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Current reading - Page 111

post #5501 of 5567
Finished Nevill's "No one gets out alive". Reading his books is like reading a nightmare, they just get under your skin.

So, got House of Small Shadows out of the library which I think makes me up to date with his work.

Also got West of Sunset by Stuart O'Nan because it looked interesting and The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway because I liked the cover.

Oh, and all the Planetary books too. Winter is a great time to catchup on reading smile.gif
post #5502 of 5567

Just started reading China Mieville's The City & The City. Have never read one of his books before but I'm about a quarter the way through and it is fucking great. Cool sci-fi concept meets an old-school police procedural.

 

Before that, I read Michel Houellebecq's Platform, which appears to exist only to give the author reason to do a little Muslim-bashing. Not something I'd recommend.


Edited by Evi - 6/19/16 at 3:13am
post #5503 of 5567
The City And The City is fucking phenomenal. I read it in one sitting.
post #5504 of 5567

The Unnoticeables was OK.  Weirldy reminded me of Martin Millar's Milk Sulphate and Alby Starvation, in it's punk aesthetic.  Was a bit too on the nose in it's imagery though (literally people being ground into the wheels of hollywood).

 

West of Sunset was a well written read that was quite immersive in it's pre war Hollywood.  I never knew a) quite what an alcoholic Fitzgerald was or b) how his life kind of just fizzled out.

 

House of Small Shadows was really good, dark stuff.  Not quite as nightmare fuelish as No One Gets out Alive, but still creepy enough with some genuinely horrifying imagery.

post #5505 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

Read a terrific horror novel, Those Across the River by an fella named Christopher Buehlman.  Suffice it to say, he's now one of my go-to horror guys, right up there with Adam Nevill. 

Got that out of the library, alongside Warren Ellis Crooked Little Vein.

Plus the Darth Vader comics, and Sandman Wake, which means I will finally be finishing a series I began reading around 30 years ago.
post #5506 of 5567
I really hope you dig it, Andy!

The trailer for Mike Carey's wonderful The Girl With All the Gifts is out. I like the look of it, with the exception of Gemma Arterton in the lead role (I envisioned Naomie Harris, for my part). Race notwithstanding, Arterton (a good actress) looks far too well-fed and hearty years into a zombie apocalypse.
post #5507 of 5567
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH by Arturo Perez-Reverte.
post #5508 of 5567

I continue to rampage through Robert Silverberg's late 60s-mid-70s run. This guy is a masterful scifi writer. Most of his stuff sounds like run of the mill "What if?" scifi scenarios of the time if you just read the back cover blurb. What sets him apart is how deep he goes into the psychology of the characters and puts you into their heads, without being showy about it.

 

It's refreshing to get into an author that's all about short, snappy standalone novels. He focuses on one story concept and the characters within it, no extraneous worldbuilding bloat. It's quite a contrast to all the multi-part epics out there.

 

The darkness and cynicism he touches upon with some of the novels reminds me of J.G. Ballard, except with some recognizable human emotions infused into the scenario. "The World Inside" in particular is very similar to the setup of Ballard's "High-Rise", but he takes it in a completely different direction.

 

My favorites so far are 1.The World Inside, 2.The Masks Of Time, 3.The Man In The Maze, 4.Downward to the Earth, and 5.The Book of Skulls.

post #5509 of 5567
WHAT WE BECOME by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

A handsomely-written romantic thriller about gentleman thieves, genius composers, chess prodigies, and spies. A perfect beach read.
post #5510 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

I really hope you dig it, Andy!

The trailer for Mike Carey's wonderful The Girl With All the Gifts is out. I like the look of it, with the exception of Gemma Arterton in the lead role (I envisioned Naomie Harris, for my part). Race notwithstanding, Arterton (a good actress) looks far too well-fed and hearty years into a zombie apocalypse.


I dug the book so looking forward to this one. Anyone read Carey's new book?

post #5511 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

I really hope you dig it, Andy!

I liked it so much I got 3 more of his books out of the library. Reminded me of Ghost Story until it didn't. I haven't read too much in this sub genre, but it was definately up there with the best I had read. Creepy, some real horror and even some good action.

Unrelated, but found this in the children's section when I was looking for my daughter.

Weird.

post #5512 of 5567
100 pages in and Buehlman's Between Two Fires is fantastic. Brilliant stuff.
post #5513 of 5567

That's really good to hear, Andy.  I love that story - I've read about that author since hopping on his bandwagon and he's not religious, but to write that story, during the Black Death with pious characters and heavenly NPCs, those are skills.

post #5514 of 5567
Disappearance at Devil's Rock, Paul Tremblay's follow up to A Head Full of Ghosts, is so far a very strong follow up. It lacks the audacity of that one, but it nails the different character voices it's portraying. I like Joe Hill, for the most part, but this guy is doing an even more impressive job of hitting the notes King does at his best, and these characters feel very modern in comparison. Disappearance is sort of a riff on Pet Semetary and Stand By Me, and it's handling the psychology very well.
post #5515 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Disappearance at Devil's Rock, Paul Tremblay's follow up to A Head Full of Ghosts, is so far a very strong follow up. It lacks the audacity of that one, but it nails the different character voices it's portraying. I like Joe Hill, for the most part, but this guy is doing an even more impressive job of hitting the notes King does at his best, and these characters feel very modern in comparison. Disappearance is sort of a riff on Pet Semetary and Stand By Me, and it's handling the psychology very well.

 

I loved NOS4A2 (sp), Hill's short story collection, and Locke & Key. The Fireman is a slog for me right now. All the characterizations are so pat and folksy and it doesn't foreshadow so much as clobber. I'm hoping it can change my mind soon, because the fucker is like carrying around anvil in my bag and I don't want the unwanted exercise to be for naught.

post #5516 of 5567
Between Two Fires maintained its brilliance and stuck the landing. Loved it.

The Necromancer's House is stylistically very different but equally brilliant. Buehlman really is tremendous.

Also managed to fit in Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield's Freak Angels series which is a bloody marvel.

Good reading times at the mo.
post #5517 of 5567

Passage to Power by Robert Caro. Read the first volume of this Biography of Lyndon Johnson as an undergrad in the 1980's. This volume, published recently, takes Johnson from the 1960 election to the immediate aftermath of the Assassination of JFK. 

 

All four (and counting) books in the series are worth reading, but this one is like reading a Tom Clancy novel, except it's a well documented work of nonfiction. 

post #5518 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post


The Necromancer's House is stylistically very different but equally brilliant. Buehlman really is tremendous.

 

 

 

Ah, I read that a while ago. Very fun and a unique take. 

post #5519 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Between Two Fires maintained its brilliance and stuck the landing. Loved it.

The Necromancer's House is stylistically very different but equally brilliant. Buehlman really is tremendous.
 

 

Really happy you dug him, Andy.  Buehlman is one of those guys who is almost too good to break into the upper tier, but he deserves it.  I remember reading Those Across the River and for a good chunk of the book, I didn't know if it was going to actually be a 'horror' horror novel...but what a horror novel it turned out to be.  And the guy just gets better.  You would think Between Two Fires was written by a Christian author, but the guy's politics seem to be in line with Garth Ennis.  The coda to that novel still moves me.

 

The funny thing is, and I'm not at all sure that this is a good thing (but given his writing chops it might be) in his latest book there are hints that

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
his books, or at least a few of them, might take place in the same literary world. We will see.
post #5520 of 5567

Found the Lesser Dead my least fave of his works.  It was readable enough, but not up to the first three.  This may be to do with my ambivalence towards Vampire fiction.  Just felt a bit half baked.

 

Onto the first three Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser now.

post #5521 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by bendrix View Post
 

 

I loved NOS4A2 (sp), Hill's short story collection, and Locke & Key. The Fireman is a slog for me right now. All the characterizations are so pat and folksy and it doesn't foreshadow so much as clobber. I'm hoping it can change my mind soon, because the fucker is like carrying around anvil in my bag and I don't want the unwanted exercise to be for naught.

---I say this as a huge fan of Joe hill, especially NOS4A2 and  his short stories, but many was The Fireman a let down. Such an interesting premise and it really starts off with a bang. Half way through it just dies. Anyone is entitled to a stumble I guess, but I fear it will be for naught if you are hoping it gets better

post #5522 of 5567

Ripped through The Tomb, the first Repairman Jack novel, and am now ripping through the follow-up, Legacies.

 

Entertaining as hell, think of Tom Jane Punisher fighting Demons with Explosive and a Flame Thrower and you get a hint of the hijinks...

post #5523 of 5567

I finished Bakker's The Great Ordeal last week. I was pissed off that it was not the series capper and instead they pulled the ol' let's split it into two books bullshit. While I think Bakker's writing is excellent, and I absolutely love The Darkness that Comes Before. I have felt a lot of diminishing returns with this author the further I go through his books. I hope he manages to tie things together in the finale.

 

Right now I am moving through Yates Revolutionary Road (thanks to the chewer who recommended the book). I was unaware of Yates prior to reading this and now I plan to head to the used book store and see what else I can find of his tomorrow. 

post #5524 of 5567

I read Hill's Twittering from the Circus of the Dead last night. It's a short story he wrote in 2010 that's compromised solely of tweets by a bratty teenager. It's gimmicky (and a product of 2010. Who says "twittering"?) but it's executed well enough. Sorry to hear The Fireman's a letdown. I almost bought when it was on sale for five bucks earlier this week. 

post #5525 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

Ripped through The Tomb, the first Repairman Jack novel, and am now ripping through the follow-up, Legacies.

 

Entertaining as hell, think of Tom Jane Punisher fighting Demons with Explosive and a Flame Thrower and you get a hint of the hijinks...

I read them all but waited quite a while to read the final one, "Nightworld," since it essentially ended two series in one - I did not read the Adversary Cycle but didn't feel like I missed much just reading the Repairman Jack novels.

post #5526 of 5567

Just finished up the novella "The Ballad of Black Tom", which is one of the best Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos stories I've read.  It's also sadly topical and relevant today as it deals with the plight of black citizens in 1920s NYC and their relations with the NYPD, among others.  It's nice to read a politically charged Lovecraft inspired tale without Lovecraft's own signature racism.

post #5527 of 5567
THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN SARAGOSSA by Jan Potocki.

An utterly wild, early nineteenth-century novel that feels wholly modern. If you like Borges, it's a must-read.

I'm also rereading Ray Bradbury's greatest novel, DANDELION WINE.
post #5528 of 5567

Flashman, Flash for Freedom and Flashman and the Great Game were fantastic.  Especially the last one.

 

Apart from being cad/bounder Flash is involved in a lot of historic British disasters (Afghanistan/Slavery and India).  Apart from the kind of swashbuckling adventures (all of which occur despite Flashman self identifying as a "poltroon (coward)) they are just fantastic overviews of these historic events.  Flashman in the Great Game is about the Indian mutiny in the 1850s and is a harrowing read.  Fraser never really lands on one side or another (in Flash for Freedom Flashman is involved in both running slaves AND the underground railroad) so you get a good overview of the history.

 

And Flash, at his "best" is like Flashy in Blackadder.  A braggard and scoundrel with some very fine choice of phrases.  Heartily recommend.

 

Onto The Troop by Nick Cutter.  Struggling with it a bit.  About 40 pages in and it feels like it's trying too hard.  All descriptive passages are steeped in ominous metaphors and similes.  And he has a habit of dumping in "excerpts" from news sources, about the events in the book, but after the events in the book, which undercuts any tension for me.  Will soldier on and see if it gets better.

post #5529 of 5567
I enjoyed The Deep and The Acolyte much more than The Troop; however, despite his accolades and obvious talent, I don't put Cutter into the top tier of horror writers. I've always found something missing from his novels. Could be me though
post #5530 of 5567
Rereading American Gods, this time with the actors who've been cast in the roles completely overlaid on top of it. Which is fair, because it's the show that got me to pick it back up. It's very much I as I remembered it. Really fun and imaginative, with a bit of a blank at its center. The show looks like it has a good shot of figuring that out.

Gaiman is so good and creative and blessed with imagination, I wonder why I don't get more invested in it. Maybe it's just that Sandman really said it all, and everything after that is reiterating a point.
post #5531 of 5567

Seeing him mentioned in other threads reminded me that I also recently picked up The Complete HP Lovecraft Collection on Amazon Kindle for fifty-seven cents (!). Prior to that, I owned Shadows of Death (a collection of his stories). 

 

As much as I like Cronos and The Devil's Backbone, I don't want to see del Toro adapt At The Mountains of Madness.

 

In fact, I'm not really sure I want anyone to adapt it. It practically demands a gigantic budget and given the bleak subject matter, I'm not sure there's a studio that would shell the money out, likely leaving us with a very watered down and compromised vision of something that deserves much better. 

post #5532 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

I enjoyed The Deep and The Acolyte much more than The Troop; however, despite his accolades and obvious talent, I don't put Cutter into the top tier of horror writers. I've always found something missing from his novels. Could be me though

 

Agreed.  I just could not get on with the Troop.  It didn't say anything new, had fairly rote characters and built to nothing.  Ended up skimming it.

 

New library picks:

 

Stephen King - Revival

H.P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness

Alfred Bester - The Stars My Destination


Edited by Andy Bain - 8/23/16 at 6:02pm
post #5533 of 5567
Currently working my way through Fleming's original James Bonds.

His writing is pretty basic and dry but the short chapters with each ending pretty much setting up the next make them easy enough to read.

I'm currently half way through book 3, Moonraker and there's little I've seen yet that makes Bond the quintessential British gentleman spy. Maybe by the end of the series it will have clicked into place, but when I started out I was reading Bond as Dalton but that quickly gave way to reading Bond in Lazenby's obvious smug monotone - he's a bit of a dullard.

Up to now they seem like cheap, thin page-turners, quite easy to see why they became so popular.
post #5534 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post
 

 

Alfred Bester - The Stars My Destination

 

Hell yeah. This one is unbelievably good.

post #5535 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Reese View Post
 

 

Hell yeah. This one is unbelievably good.

Yes, yes it is.  It hasn't really aged that much either.  The only thing that struck me is the 25th Century Dynasty names.  Stuff like Esso and Kodak, the inference being that they dominated their field and so became the new "royalty".  But most (if not all) of these have fallen by the wayside.

 

But then I realised that a lot of them are old enough that soon there will come a point where people reading it just think they are generic made up names.

 

But yes, an absolutely fantastic book.

post #5536 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

 

Stephen King - Revival

 

This one would have worked SO MUCH BETTER as a short story. The ending is terrifying while the rest of the book meanders with a protagonist who isn't especially interesting. 

post #5537 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
 

This one would have worked SO MUCH BETTER as a short story. The ending is terrifying while the rest of the book meanders with a protagonist who isn't especially interesting. 

 

Yes. It reminded very much of his better Skeleton Crew/Night Shift shorts, just plain run of the mill everymen (in this case, the junkie artist, the standard King POV), and then a horrifying twist. That sort of structure is better suited to a short than a novel. I don't felt we really learned anything throughout the book that serviced the ending, though I did enjoy the ride. I think the only other bit that stood out otherwise was the:

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
"Where's his face? Where's my little boy's face?"

 

bit.

 

 

Hell, the motivation for our main character assisting in the final experiment is a character we'd been introduced to in the first few chapters. Everyone else is a footnote on the way.

post #5538 of 5567
I actually really liked it. Part of that would have been the love letter to learning to play the guitar and playing in a band. But I liked the overall "life lived" story and how it tied into the theme at the end.

I get the Skeleton Crew likeness though because I can't remember the last King book that was this bleak. Speaking of which The Stars my Destination clicked me as to why King called teleportation jaunting in The Jaunt.

Onto At the Mountains of Madness. Good fit given the cosmic horror of Revival and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books I'm currently reading.
post #5539 of 5567

So I've now read three of the "Repairman Jack" novels. 

 

Jack is one of those Masculine Hero types that permeate American pop lit: he's presented as a level headed nice guy, but his whole way of life contradicts that. 

 

Jack does "repairs", meaning if say, you are a contractor who gets stiffed by Donald Trump and have no legal recourse, Jack will scam Trump to get you your money back. 

 

Also, Jack lives "off the Grid", having no (real) Social Security number, Tax records, takes all his payments in cash, which he uses to guy guns or other ordinance, the rest he uses to buy Gold coins. 

 

Yet he isn't an End of the Worlder, considers those people nuts. 

 

Oh and he eats junk food and drinks beer all day, but can still handle himself in a fight, due to his daily exercises routine (not doubt copied from Doc Savage). 

 

All this sounds like I hate the character and these books, but I actually enjoyed them quite a bit. 

 

They have a "loosey goosey" quality to them, with the Bad Guys having their own problems as human beings, apart from whatever dastardly plan they are trying to undertake. Also, even though two of the protagonists in the three novels I've read are actively engaged with the Supernatural, they frequently have no better idea of what's going on than Jack, something I found refreshing. 

 


Think I need to re-read The Keep, esp having recently seen the Michael Mann adaptation. 

post #5540 of 5567

Just thought I would quickly mention one of my favourite books.

 


 

Quote:

"In an America where the job of inflating the reputations of people with negligible larger social value has become a major growth industry," David Halberstam observes in his new book Firehouse, "firemen do what they do because they love doing it, not because they want the plaudits of outsiders. Instead, what they want most is the respect of their peers." Firehouse is the veteran reporter's quick-moving account of the lives and sudden deaths at the World Trade Center of 13 men from the Engine 40, Ladder 35 station. It also chronicles the story of the group's lone but badly injured survivor.

 

In their gratitude for the heroism and sacrifice displayed following the September 11 terrorist attack, Americans have made so much of the New York firefighters that one may reasonably wonder if there is anything left to be said. Halberstam shows there is. His special contribution is to anatomize the culture that incubated and nourished these remarkable public servants. After giving a brief history of the station, Halberstam takes the reader inside to see how the doomed unit functioned and how the men got along with each other personally. Although most of them were from New York's tightly knit ethnic enclaves, they were still a wonderfully diverse lot. Physically powerful, strongly opinionated Bruce Gary could be counted on to put newcomers ("probies") to the test and coin all the necessary nicknames. Steve Mercado, who did dead-on impressions of his buddies, was funny enough, they thought, to be a professional comedian. Kevin Shea, the survivor, a fireman's son, did part-time work as a children's entertainer, sometimes dressing up as Barney or Big Bird. To the degree it can be traced in the still-lingering chaos of that hellish day, Halberstam relates what each of these fireman was doing when the Towers collapsed. He explains how the wives and parents heard the news of the disaster and the ways they acclimated themselves to the fact that their husbands and sons were dead. He visits the memorial services to witness and convey the solemn sights and sounds.

 

Halberstam, who lives only three and a half blocks from Engine 40, Ladder 35, says he had often passed by the firehouse, admiring "however distantly" the men who worked there. In this book, he enables us to admire them up close.

post #5541 of 5567
Thanks. Looks very moving. I read '102 minutes, the Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers' a few years ago. Astonishing book.


https://www.amazon.com/102-Minutes-Unforgettable-Survive-Inside-ebook/dp/B005569FBY
post #5542 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Onto At the Mountains of Madness. 

The fucking penguins. 

 

That is all. 

post #5543 of 5567

I'm only half way through so no penguins (they've just flown over the plateau).

 

Two things though.  a) Can't believe how insanely influential this thing is and b) even though nothing much has happened (on page) yes it's the first book in a very, very, long time that's actually given me nightmares.

post #5544 of 5567

Well, ended up being less scary than I'd thought it would be.  As ever, any explanation at all diminishes the scare factor for me.

 

Book had 3 stores in: At the Mountains of Madness, Whisperer in the Dark and Shadow out of Time.  Of all of them I think I enjoyed Shadow out of Time the most.  I did start to lose patience with "I can't tell you what I saw that destroyed my mind" and "even though we were terrified and knew we could die we carried on, because of curiosity".

 

Good to have knocked them off though.

post #5545 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post
 

Well, ended up being less scary than I'd thought it would be.  As ever, any explanation at all diminishes the scare factor for me.

 

Book had 3 stores in: At the Mountains of Madness, Whisperer in the Dark and Shadow out of Time.  Of all of them I think I enjoyed Shadow out of Time the most.  I did start to lose patience with "I can't tell you what I saw that destroyed my mind" and "even though we were terrified and knew we could die we carried on, because of curiosity".

 

Good to have knocked them off though.

 

 

I think Stephen King more or less said that HPL was a genius as far as set up, but too often would punt when it came time to lay it on the table. 


It's a fair criticism. I know that lots of other writers have done awesome stuff playing in HPL's sandbox, so if for nothing other than creating the Cthulhu/Old Gods mythos, he's an all-timer. 

post #5546 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chavez View Post
 

 

 

I think Stephen King more or less said that HPL was a genius as far as set up, but too often would punt when it came time to lay it on the table. 


It's a fair criticism. I know that lots of other writers have done awesome stuff playing in HPL's sandbox, so if for nothing other than creating the Cthulhu/Old Gods mythos, he's an all-timer. 

 

Oh, absolutely.  And just the sheer "we are nothing in the cosmic scheme of things".  I get very tired of humanity triumphing in stories because somehow, with our capacity to war AND love, we're the best of everything.  So "we are nothing, absolutely nothing" was great.

post #5547 of 5567

Read Shadow over Innsmouth at an impressionable age, and it really put the hook into me. That and Colour Out Of Space, which is the most truly horrifying stories I've ever read. 

 

I'd add "Alone with the Pharaohs", a story HPL ghost wrote for Harry Houdini, as a favorite. Really great atmosphere. 

 

Stephen King wrote a really nice short story that' sorta kinda in the HPL universe (or at least the same mindset) called Jerusalem's Lot (NOT the prelude to 'Salem's Lot). It's in his Night Shift collection. 


Edited by Cylon Baby - 9/19/16 at 5:22pm
post #5548 of 5567
King sings a lot of praises towards Lovecraft and the heavy influence HPL's work had on him early on in his autobiographical/instructional On Writing.
post #5549 of 5567

One of my favorite HPL universe stories is one Neil Gaiman wrote, a Study in Emerald. Basically, Gaiman imagined that the Ancient Ones came from the sea in 1200 or so and are ruling the world THEN he started telling a Sherlock Holmes story. It was magnificent.

 

Quote:
She was called Victoria, because she had beaten us in battle, seven hundred years before, and she was called Gloriana, because she was glorious, and she was called the Queen, because the human mouth was not shaped to say her true name. She was huge, huger than I had imagined possible, and she squatted in the shadows staring down at us, without moving.
post #5550 of 5567
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTyres View Post
 

One of my favorite HPL universe stories is one Neil Gaiman wrote, a Study in Emerald. Basically, Gaiman imagined that the Ancient Ones came from the sea in 1200 or so and are ruling the world THEN he started telling a Sherlock Holmes story. It was magnificent.

 

 

Weird.  Moore totally ran with the Gloriana thing in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier.  Essentially Gloriana is the one that setup the League, and she was hated by her ministers (she ousted Queen Mary) for being alien.  There's a shit ton of crossover into the Cthulhu mythos in these books.

 

I tried looking for more of the Lovecraft inspired authors mentioned in this thread in the library, but no luck.


So got Hyperion by Dan Simmons as never read it before.

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