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What are you Reading?
#61
I'm just starting the other one, "How Firm A Foundation", and it is so difficult to remember all the crazy names, different places, and maps that don't clarify things. I've made it through the first four, but am finding that I lack the will to struggle throught all the complicated story lines.

I really don't know why Weber has this habit of taking names, and then twisting them around with wacko spelling. And then he rambles on for hundreds of pages, jumping from subject to subject, and expect everyone to follow him easily.

I'm just confused, frustrated, and tired of trying to keep up with everything. I'll come back occasionally, but if things get too convoluted, I'm just going to wait for the next work in the Destroyermen series, or the Kris Longknife sequal.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#62
I believe Taylor Anderson's sixth "Destroyermen" novel will be out on Oct. 1, 2011--Firestorm: Destroyermen.

One of the reasons why I like David Weber's "Safehold" series, is that I view it pretty much as a superhero story. Plus it is always fun to see advanced technology shock and awe the primitives.
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#63
(09-28-2011, 05:35 PM)Ron Lambert Wrote: I believe Taylor Anderson's sixth "Destroyermen" novel will be out on Oct. 1, 2011--Firestorm: Destroyermen.

One of the reasons why I like David Weber's "Safehold" series, is that I view it pretty much as a superhero story. Plus it is always fun to see advanced technology shock and awe the primitives.

Its the way he makes it worse than difficult to follow. If you don't have a set of maps available, and have not gone to his site and studied his 9000 mp Safehold map in detail, it is almost impossible to follow the story lines in an informed way.

I use an e-book reader and cannot unfold maps like those with hard bound books.

And the names, and spelling, of all the characters is a case study in frustration. Like the "Duchy of Charlz" This is just stupid. Just use "Charles" for G-d's sake. Or, how about Hector Armahk, or Irys Daikon, or Zhaspahr Clyntahn? Who the hell is he trying to attract as readers anyway: Iranians?

I mean, why make things pleasant and enjoyable for the poor readers, when you can force them to continually have to exercise abnormal patience and understanding, right?

Someone needs to give him a swift kick in his more than ample buttocks, and tell him to get his head straight.

Of course, that's just my opinion, mind you.

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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#64
The Steel Bonnets by George MacDonald Fraser is excellent; buying the book he wrote after he did his research, the Candlemass Road.

I wish I was an Armstrong or Rutledge or a Henderson kind of now. S4
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#65
John L Wrote:...Its the way he makes it worse than difficult to follow. If you don't have a set of maps available, and have not gone to his site and studied his 9000 mp Safehold map in detail, it is almost impossible to follow the story lines in an informed way.

Ahah! You are one of those chess players who get frustrated if you can't see a dozen moves ahead. Betcha never read Dhalgren either. Weber actually addressed your concerns in one of the Honorverse novels. Honor was reading an old-fashioned pre-diaspora book given to her by her father, and she remarked how hard it is to follow words that aren't still in common usage: how the book used feet, inches, yards, and miles instead of metrics, and guineas and pounds that don't mean weight. She thought that it was a good read, and she could put the terms into perspective by context, enough to keep it enjoyable.

Weber is creating worlds that must be consistent in both created history and characterization. Spelling of names should drift - they do in reality. Chariz for Charles is not something to obsess on, because in his world, it was a guy named Chariz that was important - not a Charles. He loses more people due to his minutia of describing every missile fired into space, and which counter-measures do or don't intercept them, and in what order.

It's just a trade-off. He describes people and the worlds he creates, with the same specificity as he does military clashes. Of course it gets complicated. There are too many people involved in his books to keep them all separated in your mind. But one thing he does do, is redescribe them in simplistic terms, over and over again whenever they reappear and you need to know who they are. I can't count how many times he's explained why the "jeune ecole" is frustrating to Earl White Haven.

A writer is tricky, by choice. No writer wants to be so predictable that you get bored reading. If the butler did it every time there was a crime, then every Macguiness would be thrown in jail. Often, a writer gives you all the clues you need to figure out something, but with enough red herrings to mislead and give the ending a surprise jolt that is entertaining.

If your imagination is good enough, every single named character is worth the time. Once you realize Weber is not about to hand over his whole plot on the first page, you can just go along with it and believe the effort to be worthwhile down the line. If characters are important enough to the plot, then you will remember them when you need to.

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#66
Bill, you are the most forgiving person in the known universe, you know that? Perhaps we should nominate you for sainthood?

I have been thinking more about this story of his, and I note that he still uses feet, miles, and speed in mph. He keeps a lot of things like they are of old. Yet his naming is as though it was some Iranian doing the spelling. Go figure.

Here are some other convenient names: Phylyp for Philip; Haarahld for Harold; Zhames for James; Glahdys for Gladys; and Hairyet for Harriet. And the last names are beyond belief. I mean, come on; if he is going to do all this, just to stimulate patience and understanding of every page, why not change feet to feyat, miles to myls, etc, etc, etc.

Bill this is pure hubris on the part of our dear Mr. Weber. Oh, and have you read some of the reader reviews at Amazon, over this series? They are not happy campers either. I'm really struggling with this one, and close to just giving up. I have more things to do than commit intellectual masochism Bill. If you like it, help yourself.

Maybe I'm just irritable and being a crank, you think?
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#67
I thought this was some variation of old English or a Scandinavian dialect? Yes, very annoying, perhaps this is why I cannot force myself to continue reading beyond first two books.

(09-30-2011, 08:33 PM)John L Wrote: Bill, you are the most forgiving person in the known universe, you know that? Perhaps we should nominate you for sainthood?

Wrong procedure, for sainthood you martyr rather than nominate. S6

Sodomia delenda est

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#68
(09-30-2011, 05:51 PM)WmLambert Wrote: Ahah! You are one of those chess players who get frustrated if you can't see a dozen moves ahead. Betcha never read Dhalgren either. Weber actually addressed your concerns in one of the Honorverse novels. Honor was reading an old-fashioned pre-diaspora book given to her by her father, and she remarked how hard it is to follow words that aren't still in common usage: how the book used feet, inches, yards, and miles instead of metrics, and guineas and pounds that don't mean weight. She thought that it was a good read, and she could put the terms into perspective by context, enough to keep it enjoyable.

Oh, and you are right there. I started reading one of Delany's novels, perhaps the one above, can't remember. But I quickly threw it away, and have never picked up any of his "you fill in the blank" again.

He certainly isn't my style,.....as well as some others, who I don't bother with.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#69
Why let Chariz for Charles bother you? All Weber is doing is giving a symbolic nod to the way common spoken languages would change over time, to improve the "feel" of a culture far in our future. Tolkien invented whole new languages, and nobody complains about it that I know of. Those who bother to learn Elvish or Dwarvish speak it proudly. Why can't Chariz be a character so named? Why try to "translate" it into Charles? The character's name is not Charles, it is Chariz. If you can accept "Kal-el" as the Kryptonian name for Superman (which sounds vaguely like Hebrew), why let names bother you that are mildly modified?
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#70
(10-01-2011, 08:55 AM)Ron Lambert Wrote: Why let Chariz for Charles bother you? All Weber is doing is giving a symbolic nod to the way common spoken languages would change over time, to improve the "feel" of a culture far in our future. Tolkien invented whole new languages, and nobody complains about it that I know of. Those who bother to learn Elvish or Dwarvish speak it proudly. Why can't Chariz be a character so named? Why try to "translate" it into Charles? The character's name is not Charles, it is Chariz. If you can accept "Kal-el" as the Kryptonian name for Superman (which sounds vaguely like Hebrew), why let names bother you that are mildly modified?

That is one of a whole host of stumbling blocks. And just possibly I am getting Weber Fatigue Syndrome. He slowly wears on the reader with all his cutzy little mannerisms, and incessant rambling.

I used to think John Campbell went overboard with his requirements to keep stories concise and to the point. I always thought about how wonderful it would be if H.Beam Piper had been allowed to 'flesh out' his novels. But with Weber I am beginning to see that there was far more than just the 'pay per word' thing here. Why can't people go with the happy medium and come up with the best of both worlds.

I'll tell you what is wrong with David Weber, and his attempts to emulate T.E.Lawernce's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" routine. It's the development of the voice recognition software in computing. Weber can just sit back and let his voice do the walking and just ramble to his heart's desire, and then gather it all together and call it a masterpiece of imagination.

Well, he is slowly but surely losing me as a fan. If he doesn't get his act together and start putting out more quality, rather than quantity, he is going to lose me as a reader.

And I know you and Bill are going to say that I am nit-picking, and perhaps I am. But Weber is all over the place. The only two series that have been a success have been the Honor Harrington series, and the Empire of Man series. And the former is suffering the same syndrome I am complaining about. And the later is the main result of John Ringo's input. Were it not for him, it would have lost its direction somewhere in book number three. And don't even bother disputing that with me. I know better.

Like I said, I'm developing a sure case of Weber Fatigue Syndrome. David Weber met the Peter Principle a long time ago, and it is finally taking time for the fans to see it.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#71
John L, have you read any of Weber's recent "Multiverse" ("Hellsgate") series?

I checked on his webpage, and saw that someone had asked him when the next installment was coming out. He admitted that it might be a little while--he had sort of over-committed himself, with something like three different series going now. So he may not have time to edit as much as he should. Add to that the occasional stand alone novel, like Out of the dark.

As far as sf writers getting tedius, to me the prime example is the "Wheel of Time" series by the late James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (writing under the pen name of Robert Jordan). The first couple of novels in the series were not too bad, but then the writing expanded like you would think the author was being paid by the word. Sometimes you have to go a quarter of a book before anything interesting happens, and half the book before the plot advances at all. Rigney died in 2007, and the series is being completed by Brandon Sanderson. With Sanderson, what was supposed to be a final book has been expanded into "three volumes as large as, or larger than, any previous book in the series." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wheel_of_Time ) That leads me to wonder if Sanderson has improved matters any.
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#72
Forthcoming books announced by Jim Butcher:

July 2011
Ghost Story
(Dresden Files, book 13)

December 2035
Fool Moon: Vol. 1
(Dresden Files (graphic novels))

No, I didn't copy that wrong. Here's the link: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/jim-butcher/


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#73
(10-01-2011, 04:34 PM)Ron Lambert Wrote: John L, have you read any of Weber's recent "Multiverse" ("Hellsgate") series?

I've read them both. And while the series is not his best, the writing is better than the Safehold series. I suspect Linda Evans did the real grunt work there. The Safehold is 100% his doing. And the story line is very good, but the nuts and bolts just drag on and on, and have all those wonderfully confusing names.

As far as "The Wheel Of Time" series, I have not bothered. It's fantasy and I try to stay away from that. I'm into hard SiFi mostly, but also like military SiFi.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#74
Sometimes a change of pace is a good thing. There are times I like reading simplistic stuff like McCaffery puts out, because her characters are thoroughly presented, although her plot lines are pretty minimal explorations of her World of Pern. Other times, it is just the right time for some harder work - to challenge yourself with something that is often hard for many people to get through. The all-time best example of that is Moby Dick. I doubt I've ever come across anyone who has actually read it cover-to-cover.

Dhalgren was like that. I could tell by his craftsmanship that Delaney could write, but what he was trying to say was elusive. Many passages made no sense at all - yet, I knew that somehow, somewhere down the line, he would tie up every single item into a coherent whole. That was a real challenge.

I love good mystery novels a lá Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes or Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Good mystery stories give you all the information you need to solve the mystery, but confounds you with many little tricks to keep you in suspense. Red herrings are just one of them. From this genré, I learned that truly good works won't let you down. I stuck out Dhalgren for over 500 pages before a serious plot line developed, and it eventually coalesced into a logical story. The mysterious unexplained red eyes and magical illusions were explained, as well as the mental state of the protagonist. I'm not saying it was a brilliant story - but it made sense - and it was exhilarating to think I was one of the few able to read it, and appreciate it. Most people say they put it down because it didn't make sense - but it did make sense, which means they put it down because it was hard. I can do hard. Boring is what makes me put something down. ...That and stupid.

I guess it's the same thing as driving in a parking lot behind some fool pushing a shopping cart down the middle of a lane, instead of going to one side so you can drive past. The fool is oblivious to the chaos going on around him or her. You dismiss the fool as being a tedium, not because they do what they do out of spite. You don't think much of a fool, and the best thing is to avoid being behind one.

Writers are the same. If they are tedious and talented, I figure there may be some reason for it, and look for little "gotchas" stuck in that actually mean something amongst the red herrings. Even a good author can have a bad day, so if most things they write are good, then a hiccup here or there isn't a total turnoff.

All in all, Weber is a good read. After all, Asimov and other authors wrote juveniles alongside their more serious work - so not everything needs to be the same level.
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#75
Bill, here's another thing that is a bit..............quaint with Weber. Frequently his interchange between individuals, such as the emperor, and others under him, or between his wife and Merlin, are a little bit too familiar in tense. I find he does this in all his writing, and frankly he does it a bit more than is realistic. people may be good friends, but not that familiar, if you get my drift?
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#76
(10-03-2011, 12:13 AM)John L Wrote: Bill, here's another thing that is a bit..............quaint with Weber. Frequently his interchange between individuals, such as the emperor, and others under him, or between his wife and Merlin, are a little bit too familiar in tense. I find he does this in all his writing, and frankly he does it a bit more than is realistic. people may be good friends, but not that familiar, if you get my drift?

Not sure I do... Are you saying it is unusual for friends to speak to each other as friends, and should be more reserved? Point to consider: Honor's ability to read emotion around her armsmen, who love her chastly, and maintain their correctness at all times - yet Honor knows when they are hurting for her. Her saying the first names of her crew after they earned the right to be so addressed. Honor not being able to look eye-to-eye with her Queen at first - but after more familiarity, can speak her mind without realizing it may be unseemly, and The Queen smothers a laugh that Honor is unaware of the "lapses".

These seem to be examples of how Weber is aware of interplay between characters - and uses familiarity as part of his character development. With Merlin Athewas, I think the familiarity is part of the definition of who is inner circle, and who may be a mole. The young queen accepted Merlin as she accepted her lifelong friends - but their treachery at times does her more harm than from her enemies.

I see the same thing with George R.R. Martin. Betrayal coming from friends is part of his cutting prose - and familiarity is one way he establishes the closeness that exist between people. When that closeness is dashed by betrayal, it makes the pain even worse and the drama greater.
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#77
Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell is out this month.
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#78
(11-04-2010, 08:15 PM)ghoullio Wrote: "Towers of Midnight" in the Wheel of Time series. Got the book yesterday and I'm more than halfway through it already...
I picked up The Gathering Storm last weekend. I only just started it, but his style seems to follow Jordan's pretty well. Even though elitist snobs turn their noses up at because it's not 'hard sci-fi' or some such moronic bull shit, I really have enjoyed the series. I'm pumped to see it through to the end finally!

[Image: SalmaHayekcopy.jpg]
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#79
I just discovered that there are others writing sequels to H.Beam Piper's series, other than John F. Carr. One of the writers is a fellow, Dietmar Wehr, who has a sequel to the Junkyard Planet/Cosmic Computer novel.

I just downloaded it from Lulu.com, in pdf format, and am looking forward to it. Its in novella form, and less than 100 pages, but it gets great reviews.

If anyone is a Piper fan, or would like to give it a try, just let me know, and I'll get you a copy of it. The original novel, "Cosmic Computer" can be located right here. Its one of my all time favorite novels.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#80
The King of Ys series by Poul Anderson. I am in the middle of Roma Mater right now.
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