What have you been reading?

Voros

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It really is - I also recommend the other book they did together - The God Beneath the Sea - focusing on Hephaestus.

I read a lot of myth as a kid - Roger Lancelyn Green did many adaptations of legends and myths.

Of recentish YA fiction I have only read Harry Potter and Philip Pullman, both of which I enjoyed, and I would say Pullman is strong enough to bear comparison with the fiction of my youth.

I'm sure there are some very fine YA writers still, just harder to find in the avalanche of dross that occured with the success of HP and Hunger Games. Haven't read Pullman although his series certainly has a good reputation. Could never get into HP as the very premise of an English-style boarding school for budding wizards I find deeply uninteresting.
 

Voros

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So did I, no deep scholarly works just adoptions for 4-8 grade readers but mythology can be very inspirational for fantasy gaming. Kind of chicken and egg, not sure if RPGs kindled the interest or mythology primed me to want to play RPGs.

Ditto, my big discovery was Heroes, Gods and Monsters by Bernard Evslin, which inspired me to read the Odyssey and Iliad when I was older.

I wrote about Evslin's book a bit more in this thread:


Also found my knowledge of Greek mythology was a big help when we studied the Romantic poets in high school because of their frequent use of Greek mythology in their poems.
 

Voros

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Started this classic history of the Nazis administration of the countries they invaded throughout WWII. So far a very elegantly written and detailed account.

While I think most are largely aware of the brutality of the Nazis 'rule' over those populations they conquered, particularly in Eastern Europe, what this history brings home is the incompetence and rampant corruption of the Nazis as administrators.

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Giganotosaurus

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Started this classic history of the Nazis administration of the countries they invaded throughout WWII. So far a very elegantly written and detailed account.

While I think most are largely aware of the brutality of the Nazis 'rule' over those populations they conquered, particularly in Eastern Europe, what this history brings home is the incompetence and rampant corruption of the Nazis as administrators.

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I feel that when people talk about the Nazi's the myth that they were highly competent and organized comes up way too often. It's like the myth that they fixed the German economy, when their whole economic practice reads like an organized crime ring.
 

Voros

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I feel that when people talk about the Nazi's the myth that they were highly competent and organized comes up way too often. It's like the myth that they fixed the German economy, when their whole economic practice reads like an organized crime ring.

Yeah as a teen I recall friends who seemed to think the Nazis and Germany were super-competent even though the facts of history say otherwise.
 

Giganotosaurus

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Yeah as a teen I recall friends who seemed to think the Nazis and Germany were super-competent even though the facts of history say otherwise.
So much of their propaganda has stayed lodged in the public consciousness. If they were so competent, then how did they loose the war so badly?
 

Toadmaster

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So much of their propaganda has stayed lodged in the public consciousness. If they were so competent, then how did they loose the war so badly?

Yeah, they had some dialed individuals, Rommel, Gudarian, Speer but as a whole they were a bunch of self centered, back stabbing ego maniacs with delusions of grandeur. Stalin was no prize, but he knew enough to stay out of the way of his talented people as long as they kept making him look good.
 

Giganotosaurus

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Yeah, they had some dialed individuals, Rommel, Gudarian, Speer but as a whole they were a bunch of self centered, back stabbing ego maniacs with delusions of grandeur. Stalin was no prize, but he knew enough to stay out of the way of his talented people as long as they kept making him look good.
Oh Stalin fell prey to it too, especially early on in the war. The fact that the Allie's were telling him that Barbarossa was coming and yet he ignored them completely speaks for itself. And be careful when speaking of individuals like Rommel and Speer. They are heavily subject to an almost Cult like veneration of how mythically "Clean and competent" they were compared to their associates. Rommel in particular has been subject to an idealization that's been building since the 50's. As for Speer, he only got his position because he fudged the numbers to make it look like he was a genius.
 

urbwar

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I've been reading some individual Mythos short stories on kindle while going to and from the HP Lovecraft film festival this past weekend. Decided to do some quick and dirty reviews of them on my blog, since I don't use it as often as I likely should.
 

Toadmaster

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Oh Stalin fell prey to it too, especially early on in the war. The fact that the Allie's were telling him that Barbarossa was coming and yet he ignored them completely speaks for itself. And be careful when speaking of individuals like Rommel and Speer. They are heavily subject to an almost Cult like veneration of how mythically "Clean and competent" they were compared to their associates. Rommel in particular has been subject to an idealization that's been building since the 50's. As for Speer, he only got his position because he fudged the numbers to make it look like he was a genius.

Sure, I mean Stalin made errors, but there are not many examples of him getting into the weeds of production or military tactics as was often attributed to the upper levels in Germany. He was an absolutely terrible person, but capable of letting his subordinates do their job so long as they were effective. The guy with a funny moustache on the other hand was really good at getting people to follow him, but he lacked any real skill beyond that and was notorious for thinking he was the smartest guy in the room. In a different time he would host a popular reality TV show.

Yes you are right there is a huge cult of WW2 Germany, most of it completely unjustified beyond the fact that they definitely had a sense of style. There is almost no piece of German hardware that was honestly "the best" of its type, but it sure looked the part, right down to their impractical but snazzy uniforms.

This is opposed to the US military that was more Lt Columbo. Kind of dumpy, but gets the job done and then he just has one more question for you. A Sherman tank is only sexy if you are a disturbed individual like me. :wink:
 

Simon Hogwood

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The Eighth Arrow is a mashup novel between the Odyssey and Dante's Inferno, but that doesn't begin to describe the author's genius in depicting the mytho-Catholic underworld through mytho-Greek eyes, nor the artistry of depicting one of literature's greatest rogues receiving the ultimate redemption.

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It's also a very funny book on multiple levels. Not only is Odysseus' glibness on full display, but there are multiple allusions and deep cuts that reward the reader with some knowledge of the classics referenced. Two of my favorites are when we see Dante and Virgil's meeting with Odysseus through the latter's eyes - and he decides he doesn't like Virgil's Trojan accent; and when (spoilered because it's near the end) Satan tells Odysseus that if he gives up being a lying, thieving trickster to escape Hell for Purgatory he'll lose his notoriety and become a nobody - and Odysseus responds that he's been Nobody, and it wasn't so hard.

Five stars, heavily recommended.
 

Godfather Punk

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Because of a profile post from Agamegos, I hunted down the Sturgeon collection where I (mis)remembered the quote from, and then got my hands on the Illustrated Rubaiyat (hoping for some wisdom and motivational quotes).
That Omar fellow sure liked his wine, didn't he?

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Giganotosaurus

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After almost a year I have finally finished reading William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways. In 1978, after loosing his job and separating from his wife, refits a van and drives around the USA avoiding major highways and fast-food joints. He calls the back roads and rural routes Blue Highways, after them being marked in blue on Rand Mcnally Road maps.
This book holds a deep personal meaning in my family. My father, after a couple of years working a big salary job in California, read this book. Inspired, and dissatisfied with the high pace California lifestyle, he quit his job, bought a pickup and adopted a couple of dogs. He then drove around the country for a while living out of the back of his truck. Eventually he was visiting my Great-Grandmother and she introduced him to my mother.
It has given me a yearning for travel.
 

Toadmaster

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After almost a year I have finally finished reading William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways. In 1978, after loosing his job and separating from his wife, refits a van and drives around the USA avoiding major highways and fast-food joints. He calls the back roads and rural routes Blue Highways, after them being marked in blue on Rand Mcnally Road maps.
This book holds a deep personal meaning in my family. My father, after a couple of years working a big salary job in California, read this book. Inspired, and dissatisfied with the high pace California lifestyle, he quit his job, bought a pickup and adopted a couple of dogs. He then drove around the country for a while living out of the back of his truck. Eventually he was visiting my Great-Grandmother and she introduced him to my mother.
It has given me a yearning for travel.

Not heard of this book, but I can understand the appeal of just loading up a truck or van and wandering the countryside.

Not quite the same but I put thousands of miles chasing fires across the west with similar views to this. Lots of small towns, sleeping in fields, even spent a few nights sleeping in a potato cellar in Idaho one summer.

Travel 5.jpg
 

Giganotosaurus

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Not heard of this book, but I can understand the appeal of just loading up a truck or van and wandering the countryside.

Not quite the same but I put thousands of miles chasing fires across the west with similar views to this. Lots of small towns, sleeping in fields, even spent a few nights sleeping in a potato cellar in Idaho one summer.

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I've had an idea kicking around in my head for a while wherein I visit every lower 48 national park in one trip. A visit would constitute at minimum 1 hour hike on a trail, or visit to a museum. Backtracking, route crossing and fast food would be avoided as much as possible. I call it my "Walkabout" and it was very appealing to me earlier this year after I quit my last job. Money and gas prices have a way of dissuading adventure.
There's always next year I suppose.
 

Stan

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You don't have to do it all at once - maybe take a week off and hit a dozen or so.
 

Voros

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Because of a profile post from Agamegos, I hunted down the Sturgeon collection where I (mis)remembered the quote from, and then got my hands on the Illustrated Rubaiyat (hoping for some wisdom and motivational quotes).
That Omar fellow sure liked his wine, didn't he?

View attachment 50613

Persian and Chinese poets are really big on drinking wine.
 

Toadmaster

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I've had an idea kicking around in my head for a while wherein I visit every lower 48 national park in one trip. A visit would constitute at minimum 1 hour hike on a trail, or visit to a museum. Backtracking, route crossing and fast food would be avoided as much as possible. I call it my "Walkabout" and it was very appealing to me earlier this year after I quit my last job. Money and gas prices have a way of dissuading adventure.
There's always next year I suppose.

That would be quite a trip, there are more than 400 national parks in the US. Just hitting all the national parks in one state during a trip would be quite an accomplishment.

Of course some are just a few buildings, a battlefield etc, they aren't all sprawling places like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. I think I've been to 42, but that includes several in Hawaii, and none East of Texas.
 

Giganotosaurus

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That would be quite a trip, there are more than 400 national parks in the US. Just hitting all the national parks in one state during a trip would be quite an accomplishment.

Of course some are just a few buildings, a battlefield etc, they aren't all sprawling places like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. I think I've been to 42, but that includes several in Hawaii, and none East of Texas.
Oh I'm aware that there are a ton of protected places in the National park system. That's why I narrowed it down specifically to the 63 designated specifically as National parks, ignoring national monuments and battlefields and such. I then further narrowed it down by excluding the 12 parks in American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Alaska from this trip specifically, since they don't really work with the initial premise of a road trip. I plan on visiting them during a couple of separate trips.

Alaska would involve driving from Washington up through British Columbia, visiting the Park's, then taking the Marine Highway back.

Hawaii and Samoa would be grouped together, and the Virgin Islands would be a solo trip.

Other trip ideas I've had:
Visiting every protected place in Washington State.
Driving from Washington to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.
Driving from Vladivostok to Lisbon (Probably never going to happen thanks to the current geopolitical situation).
 

Toadmaster

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Oh I'm aware that there are a ton of protected places in the National park system. That's why I narrowed it down specifically to the 63 designated specifically as National parks, ignoring national monuments and battlefields and such. I then further narrowed it down by excluding the 12 parks in American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Alaska from this trip specifically, since they don't really work with the initial premise of a road trip. I plan on visiting them during a couple of separate trips.

Alaska would involve driving from Washington up through British Columbia, visiting the Park's, then taking the Marine Highway back.

Hawaii and Samoa would be grouped together, and the Virgin Islands would be a solo trip.

Other trip ideas I've had:
Visiting every protected place in Washington State.
Driving from Washington to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.
Driving from Vladivostok to Lisbon (Probably never going to happen thanks to the current geopolitical situation).

That would be more manageable.

I've tried to talk my Friend in Denmark into a Copenhagen to Rome road trip. Distance wise that is no more than Northern California to Tucson, a trip my wife and I have powered through non-stop several times. No go, road trips don't seem to be nearly as popular a thing in Europe, where I've run to many who think 40-60km is "a really long drive".
We did do Denmark to Norway though, so I have hope one day. I just need to find an Italian bunker museum, my friend is a bunker maniac. He wants to make it all the way down the Atlantic wall, we did the Jutland leg in 2018, maybe in 3 or 4 more trips will make it to Southern France.

I was just getting my wife warmed up to a coast to coast USA road trip when Covid hit and put large travel plans on hold.
 

Nobby-W

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Recently finished rereading Leiber's Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories. Now starting to go through the various Thieves' World books for the first time in over a decade.
What did you think of them? I haven't read any of them but I'm contemplating getting some to see some older school fantasy that wasn't Conan.
 

Tulpa Girl

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What did you think of them? I haven't read any of them but I'm contemplating getting some to see some older school fantasy that wasn't Conan.

The F&GM stories? The best of them are great fun, and you can see the influence on D&D in several of them. The stories that Leiber wrote in later years aren't as good IMO, but they aren't as awful as some fans make them out to be.
 

dragoner

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I'm reading Cixin Liu's "To Hold Up the Sky" a collection of short stories. I just finished a couple of Pournelle's Imperial Stars, some of the stories were not bad, though the 80's polemics were tiring.
 

Acmegamer

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Recently finished rereading Leiber's Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories. Now starting to go through the various Thieves' World books for the first time in over a decade.
So much awesome in the above sentences.As an aside, I just tracked down to replace three of the four FASA game module supplements for Chaosium Thieves' World box set that I used to own. Two came in and the third one should be here next Tuesday. The first two were mint condition, better shape than my original copies.

I keep wanting to restart up my old Thieves's World based campaign. :smile:
 

Acmegamer

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What did you think of them? I haven't read any of them but I'm contemplating getting some to see some older school fantasy that wasn't Conan.
I'm extremely biased. I love all the old Fafhrd and Gray mouser and Thieves's World books. :smile: They all worth a read or re-read in my opinion.
 

Voros

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The F&GM stories? The best of them are great fun, and you can see the influence on D&D in several of them. The stories that Leiber wrote in later years aren't as good IMO, but they aren't as awful as some fans make them out to be.

I agree, I liked the later stories as they darknened and deepened the character of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser while turning up the perversity that was always a big part of Leiber's writing, although for that reason they de-emphasize the swashbuckling aspects that make the early stories so much fun. The novel length Swords for Lankhmar are Leiber at his best imo and where he strikes the best balance between his early and late styles.
 

bleys21

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I'm doing my annual October-read of my favourite book of all time...

Amazon product
Love this book so much. :smile:

Here's some art inspired by it too...

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I just finished it! Love that book!

I always try to actually match up the days in the book with the current calendar, but the story is too good, so I end up reading 50 pages like I did a few nights ago...

And the art is cool, never thought to look for any before. Like I said in a different thread, with the right people, this story would make for a legendary movie. Animated, live action, doesn't matter, as long as they do it right. I think I'd want Trent to have complete veto power over anything they tried though...it would need to be someone who loves the material more than anything else...
 

Teyrnon

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This weekend I'm reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. I read it back in 1991 or 1992 so I've decided thirty years later is a good time to reread it. That and I had a flood of recollections of a play based on Dracula I saw in the early to mid-80s which put Dracula on my mind. A play that I'm pretty sure I was a little too young for at the time.
 

Giganotosaurus

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Today I learned that there's a book titled "The Texas-Israeli War: 1999".
Originally I thought it was going to be some weird overtly racist/anti-semitic fringe piece. Turns out it has a Wikipedia article which lists it as a sci-fi novel from the 70's. It has a suitably 70's plot. WW3 starts because Irish Commandos does the UK's water supply with LSD. The protagonists are Israeli mercenaries who drive around in a Centurion Tank with a nuclear reactor and a "Gatling Laser".
It's on my list to read.
 

dragoner

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Today I learned that there's a book titled "The Texas-Israeli War: 1999".
Originally I thought it was going to be some weird overtly racist/anti-semitic fringe piece. Turns out it has a Wikipedia article which lists it as a sci-fi novel from the 70's. It has a suitably 70's plot. WW3 starts because Irish Commandos does the UK's water supply with LSD. The protagonists are Israeli mercenaries who drive around in a Centurion Tank with a nuclear reactor and a "Gatling Laser".
It's on my list to read.
Yes, I remember reading this, it was not bad, if I recall correctly.
 

urbwar

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Currently reading:
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Voros

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Today I learned that there's a book titled "The Texas-Israeli War: 1999".
Originally I thought it was going to be some weird overtly racist/anti-semitic fringe piece. Turns out it has a Wikipedia article which lists it as a sci-fi novel from the 70's. It has a suitably 70's plot. WW3 starts because Irish Commandos does the UK's water supply with LSD. The protagonists are Israeli mercenaries who drive around in a Centurion Tank with a nuclear reactor and a "Gatling Laser".
It's on my list to read.

Co-written by Howard Waldrop, a very fine sf writer.
 

Silverlion

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I got sidetracked on my Turn of the 20th century sci fi works and started trying the top "listed" cyberpunk books from some random place I found online. The first one was about a cyber-soldier/assassin (Behind Blue Eyes) lead character has NO personality. Then read Tropical punch, about a noirish, cybered up detective nicknamed Bubbles. It was so thick with metaphors I nearly was devoured by a gelatinous cube it spawned. (It overdid them do much.) Also suffered from the "big" problem I have with mysteries is genre fiction.
Starting Daughter of Cyber Dragons now--will it be better than those two? I hope so, I likes C.T. Phipps Supervillainy novels (mostly)
 
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