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Mord

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14 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

Likewise. The picture one forms of the Kaiser is much more complex than the stereotype, both positive and negative. 

I found particularly interesting the story of his parents. It was a real tragedy for Germany and the world that his father died so young. The portraits of the various German ministers were also interesting.

Michael

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Anyone ever read A World Undone, by Meyer?  Great single volume work on WW1, reads like a novel it was so engaging.  Kaiser in that comes across as a man out of his depth and somewhat emotionally stunted by his upbringing & physical disability.  Too bad he didn't have the strength/courage to end the pointless slaughter; would've been a brave and selfless stand but could've saved a lot of lives, tragedy, treasure.  Unfortunately lunatic Ludendorff able to run roughshod over the country's direction.

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9 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

I found particularly interesting the story of his parents. It was a real tragedy for Germany and the world that his father died so young. The portraits of the various German ministers were also interesting.

Michael

Yes, I found that interesting as well. In addition, how, for instance, Bismarck and others encouraged a separation from his parents, both emotionally and politically. 

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15 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

...Bismarck and others encouraged a separation from his parents, both emotionally and politically. 

They were seen as "not quite German", as alien transplants. They were monarchical liberals in the English style, not too surprisingly as Vicky was herself the daughter of Queen Victoria.

Michael

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On 2/17/2019 at 1:03 AM, John Kettler said:

Mord,

Have seen a whopping one episode of GoT and read none of the books, but my understanding is that lots of adult scenes were in the show that weren't in the books; that this was done to put eyes on the show. True or false?  

Probably. The books had a fair amount of sex but not as much as the show. After last season I think the show sucks balls and the two idiots writing it need to go off and work for the WB or something.

 

On 2/25/2019 at 10:53 AM, danfrodo said:

On audio did Caesar by Goldsworthy, very very good.  I've also done both of his historical fiction series (on kindle), Vindolanda (Romans in Britain) series and his Napoleonic series, both quite good. 

I have Anthony and Cleopatra  in my "holy crap I have a lot of books to read" pile but I want to get some of his other stuff first. I'd like to go chronologically as far as setting goes. BTW if you haven't listened to it, the History of Rome podcast is awesome. 

 

On 2/25/2019 at 10:53 AM, danfrodo said:

on the GOT thread, I read all the books. First 3 were an absolute joy.  Book 4 was a dreadful, mostly pointless slog.  book 5 was OK.  I'd suggest reading 1st three.  And HBO writers are some pretty sick dudes in the first couple seasons, with so much gratiuituos (sp?) violence and porn, but the story was just sooooooo good.

Yep. The first three are pure classics. I started the series about a year before  A Storm of Swords came out and was blown away by it all. It was the first time in years I didn't read some fantasy cliche crap where the everyday-guy and his mysterious mentor from the left hand side of the map venture forth with a myriad of odd companions to save the world by traveling to the right hand side of the map and vanquishing the "Dark Lord/One/God". But at this point I don't even care. He's gonna have to pull a miracle outta his ass to fix the story and finish the series before he or the world ends.

 

Mord.

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Mord, best summary of genre fantasy I've every seen 😄.  Occasionally one will be good.  Lies of Locke Lamora is great.  Martin will never finish GOT, I'll watch HBO just to see how it all shakes out. 

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5 hours ago, danfrodo said:

Mord, best summary of genre fantasy I've every seen 😄.  Occasionally one will be good.  Lies of Locke Lamora is great.  Martin will never finish GOT, I'll watch HBO just to see how it all shakes out. 

Yeah, I'll watch the final season because I am a masochist who wasn't subjected to enough pain in season 7. It's been twenty years so I am curious to see how it all ends.

Thanks! That was pretty concise, huh? I can think of three off hand that copied Tolkien fairly closely: The Belgariad series, Wizard's First Rule (didn't like it), and The Wheel of Time (about thirty pages in I chucked it). I never read Shannara (didn't like the background) or Thomas Covenant (couldn't stand Donaldson's prose) but I know they are also in that vein.

Yes, I've heard many good things about Lies of Locke Lamora. I may read it one day if I ever turn to some newer fantasy.

Mord.

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That's funny Mord, I got about the same distance into Wheel of Time & chucked also.  If I were 12 I could've bought into it probably.  Locke Lamora is worth your while.  Oddly, there's no scene where the heroes are stranded on a tiny little island in a circular lake.  that GOT moment really had me wondering how much alcohol was in the writers' room that day.

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23 hours ago, danfrodo said:

If I were 12 I could've bought into it probably.

Yep! I'd just forced my way through Wizard's First Rule and opened Wheel of Time and was like, WTF? I just read that! I will say I enjoyed the Belgariad but I was lucky enough to have read it before anything else, so the cliches weren't as in-your-face and obnoxious for me. However, when I read its sequel, I got about thirty pages in and chucked that as well! Talk about bulls*** lazy writing! Ok, remember everything that took place over the hundreds and hundreds of pages in the previous epic to defeat the dark evil guy? Well, yeah, you defeated him, but you didn't REALLY defeat him, he's just a little defeated. Now you gotta do it all over again. BUT if you succeed THIS time, he'll really be defeated! I have never read another word Eddings has written.

I've always been a Howard fan anyway, so I can always fall back to his genius. I enjoy the low magic, grittier side of Sword & Sorcery and the Hyborian Age feels more like historical fiction with some black magic and weird creatures thrown in for flavor. I've noticed that the Grimdark (god, I hate that name) genre has gotten popular as of late. That's more my speed.

 

On 3/11/2019 at 11:31 AM, danfrodo said:

Locke Lamora is worth your while.

I think I may have that in one of my Amazon wishlists. If not I'll put it there.

 

On 3/11/2019 at 11:31 AM, danfrodo said:

that GOT moment really had me wondering how much alcohol was in the writers' room that day. 

Judging by the embarrassment that was Season 7, I'd say they skipped the alcohol and went straight to bath salts.

 

 

Mord.

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On 3/9/2019 at 7:20 PM, Mord said:

Yep. The first three are pure classics. I started the series about a year before  A Storm of Swords came out and was blown away by it all. It was the first time in years I didn't read some fantasy cliche crap where the everyday-guy and his mysterious mentor from the left hand side of the map venture forth with a myriad of odd companions to save the world by traveling to the right hand side of the map and vanquishing the "Dark Lord/One/God". But at this point I don't even care. He's gonna have to pull a miracle outta his ass to fix the story and finish the series before he or the world ends.

To be fair, the last few books turned ASoIaF into exactly that. This being said, I think Martin's a decent writer. After HBO cancelled Rome, I did enjoy the first couple of seasons of GoT. I think I stopped watching after season 4 -- they started to spread it thin.

Just finished The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov. I read those short stories as a kid, but I did not enjoy them nearly as much. If you like Sci-fi, I think it's a must-read. I admire Asimov's crusade against the two extremes of robots in fiction -- either murderbots or wizardbots. Every story ends with a twist!

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6 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

To be fair, the last few books turned ASoIaF into exactly that.

Well that's the twist I suppose. The series actually gets more fantastical as it progresses. It starts as low fantasy and heads toward high. Yeah, I think he's a great writer but I believe he allowed himself to get too sidetracked with all his other endeavors and the story telling seems to have suffered for it.  The books just couldn't maintain the excellence of the first three.

 

8 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

After HBO cancelled Rome, I did enjoy the first couple of seasons of GoT. I think I stopped watching after season 4 -- they started to spread it thin. 

It's why I believe TV shows need to remain short. The longer the seasons, and the more episodes per season, the worse the shows tend to get. The writers get so caught up in trying to create twists and surprises they inevitably end up going completely stupid. Rome was fantastic because it was so short. Same with Deadwood and The Wire. If you want an example of a series getting stupid at lightening speed, try watching two seasons of Gotham. LOL. God that was bad.

I've never read Asimov but always wanted to give him a try.

Mord.

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1 hour ago, Mord said:

Well that's the twist I suppose. The series actually gets more fantastical as it progresses. It starts as low fantasy and heads toward high. Yeah, I think he's a great writer but I believe he allowed himself to get too sidetracked with all his other endeavors and the story telling seems to have suffered for it.  The books just couldn't maintain the excellence of the first three.

When he wrote the first three, he was feeding on his passion for the War of the Roses. Then, once the series became a commercial success, he had to make sequels. The focus was shifted towards a traditional narrative, because he/his publisher thought it'd be better received than his War of the Roses fanfiction.

1 hour ago, Mord said:

It's why I believe TV shows need to remain short. The longer the seasons, and the more episodes per season, the worse the shows tend to get. The writers get so caught up in trying to create twists and surprises they inevitably end up going completely stupid. Rome was fantastic because it was so short. Same with Deadwood and The Wire. If you want an example of a series getting stupid at lightening speed, try watching two seasons of Gotham. LOL. God that was bad.

I did try to watch the Wire after seeing Sopranos. I found the first two episodes too dry, and stopped watching. It is one of those shows that I want to try again, and re-evaluate. Gotham? No thanks. I'm noxious of this Superhero craze. I am a big fan of the Burton movies, though.

1 hour ago, Mord said:

I've never read Asimov but always wanted to give him a try.

I highly recommend it. The Foundation series will sunder your mind. It's the basis for all space opera. Asimov has an insane attention to detail and really puts the "science" in science fiction. Which is hardly surprising, considering his main gig was chemistry prof.

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3 hours ago, Mord said:

It's why I believe TV shows need to remain short. The longer the seasons, and the more episodes per season, the worse the shows tend to get. The writers get so caught up in trying to create twists and surprises they inevitably end up going completely stupid.

Yeah... That's definitely the norm unfortunately.  However, a few shows manage to be brilliant over many seasons.  While not "fantasy" the Brit detective series "Endeavor" which is a prequel series to an older show called "Morse" has maintained its brilliance thru 6 seasons (5 are available on Amazon Prime), the 6th I started to watch when I was in the UK a couple weeks ago.  The original "Inspector Morse" series which is still worth watching ran from 1987 to 2000 - 12 seasons(!)  

Edited by Erwin

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6 hours ago, Mord said:

I enjoy the low magic, grittier side of Sword & Sorcery and the Hyborian Age feels more like historical fiction with some black magic and weird creatures thrown in for flavor.

Ever try Fritz Leiber's series based on two characters named Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser? Not my favorite Leiber (that honor is shared IMO by Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness), but you might like it.

Michael

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4 hours ago, Mord said:

It's why I believe TV shows need to remain short. The longer the seasons, and the more episodes per season, the worse the shows tend to get. The writers get so caught up in trying to create twists and surprises they inevitably end up going completely stupid.

Couldn't  agree more. The Brits seem to mostly do well to keep their series short and to the point. And the Aussies have turned out some fine mini-series too. The problem is that the networks and production companies seize upon a show or a theme that has attracted viewers and then try to milk it for all the revenues they can squeeze out of it.

Michael

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Im rereading Deightons excellent novel ' Winter ' about 2 German brothers and their lives through children pre WW1 - WW1 - then one goes to America, the other ends up in the NSDAP...

I also found an old copy of a good novel I read once ages ago called Hell at the Breech.  Very good novel about the south post civil war and some kids who get involved in a little crime thing.

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One of the very best novels set during WW II that I have ever read is called Away All Boats, written by Kenneth Dodson. I first read it about 60 years ago and was struck then by how good it was. A few years ago I came across another copy and read it again and was even more impressed. Also, I was struck by how much of it was exactly as I recalled. Briefly, it is the story of an Assault Transport in the pacific told through the eyes of some of its crew. An incredibly brilliant piece of writing.

Michael

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On ‎2‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 2:49 PM, Bud Backer said:

I read Goldsworthy’s Caesar. That was very readable.

Good book. I spent all night reading it when I should have been sleeping. I was zombified at work the next day, but it was worth it.
My favorite part of Adrian Goldsworthy's writing is his ability to place ancient concepts in modern vernacular. So you spend more time reading and understanding than having to infer concepts through context. As you say, very readable.

Right now I've got 'The Complete Works of Thomas Hobbes' on my kindle reader, and the NASA publication: SP-446 Pioneer I found at my local book dumpster.
I know. I'm boring. 🤪

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 11:18 PM, Mord said:

Yeah, I'll watch the final season because I am a masochist who wasn't subjected to enough pain in season 7.

That's a fair assessment. I'm going to watch because I've placed a wager with myself about how the show will end, and I want to see if the writing has become trite and boring enough to be that predictable.

 

On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 3:39 PM, DerKommissar said:

The Foundation series will sunder your mind.

Agreed. It's one of those book series everyone who has even a passing interest in sci-fi should read.

 

On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 1:41 PM, Mord said:

Rome was fantastic because it was so short.

As much as I desperately wanted to see more of Rome, it didn't feel right to have it continue. Definitely one for the all-time top ten list.

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On 3/13/2019 at 11:38 AM, Michael Emrys said:

One of the very best novels set during WW II that I have ever read is called Away All Boats, written by Kenneth Dodson. I first read it about 60 years ago and was struck then by how good it was. A few years ago I came across another copy and read it again and was even more impressed. Also, I was struck by how much of it was exactly as I recalled. Briefly, it is the story of an Assault Transport in the pacific told through the eyes of some of its crew. An incredibly brilliant piece of writing.

Michael

Thank you.

My best Vietnam books are novels writtwn by vers that are really disguised autobiographies

Matterhorn is my favorite.

Closer Quarters by Heinemann was good

13the Valley by Delvecchio I loved

Fields of Fire by James Webb was great 

Best DBP book I ever read was widrows The Last Valley.

The Good German was a great book IMO.

For time travelling time and again and time and time were my favs also kings 11/22/63

I could go on endlessly

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On 3/13/2019 at 4:38 PM, Michael Emrys said:

One of the very best novels set during WW II that I have ever read is called Away All Boats, written by Kenneth Dodson. I first read it about 60 years ago and was struck then by how good it was. A few years ago I came across another copy and read it again and was even more impressed. Also, I was struck by how much of it was exactly as I recalled. Briefly, it is the story of an Assault Transport in the pacific told through the eyes of some of its crew. An incredibly brilliant piece of writing.

Michael

That sounds like a book right up my alley. What parts of the Pacific campaign does it cover?

I even found a used copy in English in a Swedish online second hand bookstore - so I might give it a go.

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4 hours ago, rocketman said:

What parts of the Pacific campaign does it cover?

It starts with Tarawa and Makin (seeming miraculously to be in both places at once), and goes through Okinawa and the Kamikaze threat.

Michael

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