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Author Topic: What Are You Reading??  (Read 169964 times)

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1050 on: September 01, 2017, 06:53:19 AM »
Finished The Berserker Throne last night.  I had been a little worried that it would turn into an extended version of the previous short story taking place at the Templar Radiant.  There definitely were enough parallels that Saberhagan could easily have taken the easy way out in finishing the story.

Instead, WOW!, what an ending. agagagagag

Mild spoiler alert.

How many characters can mind bhbhbhbhbh each other in such a short time?  I'm still not sure exactly when one of main ones really knew the full picture.

Time to go down to the Lunatic Library and dig out some more.  Also, I need to see which ones I never got and get those ordered.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1051 on: September 08, 2017, 05:19:01 AM »


Cassie's a bit old by the third book to still be doing her Evan shtick, but the second book had a completely killer reveal that I did not see coming, so here I am, reading the last book in the trilogy. Woo!

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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1052 on: September 17, 2017, 06:05:38 AM »


Started. Not sure yet. Right at the start it has that Chinese story thing where main characters avoid having a self by having an environment instead. I'll give it a few more pages....

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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1053 on: September 21, 2017, 07:42:57 AM »
An Excess Male turns out to be much more romance novel than an examination of the dystopic elements of modern China. It's really about love and family and GAG ME WITH A SPOON  aaaaaaaaaa

But for people who do want to read that kind of thing with a Chinese spin, no doubt it's worth some of the rave reviews.


Meanwhile....

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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1054 on: September 21, 2017, 07:46:25 AM »


translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1055 on: September 26, 2017, 05:01:15 AM »
Cthulhu Mythos and Kindred Horrors, by Robert E. Howard.

Not as good as HP Lovecraft's tales, but not bad either.  Does have one title Calach should appreciate - Pigeons From Hell ahahahahah
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1056 on: September 26, 2017, 10:34:39 AM »
Cthulhu Mythos and Kindred Horrors, by Robert E. Howard.

Not as good as HP Lovecraft's tales, but not bad either.  Does have one title Calach should appreciate - Pigeons From Hell ahahahahah

Seems redundant. All pigeons are from hell, surely.

They are each one a tiny little, really dumb demonic entity. Sure, you think "demon" you think trickster and clever underminer of the faithful, but no, some demons fly into windows too.

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1057 on: September 28, 2017, 02:32:32 AM »
Evidently, I kept buying Berserker books even when I didn't have time to read them,

Berserker Lies - A collection of novellas and short stories.  All but The Machinery of Lies exist in previous books.  It's an excellent tale of what happens when too many lies are piled up on top of each other.

Berserker Kill  - Midway through the book, just as things were approaching a climax, the story suddenly jumps 300 years ahead with all new characters.  Eventually, it all comes together.  One tiny nit to pick.  The enemies that the Berserkers were originally built to fight were referred to as the "Red Race" in earlier stories.  This novel repeatedly says that there had never been any name of any sort assigned to those aliens.

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china-matt

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1058 on: October 31, 2017, 06:17:00 PM »
Just finished "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng. Definitely want to get her new book now. This would be a good book for high school kids or college freshmen.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1059 on: May 10, 2018, 07:34:05 AM »


Legend of the Condor Heroes I - A Hero Born - Jin Yong, Anna Holmwood (translator)

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rattie

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1060 on: May 10, 2018, 08:29:05 AM »
A book from Australia was posted to me as a gift, Silent Invasion - Clive Hamilton. A paranoid look at the influence of Chinese business and politics in Aus. Finished that, still thinking, yet to form an opinion, mainly because I agree with some of his opinions - but was informed that he is the voice of the right wing on Aus current affairs programs, thereby I'm a bit uncomfortable about it.

Have now picked up Dance Dance Dance - Haruki Murakami, Japanese author, bit trippy and easy to read, a great relief after the previous book.
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old34

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1061 on: May 10, 2018, 08:46:31 PM »
I Met Jin Yong once while having dinner at the Shangri-La in Hangzhou. He was at the table next to mine and the two women with me recognized him but were two shy to approach him. I recognized his name and knew he was an honarary VP at my university so as a "fellow colleague, I went over and ontoduced myself and the two women to him. He spoke excellent English and told me he'd rather be sitting at my table than with the two stiffs he was with. Then he asked me to take sa picture of him with my two friends./FWIW
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1062 on: August 10, 2018, 04:03:35 AM »
Berserker Fury by Fred Saberhagan

This is the book I had so much trouble getting.  I was sent the wrong book and had to finally collect the correct one on my last trip to the US.

Sadly, I rate this as the weakest of the Berserker books so far.

SPOILER ALERT

The core of the novel is a space battle which parallels the Battle of Midway far to closely.  Some parallels would be OK, but, but carriers with fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers, plus ground based bombers (complete with the same crew positions as the WWII biombers) crosses the line from an interesting retelling to "Wow, I don't have to think too much to write this.  There's even a planet not to far away filling in for Hawaii recovering from the recent raid on Pearl Harbor (complete with a space based battleship partly sunk just off the coast of the coast of the base).

I have the feeling there was some sort of deadline issue with the novel.  Near the end, certain parts describing the battle become repetitive.  One section even starts off saying exactly how many carriers are about to be destroyed and then proceeds to the action showing it being done.  This is completely out of character for Saberhagan.

There's an additional storyline going on alongside the "Midway in SPAAAAAACE" part of the book which is of the quality Saberhagan usually delivers, up until then end when it wraps up far too suddenly.  I consider this more evidence for a looming "Finish it NOW" kind of deadline.

I suppose this is proof that even a great author has at least one book that stands out in a bad way.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the next novels are.  Several of the previous ones seemed to be loosely linked in foreshadowing some major developments in the Berserker universe.
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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1063 on: August 17, 2018, 08:10:12 AM »
And next on our chronological tour of Fred Saberhagan's Berserker books, Shiva in Steel

This is a vast improvement over Berserker Fury.  There are some minor editing errors and a few too many references to the base at Pearl Harbor Port Diamond from the previous book, but this one stands alone quite well.  The ending could have been a little better.  It's good, but has a small trace of the feeling of "OK, it's time to wrap this up because I've got another appointment."  Still, it's a very good read.


SPOILER ALERT

Shiva itself is heavily speculated on, but never fully explained.  This alone would be acceptable, since Berserkers are not exactly well know for philosophizing about their place in the universe.  They already know it's to exterminate all life and consider all else to be minor details.  But, we not only miss out on what makes Shiva different, but the final fate of Shiva is also not completely resolved.  I'll be thrilled to forgive this if Shiva pops up in a later book (and will be overjoyed to see a battle involving Shiva, Quibbian (not mentioned in this book), and the surviving builders (mentioned in passing in this book - hopefully a hint of things to come).  What worries me is that there aren't too many Berserker books left or that Saberhagan may have decided just to yank my chain by not wrapping up the loose ends
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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What Are You Reading??
« Reply #1064 on: September 11, 2018, 02:25:34 AM »
Berserker Prime by Fred Saberhagan

This one shows the first encounter between berserkers and Earth descended humans.  Overall, its a very good story, but there's still that element of "got deadlines to meet" lingering around the edges.



SPOILER ALERT  Although I think this is the best of the berserker books I've read recently, there are some items which appear flawed.

The term Goodlife was a complete surprise in the short story by that name.  In this novel, ALL the data from the first encounter, including a human turncoat who used the word goodlife to describe himself, was sent to Earth and all the other colonies.

Maybe I'm wrong on this, but I had the impression the Carmpan and other non-Earth Descended branches of humanity had berserker issues before Earthlings burst on the scene.  In this novel, humans are the first of all known intelligent species to be attacked.

Other stories describe the concept of a mobile atomic pile burning its way through large ships as a particularly fiendish berserker device.  Somehow, the very first humans to engage in warfare after leaving the Earth use one of these against the first known berserker.

At first contact as well as the later stories (set many hundreds of years later) the technology described in the recent novels seems identical.  The same "optoelectronic" computers used by both humans and berserkers.  The same holostages.  Nearly identical control helmets to do virtual displays for ships crews.  Many of these are not mentioned in stories written earlier.

The recent novels, including this one, mention failed human attempts where intelligent von Neumann machines drift from their original purposes within 3-4 generations, thus explaining the slow reproduction rate of berserkers as being due to extreme quality control issues.  A.  I think it would not be hard to lock in some critical elements for a self-replicating and self-adjusting computer program.  B.  A strict "robot designs, builds, and writes new programs to run new robot" scheme is unnecessary for von Neumann type devices.  Instead, "robot takes existing plans and builds a factory to make MANY more robots" works better.  The factory, and later factories can be upgraded in what they produce, but the quality control delay would primarily apply to a brand new factory and the first of any new model being produced at any factory.

A better explanation for the entire galaxy not overflowing with berserkers would be that manufacture of berserker brains and control systems is a very delicate and slow process.

Why would a machine which had been fighting successfully (while taking massive damage from time to time) for thousands of years not try to secure additional fuel the moment its supply began to run even a little low?  Instead, the refueling tankers are not deployed until after one planet is sterilized, the second had been under attack, and another human fleet arrived.  Why would this same berserker not hold a single service robot in reserve to operate a device specifically able to deal with the problem of a mobile atomic pile?

One book to go.


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