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Books... (Read 550701 times)

remus

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#2050 Re: Books...
January 13, 2024, 07:45:00 pm
we are bellingcat Elliott Higgins: fascinating insight into open source investigation and a positive example of someone with good ideas and technical expertise who hasn't decided to do something mercenary with their talent like work for Facebook or cambridge analytica.

I enjoyed this too, amazing mix of ingenuity and journalistic graft on some of the most significant stories of our time.

TobyD

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#2051 Re: Books...
January 18, 2024, 11:09:07 pm
the devotion of suspect x: although I'm only part way through this,  I think I'd probably recommend it- Japanese crime thriller with a distinctly interesting edge to it.  It's certainly highly enjoyable so far.

Having now finished this,  I'd definitely highly recommend it. It's an easy read, as it is a straightforward premise with relatively few characters; but it is nevertheless satisfying,  and thought provoking in parts.

I was initially annoyed that the cover blurb says it has a 'killer twist ' in the end,  but I couldn't have guessed what it would be anyway. 

It's by Keigo Higashino if anyone is looking for it.

Wellsy

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#2052 Re: Books...
January 23, 2024, 03:21:48 pm
Finished Chasm City, great read! Brilliant stuff

Fiend

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#2053 Re: Books...
January 23, 2024, 03:49:25 pm
Finished Chasm City, great read! Brilliant stuff
Correct! Quite a lot more where that came from.

Absolution Gap, Century Rain and House Of Suns all favs of mine (only AG is in the same universe tho).

jwi

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#2054 Re: Books...
January 25, 2024, 01:31:03 pm
Amusing scenes at this year's Hugo Awards, at the WorldCon held in China, where it was suddenly announced that a few highly voted for works were "not elegible", the most surprising maybe this years Nebula-winning "Babel" by Kuang. Now, I did not particularly care for Babel, even if it should tick all my boxes, but a lot of people did. I assumed it was a shoe-in for this year's Hugo award for best novel.

Canadian writer Xiran Jay Zhao's popular novel Iron Widow was also declared inelegible for eh... reasons? (I've not read this).

The way WorldCon runs the Hugo Award is that anyone who pays 50 bucks can vote for anything that is judged to conform to the genre etc. They have some form of system in place to stop block-voting, because eh... sci-fi fandom is ... almost as problematic as gaming. Nonetheless, if something wins both the Nebula and the Hugo it is a good sign that it is worth reading.

slab_happy

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#2055 Re: Books...
January 25, 2024, 02:50:03 pm
To be pedantic, the amusing scenes were not at the WorldCon itself -- they are currently occurring on social media, after the voting numbers were released three months later, which is when everyone found out about the various works which were declared "ineligible" for reasons which are both unknown, and, apparently, unknowable, since Dave McCarty (vice-chair of the Chengdu con and co-head of the relevant committee for handing out the Hugos at this particular WorldCon) keeps repeating that they weren't eligible but refusing to explain on what grounds they were ineligible.

Also, I have zero understanding of statistics, but various people who do have relevant expertise seem to think that the pattern of voting stats looks dodgy in ways suggestive of tampering.

Useful summary from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2024/jan/24/science-fiction-awards-held-in-china-under-fire-for-excluding-authors
« Last Edit: January 25, 2024, 03:01:13 pm by slab_happy »

slab_happy

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jwi

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#2057 Re: Books...
January 25, 2024, 03:46:10 pm
I'm used to hear complaints about the Hugos every year, and never paid attention, because ... meh... I like some sci-fi and fantasy just fine, but I'm not enough of a stan to care, but this is at least slightly more amusing than usual.

slab_happy

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#2058 Re: Books...
January 25, 2024, 06:55:07 pm
I'm mildly adjacent to that scene (I know a few authors and various people more involved than me), so have been hearing about this for a few days and rubbernecking at the clusterfuck.

Personally I don't care about the Hugos per se, but awards and such certainly have a sales impact for writers, and this sucks for everyone -- both the people mysteriously deemed ineligible, and the people who won in those categories.

T Kingfisher won Best Novel, but her book would have been up against Babel if the latter hadn't been deemed ineligible, and now not surprisingly she feels her win's been tainted:

https://bsky.app/profile/tkingfisher.bsky.social/post/3kjgqijeu7w23

Which has to really suck.

My favourite commentary so far:

https://bsky.app/profile/what-eats-owls.bsky.social/post/3kjlvia6qv726

slab_happy

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#2059 Re: Books...
February 04, 2024, 01:30:45 pm
If anyone's looking for new SF/F to read, Locus's 2023 Recommended Reading List is out:

https://locusmag.com/2024/02/2023-recommended-reading-list/

It's got some books I've already enjoyed and a bunch more that I've been hearing exciting things about, so very promising!

I just picked up a copy of The Saint of Bright Doors after being hooked by the free sample.

TobyD

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#2060 Re: Books...
February 16, 2024, 10:26:35 am
I've just read A personal history of the modern middle east by Jeremy Bowen; it's an excellent insight into his years of reporting from the region.  It mixes anecdotes from his reporting trips with an overview of the relevant history and politics of the situation.  It is not terribly cheerful or optimistic,  as one might expect really given the subject,  but I certainly learned things from it. It is,  as billed, a personal history coloured by his experience but is explicit in this. I'm sure many,  more dispassionate, analyses of the region exist but this is very approachable and gives colour to what could otherwise be dry historical accounts.

spidermonkey09

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#2061 Re: Books...
February 16, 2024, 04:07:45 pm
This one? if so thats on my list too. Based on the excellent podcast from a few years back, Our Man in the Middle East, which is also well worth a listen.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Modern-Middle-East-Personal/dp/1509890890

I've just finished In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare. Been mentioned on here before by JB I think. Its a good read, half family history, half history of the colony/state. Goes on a bit but theres some great anecdotes. A good map of Tassie would have been a useful addition as I had to keep googling place names to work out where he was.

seankenny

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#2062 Re: Books...
February 16, 2024, 06:37:49 pm
Have you read the same authorís biography of Bruce Chatwin? Good, I thought, but it was a long time ago that I read it. Iíd probably have less patience for the subject now than I did then.

spidermonkey09

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#2063 Re: Books...
February 16, 2024, 06:49:34 pm
Yeah, that's really good as well. I've read some good biographies and some utterly dreadful ones and that's definitely a good one.

TobyD

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#2064 Re: Books...
February 16, 2024, 10:57:57 pm
This one? if so thats on my list too. Based on the excellent podcast from a few years back, Our Man in the Middle East, which is also well worth a listen.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Modern-Middle-East-Personal/dp/1509890890

That's the one.  I also liked the podcast. Bowen is one of the best journalists in the UK.

TobyD

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#2065 Re: Books...
February 23, 2024, 05:29:52 pm
Damascus Station is a brilliant spy novel, it has enough tension and excitement to be properly compelling, but the depiction of the situation and internal politics in Syria seem fairly credible. (The author was a CIA analyst in the middle east) The inclusion of Assad and several of his lieutenants as characters is interesting. I'm sure it's not completely true to life , and certainly it's dramatised, but it's a really good read.

Will Hunt

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#2066 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 09:08:22 am
I received Any Human Heart (William Boyd) for Christmas and, judging by appearances, was not enthused. The cover, title, and blurb conjured a 500-page image of an effete aristocrat mooning over poetry and having a string of languorous affairs with glamorously disinterested prostitutes.

I trepidatiously made a start and was instantly hooked and remained enthralled to the very end.

Logan Mountstuart tells the story of his life through a series of intermittent journal entries spanning his final days of public school in the 1920s to his death in the final decade of the century. Along the way there are triumphs and there are tragedies. The mix of the incredible and the banal, combining in an always-compelling arc, are a testament to Boyd's skill.

Wellsy

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#2067 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 11:12:07 am
I'll add that to the list

Incidentally just finished Kuang's "Babel" and thought it was very good

Falling Down

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#2068 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 11:39:28 am
Me too. Sounds great Will.

Iím just nearing the end of James Ellroyís The Enchanters.  This is a much better Freddie Otash novel than the messy Widespread Panic.  Marylin Monroe has just died. Otash is spying on her to dig up dirt on her relations with the Kennedy brothers for Jimmy Hoffa.  Otash is persuaded to switch allegiances to LAPD chief Bill Parker working on behalf of Bobby K.  Rapid fire dialogue, rogues, actresses, policemen, pimps and shrinks. Iím a fan of Ellroy and have enjoyed this one.

Will Hunt

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#2069 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 12:07:51 pm
Incidentally just finished Kuang's "Babel" and thought it was very good

Coincidentally I bought this on Kindle this very morning. Looking forward to it.

jwi

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#2070 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 12:30:06 pm
Babel should be right up my alley, but I only got through a third before putting it away. It was a while ago, so I don't really remember what my issue with it was. Poppy War was also a 'did not finish' for me

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#2071 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 01:05:28 pm
I've got it on the kobo and also haven't got past an hour or so.

butters

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#2072 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 02:11:02 pm
Me too. Sounds great Will.

Iím just nearing the end of James Ellroyís The Enchanters.  This is a much better Freddie Otash novel than the messy Widespread Panic.  Marylin Monroe has just died. Otash is spying on her to dig up dirt on her relations with the Kennedy brothers for Jimmy Hoffa.  Otash is persuaded to switch allegiances to LAPD chief Bill Parker working on behalf of Bobby K.  Rapid fire dialogue, rogues, actresses, policemen, pimps and shrinks. Iím a fan of Ellroy and have enjoyed this one.

Cheers for the heads up on that one - like you I am a fan of Ellroy's writing so good to know something new has been published.     

andy popp

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#2073 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 04:00:34 pm
Damascus Station is a brilliant spy novel.

I very rarely (basically never) read spy/thriller novels but just really enjoyed Eric Ambler's class The Mask of Dimitrios, almost more of a shaggy dog story than a spy novel (but maybe all spy stories are also shaggy dog stories, to some extent?).

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#2074 Re: Books...
February 24, 2024, 05:11:58 pm
I couldn't get on with Babel. Gave up after an hour or two.
Came across a bit too didactic for me.

 

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