Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Ok, all, it's August! Let's choose a new book! Comment away with suggestions, and mod the comments for the suggestions you like! Winner by the end of the week is the new book for this month!
[SFW] [SE Book Club] [+5 Good]
[by lrdcthulu@3:13amGMT]


pleaides said @ 12:00pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:4 Good]
I'll just put, again, my suggestion for Heinlein's "Starship Troopers".

It's a great read, even after 56 years, and we could award bonus points for those who can spot the point when the author's social theories go well off the rails..

Also, awesome space alien fighting suits that never made it into the movie.
ooo[......7 said @ 4:09pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:3]
It was good, but i found "Job, a Comedy of Justice" to be better.

pleaides said @ 10:40am GMT on 6th Aug

I seem to recall you saying something similar last time I mentioned this, and I reckon Job is almost as good. It's less polished imho, but the uniqueness of the concept makes it brilliant, and the fact that the apparent denouement actually isn't that at all is a nice surprise.

I loved the quotidian descriptions of life beyond the grave, and the debaucheries if the final chapters ticks all the boxes that 'similar' novels fail to, inasmuch as one always wants to continue after the dramatic bit to see what's going to happen next.
excited corpse said @ 11:37am GMT on 7th Aug
I read this book when I was 12 and I still think about it today at 40.
ooo[......7 said @ 10:29pm GMT on 11th Aug
I guess we will be reading this one NEXT month for comparison.
cb361 said[1] @ 1:27pm GMT on 5th Aug
I thought that was on page 1, when the protagonist is ordered to parachute into a heavily populated alien city and lob high-explosives around, just to show them Humans can do that any time they like.
arrowhen said @ 4:39pm GMT on 5th Aug
You mean the part where he extols the virtues of military dictatorship and public spanking? Isn't that, like, page 1?
lrdcthulu said @ 10:43pm GMT on 5th Aug
Honestly, one of my all time favorite novels.
lilmookieesquire said @ 11:13pm GMT on 5th Aug
They did in three. Yes there's a three.

It started off as a parody and seemed like there was a hostile director take over or something and ended as a religious crusade with mechs.

But they had suits, gratuitous nudity, and the same actor that played Rico came back.
biblebeltdrunk said @ 2:28am GMT on 6th Aug [Score:1 Hot Pr0n]
If you want badass mechs, check out the cgi Starship Troopers: Invasion spin off. Also, there was an official cartoon, and a bootleg cartoon that was better than the official cartoon.
steele said @ 3:19am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:2 Good]
I'm two chapters into the second part of Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid and I'm loving the crap out of it. Highly recommend.
HoZay said @ 12:42pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
Great book, maybe not a quick read.
steele said @ 7:37pm GMT on 5th Aug
True. But discussions would be interesting :)

The more i read the more I realize that most of the arguments re:brain/mind I've had on this site are well covered in a book written before i was born. That's a bit sad. Plus, it'd be nice to have a conversation re:brain/mind where I'm not the bad guy.
HoZay said @ 7:57pm GMT on 5th Aug
You might like Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson.
steele said @ 9:18pm GMT on 5th Aug
Already on the list with the followup Sacred Unity. Thank you though. :)
HoZay said @ 9:19pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
You'll want to have a dictionary close at hand.
steele said @ 9:20pm GMT on 5th Aug
Apparently, what I really need is a good book on Intro to Number Theory ;)
lilmookieesquire said @ 10:49pm GMT on 5th Aug
Boo Steele!
Boo this man!
steele said @ 11:10pm GMT on 5th Aug
midden said @ 12:16am GMT on 6th Aug
It's been a long time, but I remember loving, "Who Pushes Who(m?) Around the Careenium?"

It's an extended metaphor of the brain/mind as an amazingly complex pinball machine. It makes it pretty clear that there's no need for some kind of magic sauce for consciousness and self awareness.
steele said @ 1:03am GMT on 6th Aug
Haven't read that yet, downloaded a copy for later. I've read I am a Strange Loop which I thought was pretty decent, but didn't prepare me for how much GEB:EGB relies on number theory. However, his Aunt Hillary allegory and it's associated chapter I thought did a pretty good job of that as well, with describing hierarchical layering and how small can combine to create complex. Modeling layers are pretty standard IT/Electronic concepts now so I really enjoyed his Allegory for it, on multiple levels even ;)
midden said @ 3:35am GMT on 6th Aug [Score:1 Good]
I was just talking with a friend about another book you may really like, James Gleick's The Information. It's a history of information and information theory, in that great story-telling style Gleick has. From European's complete confusion of what African "talking drums" were, the idea of and development of dictionaries, encoding experience as language and patterns of neurons, what relationship math has to reality, the development of the telegraph, mechanical calculators, computers, WWII code breaking, quantum physics and what information actually is, at its heart. I could go on and on. Extremely Cool Stuff.

Although this is the one I have, and it's got a much better cover. Used Hardcover for $2! How can you lose?
steele said @ 2:32pm GMT on 6th Aug
Sounds interesting. I shall add it to the list, thank you.
midden said[1] @ 1:01pm GMT on 5th Aug
GEB: Great book. Took me a few tries before I was ready for it in my early 20s. Particularly mind blowing when read at the same time with Julian Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. I'm doubtful of the theory of mental bicameralism, but it's still an interesting idea.
steele said @ 7:38pm GMT on 5th Aug
Still gotta read that one. Thank you for the reminder ;)
midden said @ 9:37pm GMT on 5th Aug
They go together like salty and crunchy. When you need a break from the GEB mind fatigue, a few chapters of Jaynes will get you back on track for more.
steele said @ 11:12pm GMT on 5th Aug
I will keep that in mind next read through... in few years. I got 7 allegory/chapters left so i'm just pushing through. Sadly, it's the number theory that's killing me, most of the cognitive stuff I seem to be familiar with.
ooo[......7 said @ 3:28am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 laz0r]
I recommended it before and Ill recommended it again, this novel is fun, exciting and I would like to read it again.

ooo[......7 said[1] @ 3:37am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 laz0r]
Dresden Files
Film noir detective novel meets phenomenal cosmic powers and chivalry. also, undead tyrannosauruses rampaging Chicago.

we can start with book one:

arrowhen said @ 4:46pm GMT on 5th Aug
I think the Dresden Files are fun books in an interesting setting, but I wish they were written by a better writer. Butcher's prose ranges from clunky to cringe-worthy to "Does this guy even have a fucking editor?"
ooo[......7 said @ 4:58pm GMT on 5th Aug
I'm all the way up to "Changes" I'm almost done with the series and I can attest to the fact that yes, there are a few bits that are not perfect, but the overall story, setting, and theme are sublime.

so far anyway.
HP Lovekraftwerk said @ 8:44pm GMT on 5th Aug
Butcher has a great sense of continuity, but I think he's got a quota of at least 30 instances per novel of someone grinding their teeth about something.

Also, I'm not sure if he's good at making the reader realize something Dresden did that we thought was heroic or considerate was a dick move or he just bludgeons us into agreeing with whoever is pissed at Dresden for something.
GordonGuano said @ 10:16pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
Clench racing: "The rules are simple. Each player takes a different volume of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and at the word "go" all open their books at random and start leafing through, scanning the pages. The winner is the first player to find the word "clench". It's a fast, exciting game sixty seconds is unusually drawn-out and can be varied, if players get too good, with other favourite Donaldson words like wince, flinch, gag, rasp, exigency, mendacity, articulate, macerate, mien, limn, vertigo, cynosure.... "
ooo[......7 said @ 3:42am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 laz0r]

the first in a trilogy (5 if you count spin offs) that follow a necromancer's daughter who goes off to save daddy. Daddy's Necromancy is not raising spooky scary skeletons, but instead, through the cunning use of 7 bells, putting them back to sleep. one bell can make people sleep, another can END THE WORLD.

Fantastic fantasy.

ooo[......7 said[1] @ 3:52am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1]
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

This is an alternate universe story, where Petunia married a scientist. Harry enters the wizarding world armed with Enlightenment ideals and the experimental spirit. Also Mudblood theories and a fair bit of ridiculousness. Ron is a jock who isn't really involved in anything.

optimizing. OPTIMIZING.
I cant spell when I'm drunk.
profetscott said @ 4:07am GMT on 5th Aug
Found that on a fan fiction site a few years go. Found it entertaining. Even left a review.
ooo[......7 said @ 4:11am GMT on 5th Aug
so VOTE man, i cant vote for myself, that would be wrong.
profetscott said[1] @ 4:20am GMT on 5th Aug
Figured I would vote for it, as I can google it and find it,probably, so I could read it again. But I screwed up on the process. Can't his comment count as a vote?
ooo[......7 said @ 4:31am GMT on 5th Aug
no, thats not good.

try again, it seems you voted good on the actual post, you can still vote individually for the comment.
pleaides said @ 11:56am GMT on 5th Aug
Allow me to get that for you
rndmnmbr said @ 4:25am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:0 Good]
Sorry for the downvote, but I'm not down for fanfiction at all as part of the book club.
MFDork said @ 4:49am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
Fanfiction is pretty much the worst.
ooo[......7 said @ 5:26am GMT on 5th Aug
the world is not quite as black an white as it may have lead to you to believe.
MFDork said @ 5:46am GMT on 6th Aug
All things being the same, if I'm going to read something that's more-or-less the literary equivalent of trash TV with re-used characters, I'd much rather read superhero comics. At least there's some low-level professional editing.
ooo[......7 said @ 6:34am GMT on 6th Aug
I stand by my original statement. You are a bit too cynical methinks.
profetscott said @ 12:47am GMT on 6th Aug
Do you have an opinion on" the last Ringbearer",. I enjoyed it enough to read a few times.
MFDork said @ 5:41am GMT on 6th Aug
I think it's interesting conceptually, but I still don't know that I'd care for it (or others of it's ilk such as The Wind Done Gone or Wicked) because it is glorified fan fiction, combined with a general dislike of all three books just mentioned's source material. I will say that for a positive is that all of these are a better "cut of meat" than general fan fiction, as they've at least been subjected to the qualitative rigors of editors and publishing houses.
ooo[......7 said @ 4:28am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:0 Classy Pr0n]
have you read it? seems to me you are judging a book by its cover and thats bad.
rndmnmbr said[1] @ 4:51am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
I have. I didn't care for it.

Also, it's not this particular story I'm against, it's fanfiction in general. Let's stick to published novels.
arrowhen said @ 8:27am GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
I haven't read HPMOR, so I can't comment on the quality of the writing, but it's really more of a philosophical allegory than a story story, right? I can see where it might be more effective to use familiar, preexisting characters for something like that rather than trying to get readers invested in new characters when those characters are really only there as mouthpieces for whatever point you're trying to get across.

Again, I haven't read it yet, so it might still just be shitty fanfic, but it seems like the motivation behind it might be at least a little more refined than those of most shitty fanfic authors, which basically boils down to "No one will read my original clunky, badly paced, cliche-ridden, derivative fiction and/or creepy fuck scenes, but if I write the same shit about famous characters instead, obsessive fans will give me attention on the internet!"
ooo[......7 said @ 4:07pm GMT on 5th Aug
sadly, this is all wrong.

It has a great story, different and yet running parallel to the original, 122 chapters of diverse characters doing often surprising things. The major points are "be nice, don't be stupid, and learn"

Fanfics are terrible, this is an exception. Please, for me, just read the first chapter.
arrowhen said @ 4:33pm GMT on 5th Aug
Oh, that's too bad. I was willing to give the guy a pass if he was just using someone else's characters to make his philosophical points. But if it's actually meant to be a good story, then it doesn't matter how good it is; the fact that it's fanfic makes it shit.
ooo[......7 said @ 4:34pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Insightful]
b said @ 12:35am GMT on 6th Aug
You are completely and utterly wrong. HPMOR is pretty fantastic reading. So much so, it's actually far superior to the source material.
arrowhen said @ 1:32am GMT on 6th Aug
I wouldn't call it fantastic, but I'm liking it well enough so far. But like I said in my other comment, I don't know that I'd necessarily even consider it fanfic.
ooo[......7 said @ 3:31am GMT on 6th Aug
You're right it blurs the lines of fanfic. Its that good.
spaceloaf said @ 9:18pm GMT on 5th Aug
Why do you think arrowhen is wrong? I've read HPMOR and I think he is mostly right.

The whole thing is a vehicle to promote "Bayesian reasoning." The author has a whole site dedicated to teaching people rationality (in non-fictional terms), and has written other non-fan-fiction to explore some of the same ideas.

The only difference about HPMOR is that its clear the author is also a real HP fan. There are several moments in HPMOR where he uses terms or references people that only exist in the HP universe, and it makes no sense to someone who hasn't read the books (of which I am one).

This is also why I don't think this would make a good selection for the book club (despite enjoying it myself). While the concepts it puts forth have merit, I think those are better discussed in a non-fiction setting. To me, HPMOR is more of a gateway to getting people to those ideas.

In fact, the author wrote a bunch of short essays on how to write intelligent characters which really changed how I view fictional characters. HPMOR is like an example of how to put some of those practices in use, but again it is much more interesting to talk about the practices than the actual story (IMHO).
ooo[......7 said[1] @ 9:36pm GMT on 5th Aug
Yeah? well, you know that's just like uh, your opinion, man.

I think the story stands on its own but I am biased. I still think its worth it. It was only recently finished, I wonder if you ever got to read the end? I haven't yet because I'm letting deliver it to me slowly so as to prolong the magic.

No worries in any case, we can still be friends.
spaceloaf said @ 9:47pm GMT on 5th Aug
Yeah, I read all the way through to the end. I actually though the ending kind of sucked just because the author really made the villain too intelligent and kind of wrote himself into a corner. But I won't spoil it for you if you haven't gotten there yet :p

(Again, this is where the meta conversation about intelligent characters is more interesting to me, because the author basically wrote a character that may be more intelligent than himself. At that point, how do you still make the ideas work without making it look like cheating?)
arrowhen said @ 11:10pm GMT on 5th Aug
OK, I'm up to chapter 7, and so far it seems my initial impressions were correct: this is a philosophical essay delivered through the medium of lighthearted parody. Which was an excellent choice, really, because the humor that comes with viewing a familiar fantasy world from a rational perspective makes what would otherwise be just a smug, condescending essay about why the author is smarter than you much more palatable, which means you're more likely to stick around long enough to actually pay attention to the author's points.

It still comes off as preachy as fuck, but it's kind of fun anyway. And back to my original point, the fact that his use of familiar characters and settings serves a useful purpose and isn't just a way of riding a famous author's coat-tails into Attentiontown makes it better than 99% of fanfic, and arguably not even fanfic at all.
ooo[......7 said @ 11:21pm GMT on 5th Aug
Im glad you gave it a shot
arrowhen said @ 8:29am GMT on 5th Aug
I haven't seen the cover, but it's probably shitty fan art. :)
ooo[......7 said @ 4:11pm GMT on 5th Aug
what else could it be?

lilmookieesquire said @ 11:05pm GMT on 5th Aug
That's the illustrated example of fanfic writing quality innit.
lilmookieesquire said @ 11:05pm GMT on 5th Aug
I love this idea. I kept waiting for Harry Potter to run into some kind of difficulty or barrier and he never did. essentially his parents die and he was grounded for awhile and then he was a rich wizard sports star under massive protection from a group of powerful wizards in a fortress and generally had government support.

From the start I thought Harry Potter becoming slytherine and upstaging/replacing volitmore would have made for a great book. When her stupid kid got old enough to provide writing input the series went to shit. Hey, Harry, your parents are dead but we'll travel through time to save buckbeak.

Maybe if dumbledoor died died in book two or three it might had made the series interesting. All her villains had so much more of a compelling backstory. Like, why would anyone want to join slytherine? Why would anyone want to follow volitmore? Even in an all out war they were getting whooped. Also I'm not entirely convinced that you couldn't take out half of hog warts with a gun or mines or something. Wands seem very one-on-one.

Sorry, I didn't realize I cared so much.
lilmookieesquire said @ 11:10pm GMT on 5th Aug
Also Potter and Malfroy would have been the ultimate power-couple
biblebeltdrunk said @ 6:10pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Interesting]
I loved "The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret". It's not everyones cup of tea, but I would love if anyone who knew any similar books that go in to the early history of modern technology.
arrowhen said @ 8:10pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Interesting]
profetscott said @ 4:15am GMT on 5th Aug
ok, I recently read the Big Sigma Serries, by Joseph R Lallo. Bypass Gemini, Unstable Prototypes, and Artificial Evolution. More to come. Intertaining. Enjoyed the charactors. Pretty smooth plot-lines. Lallo is better known for his Book of Deacon series. I enjoyed them as well, but like his venture into Sci-fi more.
backSLIDER said @ 7:30pm GMT on 5th Aug
totally unworthy self link land but I would feel remiss not throwing my wifes books into the ring. She just finished her first series.
Her site
Amazon link to digital copy
snagUber said @ 8:01pm GMT on 5th Aug
Kindle format is a no-no for me because I just have an android phone (and the screen is too small) and a linux laptop where the kindle app does not work...
rndmnmbr said[1] @ 8:33pm GMT on 5th Aug [Score:1 Hot Pr0n]
Calibre will convert it to whatever format you prefer. There is a Linux installer as well.
midden said @ 3:42am GMT on 6th Aug
I read Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach books last year and loved them. I'd gladly read them again for SE, no problem. The first is Annihilation. Totally weird, beautiful and Creeptacular. They are all quite short, adding up to one reasonably sized novel.

HP Lovekraftwerk said @ 5:12am GMT on 6th Aug
I thought that one sounded familiar, and I finally recalled that I'd tried to read this one and dropped it not terribly far in. It was so... blah. I was intrigued by the world setup, kind of, except everyone and everything has no names, just "the biologist," "the psychologist," "the cave," "the tower," etc.

It's a zone where everyone commits suicide and they're trying to figure out what it is, but let's bury the narrative in character backstory that seems to have no bearing on anything and still no names and GAH!

Maybe it gets better, but it was a slog.
midden said @ 12:54pm GMT on 6th Aug
I can see how you could feel that way about it. There's not a lot of action and it's really more of a mystery story than an action adventure.

The first book sets up the mystery, the second digs into the backstory of the place itself and introduces characters who are trying to figure it out (now with names, including the characters from the first book), the last semi-kinda resolves what the place is.
HP Lovekraftwerk said @ 1:23pm GMT on 6th Aug
I don't require action. It just had nothing to grab my attention. "Mystery area that makes people suicide or drives them crazy" isn't all that nifty if it doesn't even hint as to why it's important or why I should care about said area or the people in it. Maybe it was the writing style that turned me off. I have a problem with the whole "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" fandom, as I find the book so in love with sounding 19th-century British in its prose, it presents dull events with the same enthusiasm and density as supposedly exciting ones.
yogi said @ 3:46am GMT on 7th Aug
Sex at the Margins, by Dr. Laura Agustin
Best Sex Writing, 2005, 2006, 2007, etc on up through this past year: excellent set of well-written essays
Coming and Crying, by Melissa Gira Grant
Playing the Whore by Melissa Gira Grant
Dirt, by William Bryant Logan--this is an inCREDible book!
Adam's Tongue, by Derek Bickerton
Against Football, by Steve Almond
Into the Arena, Alexander Fiske-Harrison
Fooing Houdini, Alex Stone
Stop Walkin on Eggshells, by Randi Kreger (how to deal with the person in you life who has borderline personality disorder)
Comedy Writing Secrets, by Mel Helitzer

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