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What are you Reading?
(08-25-2015, 09:40 PM)John L Wrote: ...As for "guts", I think you are confusing that with hardheadedness.

Maybe - but she is the closest thing to Mark Levin out there. She refuses to act acquiescent and overly polite when a Leftard tries to monopolize a conversation. In her 2004 book, "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)", she clearly describes the Left's strategy to make their opponents look bad. I was mentioning this technical aspect before then, so it struck a chord with me.

There was a very media-savvy Leftwing commentator, named Tom Leykis, who was the penultimate example of someone who used all the tricks to make his opponents look bad. He would have callers on both sides call in, and let them go at it. He would pot up his fellow Leftists, so they sounded cool and calm as they talked over the other guy, who was intentionally potted down so he/she would have to raise his/her voice to get a word in edgewise. That made the Lefty sound sane and made the Righty sound crazy. Leykis bragged about doing this and was very effective at using his soundboard to sabotage callers who had winning POV.

Coulter used example after example to prove how the strategy worked, and all the other outrages that were used to stifle debate. It's amazing how many insults were made by the Left, but ignored by the Media - and how many innocuous statements were made by a Righty, and paraphrased into something offensive. But then she used examples of how these attempts were used on her, but she managed to fight back.

Someone not willing to be dictated to will always look abrasive. What I like about her are her opinions which are usually dead on. Her defense of Trump may be short-sighted, but she is saying things no one else seems to even think about.

A while back, when Michael Savage was working his expulsion from Great Britain and being persona non gratis there - for points here, he also attacked Ann Coulter as being anti-Semitic, when she only was defending Catholics from those at war with them. He did that for ratings, because his were slipping.

By and large, she doesn't take prisoners, and that puts her well up on most others. For instance, who can hate Mark Levin?
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I just finished number six in the Repairman Jack series, by F. Paul Wilson.  I also read the three of the "Young Repairman" in his early years.  Great series.  

I had read somewhere up to about nine or ten in the series, but that was a few years ago.  This time I am going through the entire thirteen in the series, his early years, and his three "Early Years" which is all about his start-up in New Yawk.  

Anyone who has not read the Repairman Jack series is really missing out on a classic series.  This sixth one, "The Haunted Air" is superb and his best one so far.  You can't help but really like Lyle and his brother Charlie, even though they are con men.

Opps, I really must have made it up to number thirteen, because that is the one where his childhood friend, Weezy, is killed.   Now that I have gone back and read "The Early Years", I can see just how much of a huge part she played in his life.

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

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I've read many in this series, but aren't they a bit Fantasy for you John? For me, a good story with really good writing is what makes a good read.

How do you feel about some of the more popular writers? McCaffrey is a really good writer, and her stories are fun, but she is considered borderline adolescent/fantasy for many - even though her Dragonriders of Pern is fully hard SF. (It took four books to learn that because the space faring aspects were lost as civilization crumbled.) David Weber is always a good read - even when his characters start filling phone books. (I think his inside jokes with the names well make-up for too many of them.)

I think the Jack Reacher books bother you because Lee Child never served and Reacher is all about Army MPs, but it is good writing with memorable characters and plot. (There is a new Reacher movie coming out with puny Tom Cruise playing the 6 foot-five Reacher again, Here. At least Cruise finds good properties.)

I love Sherlock Holmes, in spite of Arthur Conan Doyle's mediocre shortcomings - and have read all the Laurie R. King Beekeeper's Apprentice books. She is a better author than Doyle, and her Sherlock character is more fleshed-out. There is a current TV series, Houdini and Doyle that is also fun to watch.

Brad Thor? Steve Berry?
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(06-28-2016, 09:17 PM)WmLambert Wrote: I've read many in this series, but aren't they a bit Fantasy for you John? For me, a good story with really good writing is what makes a good read.

Yeah, its getting stranger, and more far out, as it goes along.  For that reason, I may not make it to number sixteen.   He does have interesting 'fixes' with each story.  However, I do like his Individualism thing, and also his idea of personal "GetEvenWithEmIsm".  That alone keeps me attentive. I do intend to read his "Early Years", which will almost certainly not contain any Huge Holes in Central Park, or creatures climbing out of them.  Spiteful

Quote:How do you feel about some of the more popular writers? McCaffrey is a really good writer, and her stories are fun, but she is considered borderline adolescent/fantasy for many - even though her Dragonriders of Pern is fully hard SF. (It took four books to learn that because the space faring aspects were lost as civilization crumbled.) David Weber is always a good read - even when his characters start filling phone books. (I think his inside jokes with the names well make-up for too many of them.)

Read the first three in the Freedom series, but just kind of gave up on her.   I think C.J. Cherryh, and Lois McMaster Bujold have her beat, hands down.  Ursula K. Le Guin's pretty good too.

Regarding Weber, I have read almost everything he wrote, except his fantasy stuff.  But I gave up on that series, "Safehold", where he talked about everything including "watching the grass grew."   The most boring stuff, and disappointing stuff he has ever come out with.

Quote:I think the Jack Reacher books bother you because Lee Child never served and Reacher is all about Army MPs, but it is good writing with memorable characters and plot. (There is a new Reacher movie coming out with puny Tom Cruise playing the 6 foot-five Reacher again, Here. At least Cruise finds good properties.)

Childs, and Jack Reacher, .........I've never read any of his stuff.   Don't know where you came up with his books bothering me, because I have never cracked a page, to the best of my knowledge.

Quote:I love Sherlock Holmes, in spite of Arthur Conan Doyle's mediocre shortcomings - and have read all the Laurie R. King Beekeeper's Apprentice books. She is a better author than Doyle, and her Sherlock character is more fleshed-out. There is a current TV series, Houdini and Doyle that is also fun to watch.

I had most of Doyle read to me in school, so I went to other places as an adult.  

Quote:Brad Thor?
-  I've thought about reading him sometime soon.  I always associated him with Vince Flynn.  I read all of his Mitch Rapp stuff.  It was ok, I guess.

Quote:Steve Berry
? - Never read any of his novels.

Michael Crichton was my hand's down favorite.  I've also read most of Patricia Cornwell, and enjoyed Dan Brown.

I read Stephen King's "The Stand", but nothing else.  No Koontz, Rowley, or Ludlum.  

I like Grisham's fiction.  His politics sucks, but then again, he's a lawyer.

I've read all of Pat Conroy, who was my classmate at the Citadel '67.

Oh, I know someone else I really like, concerning suspense and paranormal: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  I need to collect their works and go through them all.  S22

Most of my readings of late are science related.  Things about paleontology, paleogeology, plate tectonics, and astrogeology.  I can tell you an awful lot about Quaternary Science, and the Pleistocene.   I love Quaternary science, which is right up my alley as a physical anthropologist.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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If you go the science route - don't forget Jean M. Auel. There's a bit of mysticism there with the ancestral memories of the Neanderthals and the drug-induced traveling of the shamans - but I always feel like I'm at an archeological dig unearthing the Venus of Willendorf, discovering spear-throwers, and learning how to knap Flint, and strike sparks to start fires.

...And also don't leave off Brad Thor's Scott Horvath, or John Ringo's Mike Harmon from the list of Mitch Rapp-like characters. Harmon thinks "Livy read like something written by Tom Clancy and Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars was written with political image in mind with only brief touches on reality, something like a Democratic stump speech."
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I am currently reading Brad Thor's novels, with Scot Harvath as the hero.

The Patriot talked a lot about Thomas Jefferson as a Polymath who went to Algiers after the Marines went to Tripoli to teach the Pasha head of the Barbary Islamic pirates (who were taking one third of all America's income as bribes to avoid piracy) a lesson. Jefferson was looking for the last Surra that Mohamed (who was poisoned by his own people) had hidden away for safety.

The Ninth Surra is all about killing infidels and non-believers, and being the last one, abrogates all the Peace and love stuff that came before. The hidden one supposedly abrogated the ninth and swung Islam back to peace.
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Just came up with an idea for a SF novel.

The price of storage is down. The fear of gov't interference, and the Soros-funded IT cellar-dwellers brooming "objectionable" info from the World-Wide net leads to inevitable inaccessible archiving that holds more info than the actual web. There will come a time when the separate info stashes far out-weigh the "totality" of what is available on-line.

What happens when the "outside" archived knowledge is so much greater than the "known" that it somehow getting linked produces a greater technological civilization at odds with the Politically-correct? Harry Harrison would have a field day.
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I did a dump of all the free books at Baen Books. The first one I started to read was a Tom Kratman novel, State of Disobedience. It came out in 2005 but sure looks like a Hillary-based exploration of a Hillary Presidency. This Hillary is "Roddenmeyer." She just killed a bunch of kids at a church mission in Texas, and the state is trying to survive a military takeover.

Quote:..."Good. Make it child's play. Make it suitable for the 'children' who make up the bulk of our support. I want them clamoring for me to 'do something' . . . to 'save the children.' " The sheer innocence and naivete of many of her supporters brought a smile to her face.
"Now at the end of those two weeks I am going to order you," she said to Vega, "to round up 'dissident, criminal elements' in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and—especially—Arkansas. I will not be averse if you grab my ex-husband if he happens to be in Arkansas with one of his bimbos. Most particularly do I want you to shut down the irresponsible press that might be against us in those areas. Toss them into prison with the general population. We'll see how they like being made non-anal-retentive.

Sure sounds like everyone's favorite couple, neh?
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I downloaded several of his books some time ago, but never got around to reading any. I first came to know him through his co-writing with John Ringo's "Watch on the Rhine", "Yellow Eyes", and a third one I have forgotten. But I have others that I have not taken the time to go through. I may just give them a go.

Right now I am going back through one of my favorite writers, Michael McCollum, and his Gibraltar Series. He's a very serious hard SciFi writer, and I love the way he writes so eloquently.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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I am currently reading the latest of David Weber's Honorverse novels, Shadow of Victory. Unfortunately it is mostly a reprise of a portion of history that has already been presented in previous novels in the series, just showing more interminably lengthy discussions and meals eaten by various behind-the-scenes players in the events in the Manticore vs. Solarian League War.
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(12-16-2016, 02:52 PM)Ron Lambert Wrote: I am currently reading the latest of David Weber's Honorverse novels, Shadow of Victory. Unfortunately it is mostly a reprise of a portion of history that has already been presented in previous novels in the series, just showing more interminably lengthy discussions and meals eaten by various behind-the-scenes players in the events in the Manticore vs. Solarian League War.

I read the same thing in an ARC copy a couple of months ago.   And keeping up with all the many, many characters, all the switching back and forth, and expecting everyone to know everything about everyone, was almost too much for me.  

One would think that if he was going to keep hopping around on a constant basis, he would at least begin every shift with a location point, to give one a reference in which to place one's self.  David Weber is not the same writer he used to be.  I'm not sure if it is due to him being so spread out, with too many irons in the fire, or losing his connection with his readers.  But all this constant skipping around, and having so many undeveloped lesser characters all over the place, is just a bit hard to keep up with.  

This has really bothered me, and I have dwelt on it for some time now.  I kept asking myself, "Was he always like this, or is it just me?"  So I went back and started reading the Honorverse series once again, just to catch any little tidbits I had skipped over my first time around.   I finished "On Basilisk Station" and "The Honor of The Queen" and he really has changed.  Then he had a lesser number of involved character's personalities that needed covering, and his follow through was much smoother, because he was using the KISS Principle then.  Now, that is all out the window, and he is writing like someone with multiple personalities.  

Something tells me that the change has been the result of "Speech Recognition" software, allowing a writer to create more with less effort.  When one is forced to actually type a narrative, he/she needs to make every word count far more than someone simply talking his/her way through a story.  Then add the fact that he has so much on his plate that he skips a thorough self-editing, and we have a disjointed, "cut-and-paste" feeling to everything.   As I stated a few months ago, I'm through that that "Safehold" series.  I just couldn't take any more of his constant meandering and needless pontificating.  And worst of all, the names and their spelling......... Gah

Funny thing is that, to me, the most enjoyable series of his was the "Empire of Man" series, where Ringo wrote the majority of the work, and he filled in on it.  When Ringo puts his mind to it, he can really come up with a well-written, and enjoyable, series that actually enhances Weber's skills.  But sometimes by himself, Ringo can get a bit carried away, but the two of them together really do make a fine story.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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(12-16-2016, 08:23 PM)John L Wrote: ...Something tells me that the change has been the result of "Speech Recognition" software, allowing a writer to create more with less effort.

Very easily could be. Another possibility is that he has fallen under the spell of fandom. If authors spend much time visiting forums that feature their work, it is easy to see groundswells of questions asking for certain things to be explained better or given more detail. I can understand an author trying to fulfill such pleas while still advancing his story line. When I first read the new novel, I immediately thought of you, John, knowing how you disliked the tedium and weird spellings in the Safehold series.

I look at it all a little differently. I accept it as an author's quirk that may have a reason. Must novels have geographical settings that are downsized into tiny bits that are more easily grokked by readers - like the districts in The Hunger Games books and movies. Each district must be about one square mile in size based on the action, but split the USA into 15 districts, and it would take weeks or months to go from one district to another, and no gestapo-like military could control the areas. Almost every book I've ever read turns movements in epic adventures into short steps. This has existed since the Illiad. I always wondered if Weber adds the tedium to expand the readers horizons.
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Thanks to Tom Brady winning the Superbowl. I missed the first episode of "24 Legacy." It was pretty good. I saw it on TV to go from Xfinity. (They show it online 24 hours after, which is ironic with the show.) What I am commenting upon is a strange thing after the show and the credits started running. As everyone knows, the stars and top staff always get top billing. This show... one of the first credits given was for Gaffer. The gaffer is the guy who runs to get coffee and hands the important people the duct tape or WD40 when they need it. Anyone have a clue what is going on here?
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Just finished rereading the entire SafeHold series by David Weber. I know John has eschewed this one series because of all the weird names and tedious detail, but I understood the names to be intensely a part of the backstory. The reason Langhorne and his "Archangels" used Roman numerals, non-metric, and ridiculous spelling for names was to minimize the regrowth of technology. The weird names were just another indication of their Proscriptions. What bothered me more in the reading, was that most characters had two or more names: titles of nobility, and given names. I think Weber loves sticking inside jokes in all his works - and since this series started way back when - of course the bad guy was phonetically named Clinton.

At the end of The Sign of Triumph the ending allows for a followup story that goes more into more high-tech SF as Merlin is presented to us to just be starting a final story that is bound to get back to the war against the Gbaba.
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I notice that "American Assassin" is coming to theaters. It is a Vince Flynn novel based on the character Mitch Rapp. Could be great. Based on the trailer it may be fairly true to Flynn's vision. Since Flynn died in 2013, we are lacking his input.

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The new Brad Thor book, "Use of Force" looks interesting. I am waiting in the library queue (number 8) for books in eight different cities to be returned before I can get it.

Clicking on "Details":

"Use of Force
CHAPTER 1

BURNING MAN FESTIVAL

BLACK ROCK DESERT, NEVADA

TWO DAYS LATER

Scot Harvath wasn't supposed to be here. The CIA was forbidden to conduct operations inside the United States--especially the kind he was about to undertake. Desperate times, though, called for desperate measures.

The seven-day Burning Man event was an extreme, weeklong summer solstice festival held on a flat, prehistoric lakebed three hours outside Reno, Nevada. Outrageous costumes were encouraged--as was "tasteful" nudity. Costumes ran the gamut from Mad Max to Carnival in Rio.

As fit as he was, he could have gotten away without wearing much of anything. That wasn't his style, though. It also wouldn't have made sense for his assignment.

Instead, the five-foot-ten-inch Harvath, with his sandy brown hair and his glacierlike blue eyes, wore a Continental Army coat and a full face of Cherokee war paint, obscuring his handsome features.

As the wind kicked up again, he pulled a pair of steampunk goggles over his eyes and wrapped a keffiyeh around his face. Clouds of the fine alkaline dust that covered the playa were swirling everywhere. Visibility was dropping.

"Fifty meters," a disembodied voice said over the device pushed deep into his left ear. He kept walking, scanning from left to right.

Burning Man took place in a temporary "metropolis" built in the Black Rock Desert, which was called Black Rock City. With more than seventy thousand attendees, BRC was twice as dense as the City of London.

Seen from above, the festival was laid out in the shape of a giant letter C, or two-thirds of a circle. It looked like a blueprint for the Death Star with a good chunk blown away.

It was a mile and a half across, and a quarter mile out from the center of the C was the "Man"--a giant effigy that would be set on fire Saturday night.

There were no accommodations in Black Rock City, only what you hauled in (and hauled back out) yourself. "Burners," as attendees were known, spent months in advance planning elaborately themed camps and villages. Only the ultrarich showed up on Day One, usually via helicopter, to luxury, turnkey camps that had already been constructed for them.

Almost as controversial as the camps of the ultrarich was something called Kidsville. It was one of the largest camps at Burning Man and was for families with children--an interesting choice at such an adult festival. Nevertheless, this year, there were about a thousand kids in attendance.

An army of volunteers, augmented by private security, had screened each vehicle as it entered the festival. Occasionally, the volunteers were assisted by undercover law enforcement.

The massive flow of traffic, in addition to the laid-back atmosphere of the event, made it impossible to do anything thorough. It was more security "theater" than anything else.

Local and state law enforcement patrolled the festival, as did Park Rangers from the Bureau of Land Management. But as long as you weren't openly doing drugs or providing alcohol to minors, it wasn't difficult to stay off their radar. They had their hands more than full. It was no wonder Burning Man had caught the attention of terrorists.

The voice spoke again in Harvath's ear. "You should be able to see it now."

He stopped walking, raised a bottle of water to his mouth, and used the opportunity to look around.

Banners and tent flaps blew in the wind. There was a makeshift bar called 7 Deadly Gins, something called Camp Woo Woo, another place called No Bikini Atoll, and an enclave named Toxic Disco Clam. Just beyond was the blue RV.

"I see it now," said Harvath, tossing the water bottle.

"Hey!" a woman behind him complained, but he ignored her and kept moving. He had come too far to let Hamza Rahim escape.

Through the dust, the evening air was redolent with the smoke from bonfires and burn barrels. Music thumped from every direction. Hidden out of sight, diesel generators rumbled their low growls, powering turntables, sound systems, and massive light shows. Dancers on the playa spun flaming orbs on long chains. Rolling art exhibits, brightly lit from end to end, spat fire into the night sky.

He did a slow loop around the camp that contained the blue RV. Everyone seemed to be congregated in a large tent, content to party and wait out the dust storm happening outside.

After a group of bicycles covered in synchronized LED lights passed, Harvath approached the RV.

It was dark inside. He tried to peer through several windows, but the blinds were drawn. A sunshade covered the windshield.

Pressing his ear against the door, he listened. Nothing. If there was anyone inside, they were being very quiet.

He tried to open the door, but it was locked.

Removing a set of picks, he looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was watching. No one was. Within seconds he had the door unlocked, had affixed the suppressor to his Sig Sauer pistol, and had slipped inside.

Even through his keffiyeh, the RV smelled terrible--like stale cigarettes and a toilet that didn't flush well. After he peeled off his goggles, it took a second for his eyes to adjust.

Plates of half-eaten food sat on the table. Dishes were stacked in the sink. A white plastic trash bag, overflowing with garbage, was tied to one of the drawer handles. The upholstery was torn, the carpeting was stained, and there was playa dust covering everything. Hamza Rahim lived like an animal.

Noticing something on the floor, Harvath bent over and picked it up. Pieces of electrical wire. His heart rate went up.

As far as anyone at the CIA knew, Rahim had been sent to Burning Man for preattack surveillance. His job was to gather intelligence and feed it back up the chain. Harvath's assignment was to snatch Rahim and break his network by any means necessary. The wires, though, suggested the CIA's intelligence might have been dangerously off target. Raising his pistol, Harvath crept toward the rear of the vehicle.

The first thing he checked was a small closet. It was filled with junk. Across from it was a set of bunk beds--both of which had been slept in. Bad sign. Rahim was supposed to be alone.

Beyond the bunk beds was the master area. That bed had also been slept in.

There was only one place left to search: the bathroom.

The door to it was shut. Taking up a position to the side, Harvath slowly tried the knob. Locked.

He listened for any sound, but all he could hear was the thump of the dance music pulsing outside.

Stepping in front of the door, he raised his boot and kicked straight through the knob, shattering the lockset and leaving a hole where it used to be.

As the hinges were on the outside, the door was meant to swing away from the bathroom into the RV.

Harvath took one hand off his pistol and reached for the door. That was when it exploded.

"
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Have you ever read any of Jack DeVitt's work?
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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No - the library search shows no Jack DeVitt books at all.
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(10-11-2017, 02:19 PM)WmLambert Wrote: No - the library search shows no Jack DeVitt books at all.

Which library are you referring to? I've never had any problems checking him out.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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Ahhh... McDevitt. I'll check him out.
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