time. Every time my dad reads a book, he regifts it to me so I can read it too and we can talk about it. I’ve got a huge bookshelf of books I’ve never read.

So, this quarantine I picked one. The Fisherman by John Langan. I don’t fish, I don’t enjoy fishing, but something drew me to it. I wasn’t immediately engrossed, but once it got to the story within a story, I was hooked (pun not intended). Last 150 pages I read more or less in one sitting. Loved it. 

So the next day I call up my dad and was raving about it and how I had so many questions and I needed to talk to him about it and ... he never read it. Apparently I never gave it to him. Didn’t show up in my Amazon history, and I’d remember if I got it at the little private bookstore, since I really only buy what they recommend me there. 

So, how exactly did a slightly weathered The Fisherman get to be on my shelf?

Then I read Come Closer by Sara Gran in the span of two days and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am definitely demon possessed.

John Langan is one of my buds. The Fisherman or "Mr. Gaunt" are what we generally lead off when recruiting with Texas being in my jurisdiction, connect the dots eeef you weeeel

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1 hour ago, Hayabusa said:

Thanks to this board I've done a DEEP dive on Edward Lee books. Love the humor and the HOLY FUCKING WOW SHIT levels they go to. I want to get into Bleakwarrior next after finishing Gideon the 9th, is there a collection of other works that tie into Bleakwarrior? I'm thinking about either Bleakwarrior and its related books or Black Company series since that one seems to have some omnibus collections. Any recommendations on which to go with next is appreciated, thanks.

I assume that you've already read Goon, which is Lee and myself just having a blast writing a horror novel about demonic professional wrestlers, grotesque sex, in short, the most fun you can have short of two hookers and an eight-ball.  BTW: I have a signed copy of our novel SHIFTERS sitting right here, One of only 500 copies signed by Edward Lee and myself (John Pelan) for a mere $75.00 with free shipping in North Amereica.

 

Sadly, there is nothing that ties into Bleakwarrior, save for the music that the author has composed and up loaded to the site. Some pretty dark stuff...

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2 hours ago, OSJ said:

John Langan is one of my buds. The Fisherman or "Mr. Gaunt" are what we generally lead off when recruiting with Texas being in my jurisdiction, connect the dots eeef you weeeel

OSJ is a demon confirmed

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OSJ you betcha, that was the first one I read based on the talk about the corncob scene being based on a real story, and then I started with the Header and Bighead stories and was hooked hahahaha. I have to look through my list and see if I have Shifters, theres a few I haven't read of his yet that I'm saving for after Gideon/Bleakwarrior/Black Company. 

 

In that vein, are there other writers-collections-books you might recommend, please? With all the down time working from home I'm loving being able to read through so many of my "pending" list. Got through the Warhammer Gaunts Ghosts series quickly and dove into Goon and the Header stories and I might do a reread of some Faerun setting novels. Just hoping to see other titles worth a read.

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On 3/21/2020 at 4:36 AM, AxB said:

I'm now reading Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J D Barker.  Too soon to say.

Finished it a while ago. Would have been better as a documentary than a novel. It's supposed to be based on the excised first 70 pages of Dracula, from before he changed everyone's names and so on. But it's pretty disappointing. The afterword/ postscript bit is better than the story.

Then I read Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell, which is an Elizabethan heist caper novel where the main character is Richard Shakespeare (William's brother). Great fun. No battles, almost no fights, so a real departure for the guy who everyone thinks as a Military History writer. It suggests that Midsummer Night's Dream was all a massive rib. The postscript is really interesting. But it isn't better than the book.

Now reading The Wandering Earth by Cixin Lee. Short story collection. The first one is about how when the Sun starts preparing to go Supernova, the human race decides the best way to avoid complete extinction is to move the whole planet to Proxima Centauri. But there's a political split between the Keepers (who agree with moving the planet) and the Leavers (who want to build spaceships instead). And the Leavers seem to all be delusional arseholes, so it's just like Brexit.

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Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

sherlockholmes.jpg

 

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Read Shades of Glory(the official MLB book of the negro leagues released when  the did that big hall of fame exhibit) and its as dry as you would think it is. Some good info, but only semi-readable, as its more of a encyclopedia written as a book. 

Satchel was a pretty good bio of the times and the man, though I think at least 20 -30 pages could have been cut of out stories about his fastball. . . 

A couple of Elmore Leonards-Rum punch-the basis for Jackie Brown. Didn't really rget going for me, as there was not  much tension, as you could see the finale coming for a couple hundred pages, by design mind you.  Then again I didn't like Get Shorty that much either.

Pronto on the other hand was fantastic. Love Raylan Givens, and I haven't even seen Justified. . .

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I don't know if this should go here or not, as while it does cover some of what I'm reading that isn't really the main objective of the post... So what am I getting at? Well, the grand-niece (or as we call her "grand-daughter" as the Navajo's have no words for niece or nephew, so I'm "Grandpa" or as she's dubbed me; "Papa". Anyway, she usually ignores what I'm doing and plays with the cats, but on this day she was full of questions about not only what I do, but how and why... Finally came out that this is a summer-school project: (Interview Someone with an Interesting Job and be prepared to do a write-up about it.) So I guess I won out over Dad who repairs telephone lines and mom who answers the switchboard at City Hall. Anyway, it occurred to me that while many of y'all know that I edit/assemble (and occasionally write) books for a living, I've never really talked about HOW  I do this, and since I'm just starting off on two books, I figure this is as good a time as any to discuss "What are you writing/editing?"

The subject today is Frank Belknap Long, best-known for being solidly in the orbit of H.P.Lovecraft. However, that doesn't tell the FBL story very well as unlike Lovecraft, who died a rather early death,  Mr. Long lived well into his nineties and until dementia caught him in his last decade he was still producing fiction well into his eighties.  So anyway one of the things that I've been doing is a series entitled "Masters of Science Fiction" which is sort of my answer to the less-frequent, but far more expensive "Masters of the Weird Tale". The latter are beautiful, over-size books retailing at anywhere  from $250-$400!!!  Now I like "shelf candy" as much as the next guy, but ultimately I want to produce books that people will read... See , I'm not as much of an elitist fuck as you thought I was... Anyway, when I went to work with my pal, Jerad Walters at Centipede Press it was the best career move of my life, I closed up my publishing companies, Darkside Press  and Midnight House and went to work where I tele-commute and get to do the fun, creative stuff and I don't have to worry about running the company and doing all the financial stuff (which I hate). So anyway, a while back I convinced Jerad that he was leaving money on the table by not doing an inexpensive version of the books that we do in the "Masters of the Weird Tale" series. Just as an aside, the MOTWT are chock-full of high-quality repros of book covers, pulp magazine covers, photos of the author at conventions and nook signings and whatever other bells and whistles we can think of. The spin-off is the "Library of Weird Fiction" , which are essentially the same book, generally split into two volumes and with no bells or whistles. They are usually "assembled" by S.T. Joshi, who has made quite the little cottage industry for himself by reformatting my work and taking credit for it. At  this point I don't even care as everyone in the industry knows what's up and laughs at him. But anyway, the reformatting of the "Masters of the Weird Tale: Frank Belknap Long" inspired Jerad to call me up and drop everything I was doing and put together: "Masters of Science Fiction: Frank Belknap Long". 

My initial response was almost "Are you out of your fucking mind?", but before I said that I reminded myself that Jerad signs the checks (and some damn nice ones at that); so I kept my initial opinion about the project to myself. Normally, when I do one of these books I start with: Award winners, award nominees, "Year's Best" selections, Locus  recommended list and at that point I usually have a pretty substantial collection on hand. Unfortunately, I can't do any of that with Mr.Long; when he was most active he wasn't working in a genre that received awards or nominations; and by the time he was recognized as being one of our "old-timers'", a lot of what he was writing was again, not the  type of material that the "Labor Day Group" is fond of. So basically, on this one, I kind of have to work backwards. Okay, the dude wrote about 150 stories, assume that the average was around 6.,500 words; that's 975,000 words; sometimes Jerad will let me go over budget, but basically I have about 240,000 words to work with. So let's start with Joshi's table of contents and delete all those from the book, but wait... Let's start with MY table of contents from the "Masters of the Weird Tale" volume!! Okay, that eliminates 66 non-sf stories right there.  This is starting to get manageable! Now here's the hard part, I still have three times the volume that I need for this book and Jerad wanted it done fast, (basically so he could publish both books together, leaving aside that mine is being created from scratch and all S.T. has to do is select stories out of an existing book. So here's where I play elitist and do some guesswork. I have about half of Long's weaker market stories and none of them jump out at me as being particularly good. Here's the deal folks, throughout the 1930s-1940s Long was writing imitation Lovecraft and it was not great, so we're going to look at mostly 1950-on, (this also serves to eliminate about thirty more really bad stories). In the time period we're looking the markets went like this: Playboy: fifty cents a word (I shit you not, up until fairly recently Playboy was the best-paying fiction market in the world, unfortunately, they only bought four-five SF stories a year. Next was Boy's Life:  twenty cents a word, they bought more SF than did Playboy. but if you were going to count on them to earn a living, you were sadly delusional. And then we come to Astounding : A full SF magazine that pays well. Now the trick is to go through the Internet Speculative Fiction Database and select his stories from Astounding  and then work my way down the list of SF magz from best-paying to worst-paying! And THAT'S how I roll...

 

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Cixin Liu is really, really good.

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Decided instead of going on to Backlund's biography, I needed some comfort so I'm reading Something Fresh by Wodehouse.

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I'm reading Rick James autobiography "Glow."  I've read a few autobiographies in my day, but Rick James is the first person who thought it was important to include the first time he gave a woman head in his autobiography.  

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11 hours ago, AxB said:

Cixin Liu is really, really good.

 

I read his Three-Body Problem trilogy of books and enjoyed all of them.

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At the moment, I'm not reading anything. In the last week, I got a bootleg eBook of the out of print "Rage" by Richard Bachman. And, after reading it, I can fully understand why Stephen King felt the need to have it taken out of print. I followed that up with the SK essay "Guns" since he goes into details about writing Rage, and his reasonings for having it taken OOP. I'm not sure what my next book is going to be, perhaps another of the Parnell Hall "Stanley Hastings" series.  After hearing about it on a Joe Rogan podcast, I'm getting my father "Nights of the Witch" for Father's Day. He's always been interested in the Native Americans, and anicent civilizations, so it seems up his alley. A couple of years ago, I got him "Don't Call Me Fake" the David Schultz biograhy, and he went crazy.

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I got a How To book on writing private eye stories when I was in middle school that was written by Parnell Hall, and I’ve been meaning to read the Stanley Hastings books ever since. 

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4 hours ago, Mike Campbell said:

At the moment, I'm not reading anything. In the last week, I got a bootleg eBook of the out of print "Rage" by Richard Bachman. And, after reading it, I can fully understand why Stephen King felt the need to have it taken out of print. I followed that up with the SK essay "Guns" since he goes into details about writing Rage, and his reasonings for having it taken OOP. I'm not sure what my next book is going to be, perhaps another of the Parnell Hall "Stanley Hastings" series.  After hearing about it on a Joe Rogan podcast, I'm getting my father "Nights of the Witch" for Father's Day. He's always been interested in the Native Americans, and anicent civilizations, so it seems up his alley. A couple of years ago, I got him "Don't Call Me Fake" the David Schultz biograhy, and he went crazy.

I own the RIchard Bachman collection on eBook, but the one without Rage. It was something I was always interested in checking out, primarily I guess because it is hard not to want something that someone doesn't want you to have. I never read all the stories on the eBook, but did read The Long Walk which I enjoyed for what it was.

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Just revisited THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY for my book club for the first time in 15 years.  Also probably the first novel I've read on paper in 6-7 years.  I still love it, but I understand why some in our group didn't.  It feels less like a story than a series of Alice in Wonderland-style "and then THIS happened" moments, and the only characters who feel at all like people are Arthur, Slartibartfast and Ford in descending order of plausibility.  The whole thing feels more like a reaction to the kind of short stories that are hung on a Big Idea and leave characters and plot as ornaments to that idea than it does anything readers under 50 grew up with.

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It probably doesnt help that so much stuff he did have become cliches and tropes. 

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:13 AM, username said:

I read his Three-Body Problem trilogy of books and enjoyed all of them.

I am about halfway through the first book and I am not completely sold. I started with the German translation, because why not, or at least so I thought. But the German translation turned out to be pretty bad. Some technical terms for example, were translated inconsistently or even wrong. Even the title was translated to "Die drei Sonnen" (meaning "The Three Suns"), even though the literal translation of the three-body problem ("Das Dreikörperproblem") is a well known term in mathematics or and physics (disregarding the fact, that the VR substory is actually a four-body problem). I am still not the fan of the flowery language. It does not appear to be that bad to me in the English translation (even though clearly existing and out-of-place for how the story is told otherwise), but that might just be that being a non-native speaker reduces the effect on me.

Another problem of the German translation is, that it lacks the footnotes of the English translation, which are sometimes really helpfull. There is an annex with some explanations, but they are not directly linked to the text passages.

One reason why I choose to read this book was to see how political (or not political) it would get. So far, it's really obvious how the Cultural Revolution during Deng Xiaoping became what Stalinism became in the Soviet Union during Krushchev.

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On 6/7/2020 at 1:16 AM, Cliff Hanger said:

Just revisited THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY for my book club for the first time in 15 years.  Also probably the first novel I've read on paper in 6-7 years.  I still love it, but I understand why some in our group didn't.  It feels less like a story than a series of Alice in Wonderland-style "and then THIS happened" moments, and the only characters who feel at all like people are Arthur, Slartibartfast and Ford in descending order of plausibility.  The whole thing feels more like a reaction to the kind of short stories that are hung on a Big Idea and leave characters and plot as ornaments to that idea than it does anything readers under 50 grew up with.

I suppose a reason for the short-series style is that radio series came first. I also heard people saying that the laters books (3 and 4) are the highlight or the Hitchhiker book series, though I must admit, that I never got past book 2. I began with book 3 a couple of years ago, but it was just a bit too British for me. I was always feeling like I was missing some context to a joke or two. Like what happens when reading Terry Pratchett, just to a much greater extend (as with Pratchett, the English-culture-heavy jokes usually are just side jokes).

Edited by Robert s

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6 hours ago, Robert s said:

I am about halfway through the first book and I am not completely sold. I started with the German translation, because why not, or at least so I thought. But the German translation turned out to be pretty bad. Some technical terms for example, were translated inconsistently or even wrong.

Yeah this would be a problem. Particularly as you get into the later books it becomes less about characters and more just dealing with the technical reality of what these things would mean (I'm not sure I'd describe it as truly "hard" sci-fi, but it leans in that direction) so those elements getting muddled would be a significant obstacle. 

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7 hours ago, Robert s said:

I suppose a reason for the short-series style is that radio series came first. I also heard people saying that the laters books (3 and 4) are the highlight or the Hitchhiker book series, though I must admit, that I never got past book 2. I began with book 3 a couple of years ago, but it was just a bit too British for me. I was always feeling like I was missing some context to a joke or two. Like what happens when reading Terry Pratchett, just to a much greater extend (as with Pratchett, the English-culture-heavy jokes usually are just side jokes).

Book Three was adapted from a Dr Who story that did not end up being made. 

I would prob rank them 1 2 5 4 3, but i am in the minority in liking Random. 

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Finally made it all the way through Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.  I have finally climbed the Sprawl Trilogy mountain.

It amuses me that people these days embrace Cyberpunk as an aspiration when it was meant to be a warning.

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