Cheeseburger Gothic

War Stories. eds Liptak & Gates

Posted November 7, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Haven't read this one yet but like Three Body Problem, it's on my Xmas list. Military Sci-Fi doesn't get much lovin' from the genre community, outside of the Baen lounges and a few outposts such as the Burger.

War Stories looks a solid anthology, with some of the contributers having served in one military branch or another. I'm not sure if there's an Australian distributor for the hardback, which comes from Apex in the US. (Note, I earlier identified Apex as a UK company, but Murph put me to rights). If not, the ebook is definitely the way to go. Five bucks, instead of thirty.

It's got a near perfect score on GoodReads and a nice write up here:

Norwich University's Andrew Liptak has pulled together — along with his coeditor, Jaym Gates — a collection of lean, absorbing and well-executed prose that was authored, in part, by those who have experienced war firsthand or have a working familiarity with military life.

Accordingly, War Stories places the emphasis less on alien battlegrounds and futuristic military gadgets than on very human, or humanlike, soldiers who wage war, and the toll it exacts on their psyches.

Escapist fiction it's not.

"The point of this anthology was not to champion war but to stand back and look at it on a broad canvas, and do so in a way that people find interesting and entertaining," explains Liptak, a 2007 Norwich grad who currently works as student-services adviser for the military university's online graduate program.

War Stories is divided into four sections: "Wartime Systems," "Combat," "Armored Force" and "Aftermath."

7 Responses to ‘War Stories. eds Liptak & Gates’

Murphy asserts...

Posted November 7, 2014
Actually, Apex Publications is based in Lexington, Kentucky and run by Jason Sizemore. Their magazine component, Apex Magazine, purchased The Limb Knitter back in 2008.

Aside from that, I am aware of this anthology.

The less I say beyond that, probably the better.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted November 7, 2014
Hmm. How odd. All the sites I went looking at sent me to the UK, for this.

Anyway, I stand corrected.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 7, 2014
Tis not a problem. The two reasons I pointed out are as follows:

1. I've done business with that company.
2. Tis sorta my job.

Errors happen. Tis the way of things. At least it didn't happen to you in front of a lecture hall full of students.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted November 7, 2014

This one is my summer reading list as well. Hoping I can entice the_weapon to take a short break whilst plowing through the complete Warhammer 40000 novels (Dan Abnett a favourite author) to read something different.

He is somewhat of a completest and wants to finish them all before moving on

Don't know where he gets that from

so I am hoping this will be attractive enough to provide a distraction. The school text books he is offered aren't exactly winning him over, Diary of a part-time Indian, Holes. One of next years texts is Scott Westerfield but he has already read that one.


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Lobes mutters...

Posted November 8, 2014
That reminds I have prepurchased the three body problem. Must connect the old kindle sometime and see if it downloads. It just comes automatically right?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted November 8, 2014
No. It isn't automatic. Not for you. It only works for the virtuous.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted November 9, 2014
Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

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21st century China as 1950s America

Posted November 5, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

I'm really looking forward to release of Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem. Partly because it's about invasion by space aliens (who must surely get their space lizard arses kicked, as is only right), and partly because it's a Chinese take on a very western genre.

Liu is a power plant engineer, so the science is probably going to be reasonably accurate; not that I give a shit. And it's been a genuine best seller in his home country already, so I'm guessing the story chops are the goods.

The Wall Street Journal ran some interview extracts recently, including a question about the reasons for Liu's success in the SF genre. His answer was revealing of a China we don't often think about, a modern industrial and even post industrial state emerging from thousands of years of agrarian backwardness.

Why do you think your book has generated so much interest?

It’s hard to say. I asked this same question of a person who has a lot of experience in selling books. He didn’t know either. Perhaps it’s linked to the fact that Chinese society is industrializing rapidly. Chinese people are increasingly considering the world not from the perspective of their own nation, but from the perspective of all mankind. They are concerned with the problems of all humanity. Those problems are often philosophical in nature. More and more Chinese have begun to care about where we come from, where we are now and where we are going. And they have begun to care about the fate of our planet and the entire universe. This is especially true of young Chinese.

You could say this about America, or any of the anglophone countries in the early to mid 20th Century and you would not be far wrong, I reckon.

9 Responses to ‘21st century China as 1950s America’

Barnesm reckons...

Posted November 5, 2014

I have been looking forward to this one a lot, then its tempered by how much I was looking forward to reading Ancillary Justice until I actually read it.

I am torn between cheering China on with is endeavours in space and renewable energy and booing their attitudes to freedom of expression and voicing dissent.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted November 5, 2014
I'm still struggling through the first chapter of AJ. After 6 months.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2014
I wonder if AJ is one of those books more reviewed than read.

pitpat would have you know...

Posted November 5, 2014
Just finished AJ, and it felt like the eternity that I waited for something to actually happen. It was a well written back story and in all probability just exposes my preference for things to go BOOM at irregular and surprising intervals. For my sins I have started the latest Hamilton opus and am having the same problem of actually giving a rats.

Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted November 6, 2014
Book awards aren't necessarily about the quality of the work, but may be more about the people that vote for the awards.

AJ's much awardedness may be more about burnishing the SF community's progressive credentials than it is about rewarding a groundbreaking, thought provoking, paradigm redefining work of fiction.

(There is certainly the same sort of bitter controversy within the SF community that there is within the gaming community with progressive and conservative factions each attempting to define the nature of the community)

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Surtac mutters...

Posted November 5, 2014


Liu's book looks really interesting. I'll look out for it.

Re Ancillary Justice, which I enjoyed immensely btw, I think the issue is that Leckie has been heavily influenced by the writings of CJ Cherryh and the particular style in which she writes. CJC will never infodump at you and you as the reader are expected to handle a lot of the heavy lifting working out the background that the action takes place in. And CJC's themes are almost always sociological in nature - it's not all about the 'splosions..

Full disclosure - I'm one of the moderators of a message board forum dedicated to CJC in particular and SF/F in general. We don't see her around there much anymore, but Leckie has been a member there for longer than I have.

Pitpat, I'm reading the new Hamilton right now too and I'm finding it quite engrossing halfway through.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted November 5, 2014
"it's not all about the 'splosions".... HERESY

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pitpat asserts...

Posted November 5, 2014
Thanks Surtac, I will keep going. I didn't mean it to sound like I was dissing AJ or Leckie. The book has a refreshing POV and her writing style is polished with more than a little bit of subtlety. And yes the reader is expected to work for the reward which is generally a good thing. If I could I would blame my children for my inability to concentrate. It is easier to blame society as a whole for bombarding me with useless shit that I just have to read or watch. Ah fuck it I blame the Internet. and Santa.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2014
I think of America leading the world into the machine age. A tsunami of mechanisation eddying around the Appalachians, surging up the Mississippi and crashing onto the great plains. Great mighty scale technology of cast iron and grease. Capable men learnt the systems of coal and oil as the horse age passed. This is still part of the culture with bike & car customisation.

Now the digital age is surging and another nation is finding themselves. I wonder what ripples will eddy through the future.


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The Change. Coming next June

Posted October 30, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth (Change Series)

As many of my own books as I have coming out next year (hint: heaps) this anthology set in Steve's Emberverse is one I'm looking forward to most of all.

It's a double alternate history, a crossover of sorts with The Disappearance. You'll get to spend a little time again with Fifi, Jules and Pete as they raid the tomb city of Sydney. It's not a short story. I think the final version logged in at about 18 000 words, close enough to most writers idea of an ebook as makes no difference. And it was hella fun to write.

Thing I'm most looking forward to though is deep diving into all the other stories. I love the Emberverse series and there's some awesome word wranglers playing in it here.

?

Pete steered them carefully through the sunken and half-sunken vessels that still lay about Farm Cove. The largest was a paddle steamer, a floating restaurant she supposed, that had gone down in front of the old governor’s residence. Tiny waves lapped at the paddles halfway up the giant wooden wheel and slowly poured through the broken windows on the second deck. Only the upper third was completely free of inundation and she watched it closely for signs of movement. As they wove around the abandoned hulls of smaller power craft, their course took them close enough to the flat bottomed steamer to make of them a perfect target, even for rock throwers. The old hulks clinked and creaked in the nor’easter. Magpies and crows cawed and cackled at one another, and somewhere nearby a kookaburra began to laugh. She startled at an enormous black bat that flapped close overhead, its leathery wings sounding just like the whuffling snap of sails in a moderate breeze.
“Bugger me,” she breathed. “This is less fun than the brochure promised.”
“Too late for a refund,” came Pete’s voice softly. “See to the sails, Julesy.”

39 Responses to ‘The Change. Coming next June’

Barnesm asserts...

Posted October 30, 2014

The important question, is Rhino in it. That'll make it sell.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted October 30, 2014
I, Boylan, approve. I feel privileged to be present for the convergence of such ultra coolness.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted October 30, 2014


June? Fraking June?

Still, Birmo and WoJo both. Yes I'll be buying it. Sigh.

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Peter Bradley mumbles...

Posted October 30, 2014
Looks like a fair amount of my time in 2015 is going to be spent in a number of incarnations of the Birmoverse.

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Bunyip is gonna tell you...

Posted October 30, 2014
I think I just had some movement....

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted October 30, 2014
Is Jules, is good. Books are definitely the go as you get older. Marvel has announced movies for 2018 and 2019 with the Avengers, Thanos and Guardians of the Galaxy tie ins. I can't wait that long!
Also - OT but harking back to an earlier blog - SyFy channel has admitted that making cheap crap was a bad idea and committed to more high quality series, including:
• The Expanse. Series, 10 episodes. Based on the series of books by James S.A. Corey, a thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse
follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened
detective and a rogue ship's captain together in a race across the solar
system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history. No date.
That may have been mentioned here before and I missed the memo or forgot but there you go. Also Clarke's "Childhoods End" with Charles Dance.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 30, 2014
Yeah. I saw that. Was gonna post something about it.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted October 30, 2014
That's gonna be some fun page turnin'.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted October 30, 2014
sweet, Turtledove and Birmingham ..two people I would liketo have a beer with. I will just have to down a few beers while reading this.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted October 30, 2014
What if you learned from a reliable source that Turtledove (if that is his real name) has a tendency to drone on and on about the Byzantine Empire? Would that change your mind?

Bunyip ducks in to say...

Posted October 30, 2014
Cool. We can stick him next to Bob Ellis.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 31, 2014
Hold on now: I meant that as an enticement. I personally cannot discuss Byzantine foreign policy enough. It is endlessly interesting, especially when compared to the longevity of the Byzantine system to that of the Romans.

Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted October 31, 2014
PNB, you'll have to pin Ellis in for the other side. It only seems fair (for Bob, at least). I mean, you will have to take one for the team, but I'm sure it will be appreciated.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted October 31, 2014
Can't I merely have a conversation - perhaps share a little sponge cake, a little wine - with Mr. Turtledove (if that is his real name) and leave Bob out of it? Not that I have anything against Bob, but I have a hunch he doesn't know the Napoleonic Code from the Codex Justinianus (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted October 31, 2014
I tend to prattle on about punk rock and hating on contemporary artists, public servants and tattoos. so I'm sure I wouldn't notice much with a few beers inside me.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted October 30, 2014
More Pete can only be a good thing.

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Sparty ducks in to say...

Posted October 30, 2014
This I am looking forward to- Birmo is playing in some good company!


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S.M. Stirling mutters...

Posted October 31, 2014
A giant ice statue of Superman appears in one of the stories, a colony of the autistic in another, and there are imperialist Venetian Communists in galleys spewing Greek Fire. And one titled "Bernie, Lord of the Apes". Another with attack chihuahuas and Aztec obsidian cellphones. All sorts of good stuff.

I admit to a special fondness for John's, though. I had missed Pete and Jules and FiFi.

Anthony has opinions thus...

Posted November 1, 2014

I would never make a librarian, I am unable to keep my bookshelves in any sort of order**. As a result I have to trawl through the shelves when I want to find a book. However I just looked up from where I was reading this and realised that next to each other on the shelves are Dies the Fire and Weapons of Choice... Very strange coincidence.


** and I don't have orange fur.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 31, 2014
"and there are imperialist Venetian Communists in galleys spewing Greek Fire...."

What a tired cliche.

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted November 3, 2014
Il compagno, so che sei stanco, ma tenere a remi.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted November 3, 2014
Vaffanculo. Tu non sei il mio capo. Mi fermerò a remi se voglio.

Bunyip reckons...

Posted November 3, 2014
Bene allora. [mangia tutto il tiramisù]

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted November 3, 2014
Do you have any idea how lucky it is for you that I don't enjoy tiramisu?

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted November 3, 2014
Dov'e la fermata?

(which I remember because it was the only time I *had* to use Italian in Italy; one result of sticking to the tourist areas)

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted November 3, 2014
Non ci sono autobus. Questo è un paese povero.

Bunyip would have you know...

Posted November 3, 2014
Il tuo aliscafo è pieno di anguille.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted November 3, 2014
You've gone too far, buddy. It is time to end this:

Non voglio parlare con te più, è animale mangiatoia tergicristallo testa vuota. I scoreggiare nella vostra direzione generale. Tua madre era un criceto e tuo padre puzzava di elderberries.

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TexasTeaserPony has opinions thus...

Posted November 1, 2014
These guys need to write more and more often.

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Anthony mutters...

Posted November 1, 2014
And what happened to King Birmo of Darwin?

Darth Greybeard mumbles...

Posted November 1, 2014
(Shhh. Deposed by his son. It involved crocodiles. We don't talk about it.)

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JG would have you know...

Posted November 2, 2014
Glad to hear that Fifi is alive and well again in this book. And Jules. Both great characters. Ever seeing Caitlin again? She was my fave (and Rhino) in the Without Warning trilogy.

I don't know how I'm going to read all these new books in 2015. That's four for you, JB, counting the Dave/Monsters series. Jeepers. The pressure's on to read more next year.

JG

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S.M. Stirling has opinions thus...

Posted November 3, 2014
Alas, Caitlin would be SOL without high-tech medicine.

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JG has opinions thus...

Posted November 4, 2014
Caitlin was a noble bearer of pain, S.M.S. A hardcore steely heroine. I look forward to reading your story also in The Change - you being a loyal CBG follower (Burger). I have not yet read any of your work. Congrats on being the editor of what I think will be a most entertaining book.

JG

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2014
Red, I recommend starting with Island in the Sea of Time. That is what I started with and I reread it (and its sequels) at least once a year.

And each time - each time - it leaves me sad it is done and wishing for more sequels.

JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2014
Thanks for that, Paul. Noted.
Joanna

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Guy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 5, 2014
Liked Jules lots. She's assertive without Caitlin's regretable homicidal tendencies.

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I never got past the insect nookie in China Mieville

Posted October 29, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

And now I don't have to because Tor has published this nifty guide to the scary man's fictional realms.

China Miéville’s presence looms over genre fiction. Over the course of a dozen books, Miéville has ranged freely across categories and classifications – epic and urban fantasy, social and hard science fiction, crime, horror and more. And in each case, he addresses, dances with, pokes at and, ultimately, departs from, the traditions and expectations therein. Although many thousands of words have been written trying to put Miéville’s work into neat buckets (“New Weird!” “Fantastika!” “Literary Speculation!” “Hauntological Slipstream!” “Tentacular Metafusion!”), time has proven that a China Miéville book is ultimately, well – Miévillian. The man is a category unto himself.

They've got hand little McNugget sized write ups of all his main novels, and they're almost enough to get me to read them. But I can't get past the insect nookie. I think it was in Perdido Street Station.

No pressure, but Perdido Street Station (2000) is probably the Single Best Fantasy Ever Written. And part of that is because it contains, as Whitman said, ‘multitudes’. A disgruntled scientist and his allies – including a de-winged hawkperson, rebellious, um, steampunk cyborgs?, a bug-headed artist, and a badger – all tackle one of the great mysteries of the universe. Also, a shamelessly corrupt government. And nightmarish dream-eating insects. Also contains: adorably traditional adventuring parties, robot mobsters, the Ambassador of Hell, swashbuckling mantis-armed bandits, shapeless horrors, and Devices That Tamper With the Stuff of Reality. All set in the bizarre and ceaselessly tantalising metropolis of New Crobuzon.

Thematically, Perdido is just as ambitious, with discussions of free will and agency and the rule of law and rebellion and causality and governance and and and and… you name it, and you can find it in here. If you want the One Book to Bring Them All And in The (Oversized) Paperback Bind Them, this is the one.

24 Responses to ‘I never got past the insect nookie in China Mieville’

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted October 29, 2014
yeah I've tried with a couple of his novels and it just seems pointless to me though Tentacular Metafusion is my new favourite genre catagory.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 29, 2014
It's all the tentacles which put a fellow off.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted October 30, 2014
Drax: You! Man who has lain with an Askervarian.

Peter: It was one time, man.


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Spanner mumbles...

Posted October 29, 2014
You had me at tentacles.

I'm not a pervert! Stop looking at me like that.

Don't judge me. I'm normal. It's you lot that are the sickos.

Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted October 29, 2014
Not only tentacles you evil Wrench. I posted a revealing photo of you on twitter last night. With your "friend".

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted October 29, 2014
Ooh. Does Spanner's "friend", have a "sibling"? Asking for a, um... close relative.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted October 29, 2014


I had no problems with the insect nookie per se, but some of the other imagery was disturbing as I recall.

I found that by the time I'd got through the first 200 pages he'd done most of the world-building and the story could properly start, which I seem to recall it did at that point. And of course the worldbuilding he did in Perdido Street Station was re-used in The Scar and in The Iron Council.

I'm on record elsewhere as being a bit of a fan of his work. I've generally liked most of his books. I thought The City and the City thoroughly deserved its' Hugo Award, and King Rat and Kraken are two of the best examples of London phantasmagoria I've yet read.

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted October 29, 2014
Insect Nookie was the name of my punk rock band back in the early 1980's.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 29, 2014
And we mourn its passing onto the endless dinner-theatre tour.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted October 29, 2014
Dinner-theatre can be dispiriting. The last time Insect Nookie played I was walking through the venue during a break and someone asked me if I could give them my autograph and get them some more butter.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted October 29, 2014
Would it have killed you? Geeze

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 30, 2014
I told Buzz-Kill, the band's bassoon player, to get that lady some more butter. He lives to serve.

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trib ducks in to say...

Posted October 29, 2014
Go back and read Perdido. Really.

However, if you can't deal with bug sex, go with WTF Central Europe in The City and The City. Just super good. And no bugs.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted October 29, 2014
Second this. There's so much in Perdido and the others in the series. The City and the City is just amazing, too. But I only got into Mieville after reading about how he got into a fight with Eric S. Raymond.

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted October 29, 2014
City and the City was fucking amazing. When I groked what was going on I thought to myself "you clever evil clever smart talented bastard".

dweeze puts forth...

Posted October 30, 2014
++1
I also still retain a great fondness for The Scar. However, I've pretty much given up on CM because I cant be arsed any more.reading half a book just to set up a world.
Paulo Bacigalupi(?) FTW...

Surtac ducks in to say...

Posted October 30, 2014


Nah. Bacigalupi was just ripping off Ian McDonald as far as I could tell, and not doing it anywhere near as well.

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted October 29, 2014
Animated snot balls did it for me.

Frankly, I found him to be pretty exasperating to read. Pretty much everything inspired by E. P. Thompson. If I want to read Thompson, I'll read Thompson, not China.

Him and KSR are two writers I do not waste my time on anymore.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted October 30, 2014
Actually, the progenitor of bug sex is the immortal Jack Vance in his short novel the Last Castile (one of my perennial favs). Although Vance did not describe any bug sex, the insect-women "Phanes" were clearly sexually available to the men and women of that decadent society.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted October 30, 2014
Castle, not Castile. Very different.

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TheWah ducks in to say...

Posted October 30, 2014
I adore Perdido Street Station. Borrowed it from the library when it was first released. Mieville casually throws down wonderful concepts in this novel that other writers would have spent a full novel fleshing out. The city of New Crobuzon felt richer and more mysterious because of this. Though we were following the main characters the world didn't revolve around them and a multitude of wonders were hidden down each dirty alley way. I ended up buying a collecter's edition of Perdido and it sits on my bookshelf proudly next to my Ian M Banks Culture novels.

The sequel novel, The Scar, was also good, but I wasn't so moved by Iron Council which was also set in Bas Lag. I have friends who argue with me about Iron Council. They tell me its the superior book to Perdido Street Station... they are wrong.

Once someone explained New Crobuzon as Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork but without the comedy. I can see where they are coming from.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 31, 2014
It's more like what you'd get if the elements in Ankh-Morpork were actually present in 19th century London. Though the better way to see this is as referring to the same trope of convention or tradition about a mystical city that Pratchett is referring to. Fritz Leiber's stuff comes to mind.

Incidentally, if the insect sex freaks you out, the Leiber story where Fafhrd is screwing a female ghoul doesn't?The ghoul is depicted as a humanoid with invisible soft tissue, so that normally if they are naked, the bones and only the bones are visible. However when sexually aroused the lips, breasts and genitals become pink... Then there's the story where Fafhrd and the grey mouser both impregnate ice princesses...

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When too much Cthulhu is barely enough

Posted October 24, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Open Culture has kindly gathered up all the free HP Lovecraft audio books in existence and bundled them in one terrorlicious post for you download at your convenience.

How many Lovecraft works? Pretty much all of them. The stories have slipped into the public domain and mad fans of the Olde Ones have been recording their own versions. There are also professional readings of everything from The Call of Cthulu to The Dunwich Horror, and a radio dramatization of The Color out of Space.

All the good free stuff is here.

From Open Culture:

The early twentieth century author spent almost his entire life in the New England of his birth, drawing on its many oddities in obscure stories published in pulp magazines—notably the influential Weird Tales. Hypochondriac, hyper-sensitive, and reclusive in later life, Lovecraft survived on a dwindling inheritance and never achieved much recognition. But in death, he has spawned a formidable cult who immerse themselves in a universe created from references to the occult, demonology, and various mythological archetypes. However overwrought his prose, Lovecraft’s work can be situated in a long literary tradition of influence, and a Lovecraft circle continued to expand his vision of scientific and supernatural horror after his death... Listening to Lovecraft is an excellent, as well as convenient, way to experience his work. His florid, often archaic, and melodramatic descriptions lend themselves perfectly to aural interpretations.

15 Responses to ‘When too much Cthulhu is barely enough’

Chaz would have you know...

Posted October 24, 2014
Nice retro feel listening to cthulhugoodness

Anthony mumbles...

Posted October 24, 2014

Surely you mean Cthulubadness?

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted October 24, 2014
Cthulu as audio is teh awesome.

Were you folks not aware of HPPodcraft.com? Do yourselves a favour.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted October 24, 2014
Thanks for that Surtac I perfer my audiobooks to be ipodable.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted October 25, 2014
If you don't tell your children about C'thulhu, they will learn about C'thulhu on the street, or the locker room, or from other disreputable sources.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted October 25, 2014
I'm going to make myself a target here maybe and say that Lovecraft's literary descendants and pastiche makers are actually a heck of a lot better than the man himself. I find Charles Stross' Laundry Files great fun while HP's stuff is as turgid and repetitive as it is morbid. No denying his influence though. Hellboy FTW.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted October 25, 2014
We all agree with you, more or less. But HP was the source, and there is something pure about his stuff, even if it is a bit clumsy.

I enjoy Robert E. Howard for the same reasons.

Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 25, 2014
I agree, including the guilty (in my case) enjoyment of Robert E Howard. When authors with more modern attitudes took over from Howard, the stories just weren't the same. Thoughtful and considerate Conan? Give me sorcerers, monsters, giant apes to cleave and princesses to rescue. And blood, lots of blood.

I'll just go and lie down now.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted October 25, 2014
When I was 13 years old Howard's works inspired me to write one of my first short stories entitled Larry the Barbarian. It was about a barbarian who got no respect from other barbarians because his name is Larry.

How I yearn for those simple days - when everything and everyone was simple.

Sudragon mumbles...

Posted October 25, 2014
I like the Laundry Files stories... It's funny, funny, spy stuff, funny, then the blood hits the walls and you want to stop reading as part of your brain gibbers in the corner.

Arguments could be made about connections between IS(IL)(IS) and CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted October 26, 2014
Has anyone seen GreyBeard & Cthulu in the same room at the same time?
Just saying.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted October 27, 2014
GreyBeard has been seen with Yog-Sothoth, but that doesn't mean GreyBeard isn't C'thulhu: they might have been exchanging contact information.

NBlob reckons...

Posted October 27, 2014
I was going to ask how you told them apart, then I read more; One dim & bearded oblate sphere against a conglomeration of glowing spheres.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted October 27, 2014
Your familiarity with the Outer Gods impresses me.

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Mandy asserts...

Posted October 27, 2014
There's an Australian Cthulhu anthology about to come out that sounds promising - called Cthulhu Down Under. Cthulhu in a caravan park, anyone?

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Just bought my first Greg Bear book. War Dogs

Posted October 3, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Fans of Bear's books have always seemed a little gimlet eyed to me. "The science is so hard," they whisper through clenched teeth. "Oh soooo hard."

Which puts a fellow off.

But I like the look of his latest, War Dogs, even though it's an idea I wanted to write myself at some point. A sci fi story about aliens arriving, giving us all their most advanced and SPLODEY kit, and then confessing they need us to fight some much nastier aliens for them.

I always imagined this as being a function of the Great Filter. Any race sufficiently advanced to harness the energies required for inter-solar travel stand a good chance of wiping themselves out with those energies. So the benevolent aliens are like really smart space wimps who build our star drives and powered armour for us but can't possibly do any of the fighting because they're all so effete and concerned with the survival of their species.

Still, now I don't have to write it. Bear beat me to the power glove punch. I'm hoping it wont be too depressing and that those space lizards get what's coming.

There's a Kirkus review here.

40 Responses to ‘Just bought my first Greg Bear book. War Dogs’

Blarkon reckons...

Posted October 3, 2014
Just remember that the Space Lizard Empire smashed the FKN filter - and then didn't go and FKN talk to the United Nations about "send us your best" - but instead went down to the pub at Bacchus Marsh and said "who wants to break some space sloth sculptures and shit with singularity weapons"

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted October 3, 2014
Oi you ya muppet,from orbit gecko! and biminghum, it says in the beat up: VERY FKN LOITTLE ACTON and death and zapping and splitting marshian up and shit!, I then ask: WTF why read the fkn if its got no action or have ya gone soft in the head too!

Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted October 3, 2014
H you need to post more often ... spelling requires practice ;)

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted October 3, 2014
I am interested in the current speculation that we have already passed 'the great filter' that is the reason proposed to explain Fermi's paradox, though Its a bit depressing to think we are the only ones out here. I do wonder however if that is not better than the alternative which sees us destroyed by a great filter ahead of us.

damian reckons...

Posted October 4, 2014
Not sure I'd agree that we've "passed", unless "passed" means we didn't destroy ourselves immediately upon developing the capability to do so. I suspect "passed" will mean something like Musk's project, where some of us are beyond the reach of the guys with the doomsday weapons. And I don't think the "out of reach" bit is long-term stable...

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted October 3, 2014
Off topic, but good off topic.

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damian reckons...

Posted October 3, 2014
Haven't read any Greg Bear, though funnily enough was looking at starting into his stuff just a few days ago.

Greg Egan is very cool, hard sf albeit without the military theme

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 3, 2014
Greg Egan? OMFG!!! I meant to buy the new Greg Egan book, not the new Greg BEAR. Oh Nooooooo.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted October 3, 2014
Well Egan's that geeky WA astrophysics sf author guy. Has a personal website with java applets that provide visualisations of some of the maths concepts in his sf. I mentioned that I really enjoyed Schild's Ladder and think that others here would, too?

Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted October 3, 2014
I like both Gregs. The Way books are a good read (an Asteroid turns up in earth orbit. When people go up to it, it turns out it *was* inhabited by people from the near future of a parallel reality - and they've managed to open a sort of dimensional "Way" that allows them to travel to parallel realities - so the reason it is abandoned is that they've all gone off a few light years down this rabbit hole). This one sounds a little similar to "The Forge Of God" where two groups of Aliens turn up, one who said "hey, we bring gifts" and the others who say "actually, those guys just fucked up your planet, come with us if you want to live"

Greg Egan is kinda like the Thomas Pynchon of SF.

damian reckons...

Posted October 3, 2014
Well I really liked The Crying of Lot 49. I think many people here would too. Never got very far with V though.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted October 3, 2014
I meant more along the lines of "not a lot of photographs and a bit literary"

damian reckons...

Posted October 3, 2014
I didn't think of Egan as literary, though he does write pretty well.

pi is gonna tell you...

Posted October 4, 2014
I too, like both Greg's. But Egan is the adamantium hard-sf, not bear.

My fave duo-book of Bear is the Forge Of God/Anvil Of Stars books. If you can't get your 'splodey fix from that, you're not getting the breadth of the story.

Fave Egan book is Diaspora, followed by Permutation City. Real thinky stuff.

tqft puts forth...

Posted October 4, 2014
One thing you may not know about Egan is he does a lot of interesting math (and visualises it as alluded to above).
not all of it surfaces on his blog which i don't get too enough.
However John Baez
https://plus.google.com/117663015413546257905/posts
, who has forgotten more maths and physics than I will know exists, surfaces a lot of Greg Egan stuff in context.
I have the first 2 Orthogonal Books on my pile of shame

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Spanner would have you know...

Posted October 3, 2014
Is this one on Audible yet? I had to wait for ages for Leviathan Wakes. I loved that. The science was hardish and the story was tops.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 3, 2014
There is an audio book, somewhere.

damian asserts...

Posted October 3, 2014
My most recent reading has been the expanse series. Came up abruptly to the end of Cibola Burn just now, and reading non-fiction till I work out what next (actually reading Debt: the first 5000 years at the moment... has nice ideas and a few good bits of evidence, but not overall as solid as I hoped).

HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted October 3, 2014
srsly, I should do an audio book, they would love me doing the reading I reckon. We gunna set that up or fkn what!?

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted October 3, 2014
I keep telling people to read Lexicon by Max Barry. Everyone who listens to me and actually reads it farking loves it.

Also - the new Peter F Hamilton book is now out.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 3, 2014
I think I read it, Lexicon by Max Barry on my Kindle. Yes I'm sure I read it.
Did I read it?
Maybe I bought it after reading a really a through review and it highlighted everything I read in the wikipedia entry on it. ARGGGG, if I start reading it again I am going to constantly be feeling Deja Vu the whole time Dammit.

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 3, 2014
Are you a dog person or a cat person?

damian mumbles...

Posted October 3, 2014
Got Lexicon to start reading tonight. Will grab War Dogs too, I guess.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted October 3, 2014
Okay, Kindle edition War Dogs is embargoed till October 23, for my present arrangement at least. So Lexicon it is.

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sibeen mutters...

Posted October 3, 2014
Another thumbs up for Lexicon. I really enjoyed that.

Anyone got any idea when Flinthart is going produce #2 of his Night Beast series?

TheWah swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 5, 2014
Lexicon was very good. Recommended to me by a Burger and I really enjoyed it

damian asserts...

Posted October 6, 2014
Finished Lexicon last night and it is indeed very good. Who is this Max Barry person and why haven't we noticed him before?

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TheWah mumbles...

Posted October 5, 2014
If you like stories about humans fighting for wimpy aliens there is always John Ringo's A Hymn before Battle.

Warning - You will have to wade through right wing craziness and every description of a female character (2) in the book as having "high firm breasts".

.. now I think of it, don't read this book, it's just awful pro-military, hawks are better than doves, anti climate change silliness.

Why did I read the whole damn thing?!?!

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 5, 2014
did you lose a bet?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted October 5, 2014
How odd. I seem to recall loving that book.

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted October 5, 2014
Are we talking about the same series that has the behemoth known as Bun Bun?

TheWah reckons...

Posted October 6, 2014
There is a moment in the book when the veteran soldiers point out that if every available fighting man is brought back into service and rejuvenated then the whole economy of earth will collapse because only ex-soldiers make good corporate leaders... seriously...

It has power armour and anti-matter grenades and men having meaningful relationships with an AI called Michelle (but not gay relationships because its ok to have feelings for a computer program if you call it a girl but its weird and icky if two male soldiers love each other) and much splodey but the underlying philosophy is just awful.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted October 6, 2014
Wah, why do you hate speculative fiction?

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 6, 2014
I'm with the Wah here - this stuff makes me lose patience with an author very quickly. Sure you make allowances for authors being creatures of their time and place, but that only really works where it works. You could make the argument here, after all everyone is an outcome of the water they swim in, but that would be saying something unpleasant and probably unfair about the time and place and some people really are just arses.

So with moderns you end up, perhaps, forced to the conclusion such an author is just a waste of skin. Nothing wrong with this conclusion, it doesn't really hurt anyone.

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted October 6, 2014
still trying to get passed HFB

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Trashman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 5, 2014
Alan Dean Foster did a trilogy called 'The Damned' on this very premise back in the early 90's. Not bad as I remember.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted October 6, 2014
Steve Stirling beat everyone to it.

http://smstirling.com/samples/ice-iron-and-gold-three-walls-32nd-campaign/

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Boscolamb has opinions thus...

Posted October 10, 2014
As much as I hate to admit it, I did read one of the sequels to A Hymn Before Dying. It was the Posleen War series #7, Watch on the Rhine. It featured the German government taking its geriatric WW2 veterans (including Waffen SS) and rejuvenating them with the alien technology to fight the Posleen. It's been several years since I read it, but I recall really enjoying the story.

The authors right-wing political views were not that prominent and didn't distract from the story. Ringo's book series on the zombie apocalypse (Black Tide Rising) has the authors personal political views more visible.

I think I like Ringo's writing partner, Tom Kratman better.

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted October 10, 2014
Late to this thread, but so it goes ...

I read Bear earlier (Queen of Angels and so forth) but none of his more recent stuff. I recall being quite happy with it.

But I had to jump in here to comment on Ringo. For some reason I've mentally conflated Ringo with David Weber.

I read the first of Weber's Honor Harrington books some years ago (it was pre-Kindle days and it was the only physical book I had with me on a trans-Pacific flight.)

It was ok up to a point - the point where the major space battle took place in two dimensions only. It was just like that execrable Wing Commander movie that had the same motif - let's pretend to be ships of the line at Trafalgar. Honestly. I've never been back to the Harrington series since. But to be fair, Weer has written a YA book I enjoyed, A Beautiful Friendship, where the treecat's intelligence is discovered.

I will probably continue to avoid Ringo.

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