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#3031 Maklershed

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 06:41 PM

Anybody have a suggestion of a book(s) about exploration of space, particularly exploration of the unknown or an unknown object. Or any books that are very Mass Effect-esque?

Unrelated: Just finished the 4th and final book of the Heechee Saga (Annals of the Heechee). The saga was great but the 4th book was nothing to write home about unfortunately.

I think my next hard copy book shall be The Mote in God's Eye

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The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven

Still working through It on the Kindle

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#3032 dothog

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:38 PM

Makler...

A year or so ago I finished Morgan's Broken Angels and Woken Furies, which are the last two books of the Takashi Kovacs trilogy. They deal with a few mysteries surrounding space artifacts and forgotten interstellar cultures, and these mysteries frame the larger explorations of the worlds and cultures the author has created. The whole trilogy is pretty good hardcore, action scifi. Morgan clearly enjoys writing characters within military/corporate hierarchies and the dynamics and attitudes that come out of that. That may be a turn-off, I was a little tired of it after the last book.

(By the way, Morgan's "sleeve" technology is really well handled, it allows for very interesting twists on story telling conventions. It's one of my favorite technologies in any scifi, it's very slick yet doesn't get bogged down in detail.)

Another fun but much goofier exploration of a world and artifact is John Varley's Titan. It's just straight-up weird, the creatures and the world itself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Titan is a good book. It's part of the reason scifi and fantasy fans get stigmatized, it can be embarrassing in places. But it's fun, dammit. So what if it's trashy and *very* dated? In its defense, the protagonist isn't half bad, it's just hard to be taken seriously in the world Varley creates.

Titan especially is easy to get through, it goes fast. Broken Angels and Woken Furies have some bloat to them, but Morgan's technologies and politics make the ride interesting. If you read one of them, hope you'll discuss them here!
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#3033 gravel

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

Started A Clash of Kings this week. I'm only about 50 pages in, but it's already great. I've already bought the next two as well, but I think I might continue to read a different book in between these novels.

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#3034 Cantatus

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:26 AM

Anybody have a suggestion of a book(s) about exploration of space, particularly exploration of the unknown or an unknown object. Or any books that are very Mass Effect-esque?


I particularly enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. It fits very well into your criteria.

I'd also recommend Spin. While it's not about exploring space or unknown objects, it is about exploring a bizarre change to the planet, which I found to be unique.

And, one of my favorite books, The Sparrow, which follows the story of the first group to travel to the first planet found to have life, though I would warn that the story is told from an anthropological stance. It gets into some very deep and dark themes, particularly with the exploration of faith, though it is not a religious book.

#3035 jlarlee

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:10 AM

Anybody have a suggestion of a book(s) about exploration of space, particularly exploration of the unknown or an unknown object. Or any books that are very Mass Effect-esque?

Unrelated: Just finished the 4th and final book of the Heechee Saga (Annals of the Heechee). The saga was great but the 4th book was nothing to write home about unfortunately.

I think my next hard copy book shall be The Mote in God's Eye

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The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven

Still working through It on the Kindle


Hyperion by Dan Simmons has a pretty cool universe. Travel is more by teleports than ships though.
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#3036 evantrees

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:43 AM

currently maybe 470 or so pages into The complete hammer's slammers Vol 3.

Gods and generals ended up taking me more than a month to finish wasn't reading a whole lot.

Anybody have a suggestion of a book(s) about exploration of space, particularly exploration of the unknown or an unknown object. Or any books that are very Mass Effect-esque?


You might like Stephen Baxter's nasa trilogy, Voyage titan and moonseed.

Or maybe the Xeelee sequence for farther future stuff could perhaps count for the unknown.

Mass Effect-esque makes me think space opera

Pandora's Star by perter F hamilton
I will second, The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons

#3037 eldergamer

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:51 PM

currently maybe 470 or so pages into The complete hammer's slammers Vol 3.

Gods and generals ended up taking me more than a month to finish wasn't reading a whole lot.



You might like Stephen Baxter's nasa trilogy, Voyage titan and moonseed.

Or maybe the Xeelee sequence for farther future stuff could perhaps count for the unknown.

Mass Effect-esque makes me think space opera

Pandora's Star by perter F hamilton
I will second, The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons


Clarke's Rendvous with Rama is a good "explore a alient object" type book.
Jack L Chalker's Well World series as well. Most of those are pretty dated.

Larry Niven's Ringworld series fits as well.

I'm currently reading:
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It's okay. got it from the Borders closeout sale. Sort of a fanciful detective novel. Not your standard noir tale. But it doesn't quite go far enough afield for my taste.

(Especially when the last thing I read was the vastly weird Perdido Street Station)

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#3038 dothog

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

(Especially when the last thing I read was the vastly weird Perdido Street Station)

Good weird, though, right? I liked both Perdido and The Scar.

I've moved on to the second book in Abercrombie's First Law series. I really liked the characters in the first, but I'm getting the feeling that I'm losing touch with these books. One thing I don't like is that the fight scenes seem like they get the bulk of his attention...really wish he'd invest some of that energy into the surroundings, world mythology, or non-fisticuff character interaction.

It just seems like a waste of some really interesting characters (who are now lifeless or being largely ignored in the second book). I'm not sure where this series is going, but I'm hoping it picks up. If anyone's made it through all 3, any clues are appreciated. I'll ditch this thing if I have to, I'm crazy enough to do it.
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#3039 eldergamer

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:23 AM

Good weird, though, right? I liked both Perdido and The Scar.

I've moved on to the second book in Abercrombie's First Law series. I really liked the characters in the first, but I'm getting the feeling that I'm losing touch with these books. One thing I don't like is that the fight scenes seem like they get the bulk of his attention...really wish he'd invest some of that energy into the surroundings, world mythology, or non-fisticuff character interaction.

It just seems like a waste of some really interesting characters (who are now lifeless or being largely ignored in the second book). I'm not sure where this series is going, but I'm hoping it picks up. If anyone's made it through all 3, any clues are appreciated. I'll ditch this thing if I have to, I'm crazy enough to do it.


I just finished the second about a month ago. I had a maybe 4-6 month break between the first and the second book so I had forgotten most things.
The second was pretty good although the ending was the definition of anti-climatic.

I'll pick up the third from the library eventually, but I'm not interested in it if it's going to be more of a court-politics vs battle agaisnt the eaters.

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#3040 crunchb3rry

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:07 AM

I couldn't get into First Law. Bought all three from an Amazon bundle deal, but read 2/3 of the first one and just kinda lost interest.

These post-Martin fantasy books that try to be for "adults" and sorta fall flat. I really got tired of the whole genre way back when Terry Brooks kept his Shanarra series going when he should have stopped it at Talismans. Martin got me into his books to an almost obsessive level, but all the other authors failed to get me back into the genre.

#3041 bmachine

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:57 AM

"God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" by Penn Jillette

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#3042 dothog

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:25 PM

I couldn't get into First Law. Bought all three from an Amazon bundle deal, but read 2/3 of the first one and just kinda lost interest.

These post-Martin fantasy books that try to be for "adults" and sorta fall flat.


I don't read em all, so I don't know about fantasy in general. I think First Law's first book had promise, I consider it an accomplishment that the author got me interested in his menagerie of selfish assholes, a few of which were identifiable in spite of being torturers or teenage nobles.

One I've read whose reputation puzzles me is the Name of the Wind books. Not that it's bad, but why all the fuss? Even GRRM went out of his way to praise the last one. I can't think of a protagonist I care less for than Kvothe.
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#3043 cjacks9

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:49 PM

Started A Clash of Kings this week. I'm only about 50 pages in, but it's already great. I've already bought the next two as well, but I think I might continue to read a different book in between these novels.


I'm halfway through a Clash of Kings, which I am enjoying as well. :bouncy:

#3044 kill3r7

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:51 PM

I couldn't get into First Law. Bought all three from an Amazon bundle deal, but read 2/3 of the first one and just kinda lost interest.

These post-Martin fantasy books that try to be for "adults" and sorta fall flat. I really got tired of the whole genre way back when Terry Brooks kept his Shanarra series going when he should have stopped it at Talismans. Martin got me into his books to an almost obsessive level, but all the other authors failed to get me back into the genre.


I finished reading the First Law a few weeks ago and totally agree with your sentiment. The book wasn't bad per se but it certainly wasn't as good as most reviews would have you believe. The characters just didn't hold my interest and the story was almost non-existent. Same thing holds true about The Black Company by Cook.

Edited by kill3r7, 13 February 2012 - 06:12 PM.


#3045 crunchb3rry

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:44 AM

I don't read em all, so I don't know about fantasy in general. I think First Law's first book had promise, I consider it an accomplishment that the author got me interested in his menagerie of selfish assholes, a few of which were identifiable in spite of being torturers or teenage nobles.

One I've read whose reputation puzzles me is the Name of the Wind books. Not that it's bad, but why all the fuss? Even GRRM went out of his way to praise the last one. I can't think of a protagonist I care less for than Kvothe.


Yeah, I do like First Law's characters. It's like there were great characters but a mediocre "world" and "events" for them to exist in. I heard his standalone book that followed was far more interesting.

Read some of the first NotW book. I think I FINALLY got to the interesting part where he actually starts to tell his story. That first chunk was tedious up until then. Pretty sure I'm going to be of the same mind as you though, because so far the main character doesn't interest me either. I found myself more interested in tertiary characters in Martin's books. Like fuckin' Hot Pie! That kid was the shit.

#3046 dothog

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:15 PM

Hot Pie would curbstomp Kvothe. You can't argue against that, it's fact.
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#3047 dmaul1114

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:24 PM

Finished Speaker for the Dead and on to the third book in the series.

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Speaker wasn't nearly as good as Ender's Game, but it was still compelling enough to keep me reading the series.

#3048 dothog

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:00 PM

Speaker wasn't nearly as good as Ender's Game, but it was still compelling enough to keep me reading the series.


That's odd, the general reaction (I think) is that the second actually surpasses the first. YMMV of course.
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#3049 dmaul1114

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:36 PM

From reading reading reviews, the reaction on that is very split.

They're very different books. Ender's Game is a much lighter and more entertaining read. Reasonably action packed etc. The second one is much slower and deals a lot more with philosophical/religious/cultural issues.

Just a matter of what you're interested in/like to read that will determine which you like more I suppose.

#3050 Mr Unoriginal

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:41 PM

I think it's tough to compare the Ender's Books. The first and second books could not be any more dissimilar. I loved Ender's Game and dove right into the second novel. I was so shocked by the change in tone/style that I couldn't finish reading it. I wanted more Ender's Game and the sequel did not deliver. Now, whether it's written better on its own merits is another question.

I started Hyperion the other day. I know it is considered a classic, but didn't know much about it. I am pleasantly surprised. Loving every aspect of it. I am about halfway done and I feel like I don't want it to end. Are the three other books in the Cantos similar?

Its too bad you're still a prick with a stupid gimmick.


#3051 Cantatus

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:31 AM

Just finished Heir to the Empire, which is the first book of the Stars Wars Thrawn Trilogy, and the first Star Wars book I've ever read. I was sort of hesitant picking it up, since I had fears it would read like bad fan fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised. The praise this book gets is worth it, and I'm looking forward to finishing the trilogy off.

But, I'm going to read The Sacred Band first. It's the final book in the Acacia trilogy, which is a horribly underrated fantasy trilogy few people seem to have heard of. I've been looking forward to the conclusion of what's been a fairly innovative and deeply engrossing series for about a year now.

That's odd, the general reaction (I think) is that the second actually surpasses the first. YMMV of course.


Interesting thing is that Orson Scott Card wanted to write Speaker for the Dead first, but decided Ender needed some backstory.

I think which book you prefer depends on whether you like the more sci-fi-ish nature of Ender's Game or the more philosophical nature of Speaker for the Dead. Personally speaking, I enjoyed the latter more, but I think Ender's Game is slightly dated. That said, the rest of the series continued with the more philosophical nature, which I think became a little worn by the fourth book.

#3052 jlarlee

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:38 AM

I think it's tough to compare the Ender's Books. The first and second books could not be any more dissimilar. I loved Ender's Game and dove right into the second novel. I was so shocked by the change in tone/style that I couldn't finish reading it. I wanted more Ender's Game and the sequel did not deliver. Now, whether it's written better on its own merits is another question.

I started Hyperion the other day. I know it is considered a classic, but didn't know much about it. I am pleasantly surprised. Loving every aspect of it. I am about halfway done and I feel like I don't want it to end. Are the three other books in the Cantos similar?


Yep they just keep expanding on the series. In fact the third one is my favorite. His Ilium and Olympous two book series is pretty damn good too
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#3053 Spanky

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:29 AM

The Drawing of the Three. The second book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Also gonna start reading The Game of Thrones series as well.
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#3054 blandstalker

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:36 PM

I started Hyperion the other day. I know it is considered a classic, but didn't know much about it. I am pleasantly surprised. Loving every aspect of it. I am about halfway done and I feel like I don't want it to end. Are the three other books in the Cantos similar?


Yes. But...I am probably in the minority on this...I loved the first two and hated the second two. They are a continuation, but they just felt different to me, and I didn't like where they ended up going. Maybe I should reread them. I thought the first two were stellar, though.

Same thing holds true about The Black Company by Cook.


Heh. I'm currently reading Cook's The Tyranny of the Night (which, whenever I'm tired, I misread as The Tranny of the Night). It is one of the more difficult books I've read and I almost gave up on it twice.

The book is detailed, but it's all minutiae, and Cook throws names, religions, nationalities, regions, and everything at you, and then will spend a paragraph describing something that has nothing to do with the story and may or may not ever be brought up again or be important. It borders on incomprehensible. I finally had to stop trying to make sense of every paragraph and just plow through some of them, skimming for the sense of it and not sweating the details.

Plus Cook has a style with short sentences. Which becomes really annoying, as he describes stuff. In sentence fragments. Like a history book being told by some guy at the bar. Who doesn't really explain things well. And sometimes his meaning is ambiguous. So you read it again. And it doesn't help.

I stuck with it because it was a recommended book at my library, and the description said it was about everyday people instead of kings and Chosen Ones, and I do like that aspect. And while I appreciate that he obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the world, the way in which he conveys it I personally find maddening.
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#3055 dothog

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:58 PM

I'm nearly done with the third and final book in Abercrombie's First Law series. I've powered through them to this point. I get the feeling I know where this is going (nowhere), and whereas some readers see that as super cool and "gritty," to me the cynicism feels like a cop-out.

And I'm exhausted with the way Abercrombie insists on directly indicating character development through exposition and internal asides rather than showing it. He wasn't this bad in the first book.

Overall, a fun series to read, it's pretty easy going from chapter to chapter. A few really fun, original characters. But it isn't satisfying to this point. It may pick up in the last 200 pages, but I get the feeling it won't.
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#3056 eldergamer

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:11 PM

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Second book in the series. Picks up a few years later with from the first book with no re-capping from the first. So at 70 pages in I still feel a little lost remembering how the first ended.

It's not bad, but the dropped in Russian curses are annoying and I have a hard time belivng a physics professor (even if he is from the Russian underworld) is this tough and weapons handy.

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#3057 RockinTheRedDog

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:39 PM

FINALLY...I have finished A Feast of Crows by Martin. This is by far my LEAST favorite of the books. It's sluggish, too much backstory for people I don't really care for...it could have been a MUCH shorter story. As with any of his books though, the good parts were really good and what kept me going. I did find myself double checking with the book's wiki page to make sure I understood the story correctly. I found some parts confusing.

I do have Dance of Dragons on my Kindle but I am going to take a break from this story. I went through all 4 books straight.

Started to read The Hunger Game on my train ride in. I can see I'm going to really like this one and breeze right through it.

#3058 panzerfaust

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

Thomas Jefferson: Author of America by Christopher Hitchens

Good stuff.

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#3059 epobirs

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:50 AM

Last good book: All The Devils Are Here by Joe Nocera and Bethany McLean

A very detailed history of the recent financial crash. It can be a bit of a slog because it tries to be very thorough and cover all of the angles, while most books focus on a single sector or company. But this also means it has some interesting facts and observations I've not read in any of the other books covering the same ground.

The emphasis is that there was a LOT of really bad ideas in both government and finance needed in combination to produce damage of this magnitude. Numerous element could have greatly reduced the severity if they'd acted differently or sooner.

Bad books: A series under the title Annihilation that calls itself a trilogy but seems to have at least seven entries. The author is a Saxon Andrew and I really hope that is a pseudonym. So far it's been like a movie of horrible car accidents. Horrifying but you cannot look away.

If the story were reduced to a synopsis for a series aimed at younger readers it might sound promising. But the author has an utter tin ear for dialogue and convenient miracles just come along like buses on a major urban route. You can be sure there will be another in fifteen minutes.

This is the unfortunate down side of self-publishing e-books. Stuff gets through that, you hope, would never see print if there was any significant capital investment required to get the books into stores.
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#3060 SneakyPenguin

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:02 AM

I think it's tough to compare the Ender's Books. The first and second books could not be any more dissimilar. I loved Ender's Game and dove right into the second novel. I was so shocked by the change in tone/style that I couldn't finish reading it. I wanted more Ender's Game and the sequel did not deliver. Now, whether it's written better on its own merits is another question.

I started Hyperion the other day. I know it is considered a classic, but didn't know much about it. I am pleasantly surprised. Loving every aspect of it. I am about halfway done and I feel like I don't want it to end. Are the three other books in the Cantos similar?


You absolutely NEED to read Fall of Hyperion or you're only getting half the story. Think of Hyperion as the journey, and Fall is the actual meat of the story.

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