What Book Did You Read Last Night??? (1 Viewer)

Lili Marlene

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I bought the loney there the other day, will be getting to it soon.
January 2019. Read it there over the past week.

Enjoyable! I felt the writing didn't quite match up to the story, like what was going on and what was being thought about were a little beyond the technical skills of the writer. Still good though, would recommend to people.



Finished reading Richard J. Evans' Third Reich Trilogy (non-fiction sorry, little detail on Nazi space programs :( ).
oh man, so he's gone and written that book this year:

The Hitler Conspiracies
 

Bernie Lomax

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January 2019. Read it there over the past week.

Enjoyable! I felt the writing didn't quite match up to the story, like what was going on and what was being thought about were a little beyond the technical skills of the writer. Still good though, would recommend to people.
I've read all this guy's books now. I think he's great.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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I havenโ€™t read his second novel as I didnโ€™t think The Loney was that great, there was a good atmosphere towards the start but it didnโ€™t stretch to a full novel for me. I did hear him read a short story afterwards at a ghost story convention and it was really good. I firmly believe that weird fiction/folk horror/ghost stories are best served by short stories or a small novella.
 

Bernie Lomax

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I havenโ€™t read his second novel as I didnโ€™t think The Loney was that great, there was a good atmosphere towards the start but it didnโ€™t stretch to a full novel for me. I did hear him read a short story afterwards at a ghost story convention and it was really good. I firmly believe that weird fiction/folk horror/ghost stories are best served by short stories or a small novella.
His latest one is really short (and really good).
 

Lili Marlene

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I've pretty much decided that while I like that weird/folk/horror intersection, it's mostly for the folk angle rather than horror or anything but the mildest of weirdness. I'm such a coward.
 

Cormcolash

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Finished a Poul Anderson anthology today. Three books, 'Brain Wave', 'The Boat Of A Million Years', and 'The Guardians Of Time'.

Brain Wave is a good story about the world getting progressively smarter overnight, like everyone starts doubling their IQs and shit. Consequently, nobody wants to do any shit jobs, and everything starts going to shit, haha. Nobody wants to farm when they could be developing machines to do all the work, which they eventually do get round to. Also the animals also get smarter which makes some of them very dangerous, but of course they still ain't no people. Some people can't handle the new brain power, the new new, and they go mental with all the new thoughts and emotions it brings, etc. So the book has this big psychological element to it as well. Anyway, unlike Flowers For Algernon, they don't all lose the smartness, everybody stays smart and they start exploring the galaxy and building an uber-mensch civilisation, that's about it. Cool idea for a story though.

The Boat Of A Million Years is great (and also the main volume in this anthology, about twice as long as the other two). it could be like the inspiration for Highlander, as it's basically about these immortals who are born in antiquity and then have to survive through millennia. And just like Highlander, they don't age once they hit their 20s or 30s, they are pretty much immune to disease and they heal very rapidly, but they can still die by ordinary means if their bodies take enough major damage at once. So trap them under a rockfall, and yeah they're a goner.
Anyway the idea of the story is that these immortals are extremely rare births in normal human society, and they spend their lives at first trying to survive the fact that oh it turns out they aren't getting old when all their children are already dying from old age so they must be sorcerors/demons/witches etc, then if they survive that shit which basically means reinventing themselves as someone else somewhere else, they spend the rest of their days searching for others like them because they quickly get fed up with people they get close to dying.
So basically this has all the same kind of shit Highlander has in it, shunned by normal people once it becomes clear how they are different, they can have families but then they'll have to go through the pain of them all dying some day, and searching for others like them to connect with.
The story starts in Phoenician history, then takes in some Roman times, Viking times, ancient Chinese times, Arabic times, Japanese feudalism, etc etc. right up to present day (which would have been the 50s) and then on into the future.
Each chapter follows a different character, they generally all get some kind of origin story and then are developed throughout history. What's really great is that Poul Anderson must have really been interested in history and known his shit, or at least researched his shit properly, because at no point does it feel like he's done any of it a bad injustice. Sure some of his stuff might be a bit hokey to fit the stories, but it really looks like he had a helluva good grasp of the history of human societies going back to antiquity, which helps him develop the characters as time passes.
It's really well done, great read. Important note, whilst I have said there are many similarities to Highlander in terms of idea, there is no similarity in terms of execution; this isn't pulpy hokum, it's proper sci-fi stuff. Great book, easily the best of the three here.

The Guardians of Time is Timecop, as TBOAMY is Highlander. The Guardians of Time is about Time Cops, an organisation charged with defending the world and history against renegade time travellers who may be out to try and alter history.
Whilst of course this is full of paradox-contradiction traps everywhere, Anderson does essentially acknowledge this, before basically brushing it over with a 'we do what we have to do' kind of thing. The Time Cop people take their orders from the extreme far future where a new kind of human has evolved etc etc.
Anyway I'm sure all that sounds ridiculous, but basically this is just another vehicle for Anderson to write stories based on history. Actually this is a collection of short stories featuring the same character that were published over time in a serial magazine. This time he dabbles in some Punic Wars stuff, some medieval England stuff, some Persian Cyrus The Great stuff (probably the best story of the bunch), some Mongol shit (and I think he does a lot of justice to them), and there's a really cool story actually about basically the end of the ice age and the creation of the Mediterranean sea by the influx of the Atlantic Ocean (look up Zanclean Flood for info) where he tries to describe the 10000ft high torrent/waterfall pouring in through the pillars of Hercules. Great imagery in that one.
So anyway I think Anderson was having a bit of a laugh with these stories whilst maybe trying to educate people about history a bit, and I think that's kind of why he wrote them. He clearly was really interested in history (it's not just Eurasian either, he goes into North and South American cultures) and was basically using time travel as a basis to write about periods he found fascinating. The Punic Wars thing I mentioned above was a funny one, basically Rome lost to Carthage, Rome got burnt by Hannibal, and the result 2000 years later is a Celtic North America where everyone speaks Gaelic and their science is shit, haha. Good amusing Irish imagery in that one, some funny names and shit.

So, cool anthology anchored on one really well-done story that shows probably some of Anderson's best writing in it. Good golden age of sci-fi stuff.
 

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