Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 591164 times)

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Offline MetalDog

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3660 on: May 03, 2017, 07:40:15 PM »
I read Guns of the South by Turtledove.  It was ok, but, not an author I would pursue reading unless there were no other options.
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Online JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3661 on: May 09, 2017, 06:49:23 AM »
Finished Volume 2 of D Day Through German Eyes, and I'm no closer to discerning how much of the book is legitimate; intentional fake; harmless redaction and/or translational issues (would a soldier in 1954 call something a quantum jump forward in technology? or is that a paraphrase of a German word difficult to translate meaningfully into modern English?); or redaction intended to obscure or change meaning, and if so then how relevant is the alteration?

As a clear example of the latter question: I know from other historical materials that part of the propaganda fed to the people and the troops was the need to protect a united Europe (and the need to unite Europe by force, therefore, for its own protection) against the Bolsheviks in Russia ruining Europe despotically, and thus against the international banking system which supposedly fostered the communist revolution in order to achieve state despotic power and which naturally also was backing the British and American governments until they could be undermined and overthrown into communist rule. This concept shows up several times in the interviews, usually but not always with a hindsight understanding that this was false propaganda after all. What never once shows up in connection with this idea in the book, but which did regularly show up historically in connection with it, is anti-Judaism (and its connected racial anti-Semitism): the Jews run the banking system, the Jews run the communists, all communists are Jews all Jews are communists etc. It can't help but seem suspicious that out of every single mention of defending against the international banking system and international socialism (compared to "national" socialism of course), not one connection is made even for correction against Jewish culture/religion or against a Semitic race. (There is even some mention of racial competition in other regards: why are people of our race attacking us when we should all be fighting against the Slavic race? -- that kind of thing.)

Did everyone by pure accident just happen not to mention the popular connection (a popular connection so popularized it formed the underlying basis for the freaking Holocaust)?! Did they censor themselves on this topic out of post-war sensitivity (to things like for example the freaking Holocaust)? Did the (ostensible) interviewer in his notes, or his (ostensible) grandson, redact that connection out to avoid potential problems with the book being accepted which already had controversial views hampering publication? or redact out for other reasons? Was there some combination thereof? Or did the author avoid making these connections when fictionalizing these narratives? I have no idea.

Sometimes the structure of the narrative seems suspicious, too. As far as I recall, every single interviewee explains one way or another how they left the war, either on June 6th or shortly afterward or sometime afterward -- except one. This one happens to also be the only one caught out by paratroopers before dawn (paratroop fights after daybreak feature on rare occasion elsewhere). The scene involves him narrowly missing being silenced by paratroops once, and then he finds a German ad hoc squad in the road while escaping and they all get ambushed by (American) paratroops again with each squad member quickly dispatched. How did the interviewee survive? Well, he raised his gun out of fear to try any desperation to fight back, and they smash it from his hands and start beating him -- and that's the end of his story, he doesn't want to talk about it anymore.

...really? But that sounds like an author painted himself into a corner or had a nightmare he wanted to use as ground for a short story! Shouldn't the editor or the collector have added a postscript explaining that Herr Whateverhisnamewas was left for dead in the road and found the next day by a retreating company who took him to the rear where his wounds were regarded as severe enough to be sent to, say, Holland for recuperation, where he later served in stopping Operation Market-Garden before withdrawing behind the Westwall etc.?


And yet there are lots of little touches which count toward verisimilitude, too, like a soldier wondering if a British Typhoon (iirc) had been outfitted with horns similar to Stukas earlier in the war: he knows that despite the stereotype, the Stuka dive-bomb sirens were pretty quickly removed as being more trouble for the crew overall than for their targets.

I continued to be impressed, but I also continued to see why readers would be suspicious. Certainly, with the lack of contextual provenance, I couldn't recommend the book as a basis for doing any history. But at the very least the book (in its 2 vols, collected for print I think) often reads like history.


Relatedly, I have also now started Richard Hargreaves' The Germans in Normandy, which unlike that 2-vol set does routinely source its quotes from established memoirs. Points of contact immediately jump out; not in the sense of plagiarism, just confirmation of topics and ideas shared by both works in a historical context.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 06:54:14 AM by JasonPratt »
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3662 on: May 12, 2017, 08:12:47 PM »
To compliment my starting Alien: Isolation and the upcoming release of Alien: Covenant, I am reading Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report:

https://smile.amazon.com/Alien-Weyland-Yutani-Report-S-Perry/dp/160887866X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494641527&sr=1-1&keywords=weyland+yutani+report
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Offline mirth

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3663 on: May 13, 2017, 06:00:13 AM »
To compliment my starting Alien: Isolation and the upcoming release of Alien: Covenant, I am reading Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report:

https://smile.amazon.com/Alien-Weyland-Yutani-Report-S-Perry/dp/160887866X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494641527&sr=1-1&keywords=weyland+yutani+report


I think you should read the companion book next

https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Next-Door-Joey-Spiotto/dp/1785650262/
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Offline Gusington

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Offline Greybriar

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3665 on: May 14, 2017, 08:45:42 PM »
I just finished reading The King Without a Kingdom, book 7 in The Accursed Kings series by Maurice Druon. Now I will resume reading Hitler's War, book 1 of The War That Came Early series by Harry Turtledove.
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Offline jamus34

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3666 on: May 15, 2017, 10:32:36 AM »
Started Thrawn on Friday. Finished this morning. Good book although I'm a little behind in my Star Wars mythology so some references I did not get.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3667 on: May 16, 2017, 05:01:14 PM »
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Online JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3668 on: May 17, 2017, 02:17:52 PM »
Back to my ongoing report of the original Magic: the Gathering novels, the series published by HarperPrism. We're now at Book 7, Ashes of the Sun, by Havovi Braddock. In order to make my inevitable wall of text more palatable if no less inevitable I shall Fraternally Anticipate Questions.


DOES THIS BOOK WARM THE COCKLES OF A FOLK ANTHROPOLOGIST'S HEART?

Why, yes, yes it does, O Suspiciously Particular Imaginary Questioner! -- even my little amateur heart, although I expect a more professional folkanthra of my acquaintance would like it even more if she hasn't read it already. It's about lore and languages and why myth and history are both important (but maybe myth more important in the end, at least in pre-industrial societies)...

PASS.

...and about minotaurs and goblins and cow-chopping axes and sadness and a beautiful but desperately lonely and grieving middle-aged female human martial-arts wrestler and... wait, that wasn't a question.


MINOTAURS, EH? ARE WE FINALLY BACK TO A STORY THAT IS ACTUALLY ABOUT MAGIC: THE GATHERING IN SOME MEANINGFUL FASHION?

Eh, no. Everything verbally connected with the game, up to and including the "Hurloon Minotaurs" (who are the Minotaurs-Not-Appearing-In-This-Story), are decorative bling. Again. There's more of the decorative bling than in the previous story, and it technically happens back in "Dominaria" the first main world of the game, but --

-- BUT THIS SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER FANTASY NOVEL REPURPOSED TO BE INCLUDED IN A SERIES ABOUT MAGIC: THE GATHERING CARDS.

Not a question again, but yes I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if this was true.

DOES THE COVER ARTIST GOOF AS BADLY AS ON THE PREVIOUS BOOK ABOUT THE SNAKEY-LIZARDY-ALLIGATOR PEOPLE?

No, but what the minotaurs should be wearing is important in the story and this gets botched.

A STORY ABOUT WHAT MINOTAURS SHOULD BE WEARING. GREAT. WHAT ABOUT THE BACK COVER? ARE THE TWO MAGIC CARDS HILARIOUSLY AND/OR VAGUELY INAPPROPRIATE?

Less so. There are indeed minotaurs who live in a labyrinth, so "Labyrinth Minotaur" at least makes some kind of sense. Goblins are not lacking, but no "Goblin Sappers" per se.

HOW'S THE SEX AND VIOLENCE AND CURSING?

Less R-rated than several previous entries, though the violence is still bloody. But it isn't a chocked-full-of-action plot. It's a thinky moody thoughtful plot.

MUCH LIKE THE PREVIOUS TWO BOOKS WHICH WEREN'T REALLY ABOUT MTG EITHER?

A little more action than either of those, I'd say, but also even more thoughtful. Keep in mind that I have rather liked all the books in the series so far, including those prior two. For books clocking under 350 small pages (and no more than 292 in this case), they pack quite a bit of plot. I vaguely recall only one or two editing/composition glitches, too, and the book doesn't start in the middle of a fight while trying to explain what the hell either. It takes a little while to get to the main plot, but I wasn't bored. I was actually impressed at how the plot worked itself back along its track (both literally and figuratively) at the end. Also, I appreciated the nerve of the author in drawing out an extended set of epilogue chapters rather than ending with a thump of a few pages.

COULD YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT THE PLOT WITHOUT UNDUE SPOILERAGE?

The aforementioned woman, Ayesh, is the last known survivor of a glorious human civilization overthrown, more than a little embarrassingly all things considered, by a goblin horde. Possibly because the seven cities of this Empire avoided training any military to bother talking about, and ended up relying on a few handfulls of wrestlers to defend them. (Not entirely joking, the author's unfortunately a bit vague about this.) Now the woman in her 40s travels the world as a minstrel trying to teach people the history of her land, but she's been doing it long enough (over 20 years now) that she's starting to hear her own stories come back in popular deformations which causes her to lose hope that her culture can ever rise again. On an ill-fated venture to find a northern human outpost where maybe she can tell her histories and keep them alive without other people coming along to legendarily accrete them, she decides screw it her whole mission in life is a worthless failure and she'd rather die literally kicking the asses of the local goblin infestation while drunk.

Then minotaurs happen.

SOUNDS PORTENTOUS.

It is.

SOUNDS PRETENTIOUS.

It... well, kind of is, I guess. But in a good way? I didn't mind.

SOUNDS PREDICTABLE.

If I say that it wasn't, then that might sound predictable in another way. The author likes to send out signals so you expect the story to zig, but then more often it zags instead. I can't say I was very happy that the Big Bad of the piece was an extremely fundamentalist religious leader (very often called "fundamentalist" vs the "liberals"), but she's the only blatantly obvious and unshaded villain of the piece and the relationship between conservative and liberal religion, ditto politics, is more nuanced than I was worried it would be when I saw this side of the plot starting up early.  ::) :P


I think I have another couple of books to go before Wizards of the Coast yanks the publishing contract back to itself in order to publish actual freaking MTG novels (again), and considering the dearth of more than cosmetic MTG in these past three books I can understand why they'd do that. But the stories themselves are good quality (even if the editing and composition gets sloppy sometimes -- not in this one.) I won't mind reading another book or two in this general vein, but I'll be glad to get to epic plottiness and lore-wallowing eventually, too.  :nerd: :smitten:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Staggerwing

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3669 on: May 17, 2017, 05:37:38 PM »
Google Translate fail  :(
Vituđ ér enn - eđa hvat?  -Voluspa

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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3670 on: May 17, 2017, 07:00:41 PM »
What are cockles?
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Offline bob48

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3671 on: May 18, 2017, 03:26:38 AM »
Molluscs.
'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'

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Recombobulate the discombobulators!

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3672 on: May 18, 2017, 07:31:50 AM »
Oh.

Wut?
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Offline bob48

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3673 on: May 18, 2017, 07:51:14 AM »
'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'

'Clip those corners'

Recombobulate the discombobulators!

Online JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3674 on: May 18, 2017, 09:26:26 AM »
"Warm the cockles of your/my/his heart", is archaic slang dating back to the 1670s in English. It was still prevalent, in a winky-old way, in comic books and things like that when I was growing up in the 1970s.

The term, and the mollusc's name, come from the same Latin medical term, cochleae referring to heart valves. Which I'm sure is based on an analogy with something a lot more mundane.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.