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Old 21st September 2022, 01:01 PM   #1001
xjx388
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I just finished the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. I came across them at Trident Books in Boston while I was at a conference and the concept intrigued me; it seemed like nothing I had ever read before in Sci Fi.

And it was. I read the whole thing in 7 days.

I couldn’t put it down. My wife got mad at me. But I was drawn into the world VanderMeer was creating. The plot centers around an anomalous Area X that suddenly popped into existence on the southeastern coast of an unnamed (America) country. Area X is a place where nature has overtaken civilization. The novels detail the government’s exploration and attempts to figure out the nature of Area X.

It was, frankly, captivating. VanderMeer’s prose is quite obviously reflective of his love of nature. The descriptions of this weird new world were vibrant and menacing, even if a bit vague. This isn’t a book where everything is tied up in neat little gift packages and the whole thing is a bit…weird. It’s a bit of a head scratcher and it makes you think; at least it did me. I won’t say anymore about the series. I thought it was great, so check it out.
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Old 21st September 2022, 01:17 PM   #1002
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I just finished the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. I came across them at Trident Books in Boston while I was at a conference and the concept intrigued me; it seemed like nothing I had ever read before in Sci Fi.
Conversely, Blindsight is like a few other things I've read before. The author blends together a couple very old-school ideas, and a couple newer ones, in a (so far) near-perfect futurism synthesis. Most authors tend to go hard on one of these big concepts, and throw in maybe one other as background or world-building. Peter Watts builds a supercharged V-12 monster, and gets it firing on all cylinders.
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Old 21st September 2022, 03:24 PM   #1003
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Conversely, Blindsight is like a few other things I've read before. The author blends together a couple very old-school ideas, and a couple newer ones, in a (so far) near-perfect futurism synthesis. Most authors tend to go hard on one of these big concepts, and throw in maybe one other as background or world-building. Peter Watts builds a supercharged V-12 monster, and gets it firing on all cylinders.

I’ll check it out. Although I probably need a break for a week or so.
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Old 21st September 2022, 03:25 PM   #1004
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I get it. I needed a break after Southern Reach, too.
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Old 21st September 2022, 04:02 PM   #1005
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Just finished Pollan's How to Change Your Mind. Starting now on a re-read of the Hornblower series.
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Old 21st September 2022, 04:35 PM   #1006
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I just finished the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. I came across them at Trident Books in Boston while I was at a conference and the concept intrigued me; it seemed like nothing I had ever read before in Sci Fi.

And it was. I read the whole thing in 7 days.

I couldn’t put it down. My wife got mad at me. But I was drawn into the world VanderMeer was creating. The plot centers around an anomalous Area X that suddenly popped into existence on the southeastern coast of an unnamed (America) country. Area X is a place where nature has overtaken civilization. The novels detail the government’s exploration and attempts to figure out the nature of Area X.

It was, frankly, captivating. VanderMeer’s prose is quite obviously reflective of his love of nature. The descriptions of this weird new world were vibrant and menacing, even if a bit vague. This isn’t a book where everything is tied up in neat little gift packages and the whole thing is a bit…weird. It’s a bit of a head scratcher and it makes you think; at least it did me. I won’t say anymore about the series. I thought it was great, so check it out.
I really enjoyed that series as well. It's like a blend of science fiction, mystery and existential horror.
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Old 21st September 2022, 06:18 PM   #1007
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Starting now on a re-read of the Hornblower series.

I re-read it about a month ago. After I finished that series, I remembered Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho series and started to re-read those books. At about the third one, I concluded that there is a reason C. S. Forester remains popular.
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Old 21st September 2022, 07:06 PM   #1008
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Besides the book I'm reading, I'm listening to Gateway, by Frederick Pohl. I've found it rewarding to revisit books I read in my youth, as audio books.

This one I read as a teenager. The therapy chapters were a meaningless slog for me. Now they're some of the most fascinating parts of the story. The whole concept of before and after narratives, converging on a central, still hidden event, "brings me joy" as they say. Choosing to tell a space adventure story as a psychological study of the space adventurer seems like a bold decision, especially for the era in which it was written.

The 1970s idea of future tech is also fun. We can add Pohl to the list of venerable futurists who did not predict the cell phone. Though he does predict large flat-screen arrays, roll up keyboards and earbuds. He even mentions something we'd recognize as a wireless network connected PDA. But it's only a convenient throwaway prop to get through a minor scene. The implications are not explored. Overall, the book is cassette futurism at its finest.
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Old 25th September 2022, 08:50 AM   #1009
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I just finished Squeeze Me, Carl Hiaasen's first adult novel since Razor Girl in 2016. The first edition came out in August 2020, but I read the updated paperback version from May 2021.

Dedication:
In memory of my brother Rob
Here's a sample from Chapter 5 that won't spoil much:
Quote:
At first, she had disliked the code name chosen for her by the Secret Service. Then she'd watched a YouTube video about actual mockingbirds, which were crafty, graceful, and melodious.

Like me, she thought. Once upon a time.

The President's Secret Service code name was "Mastodon." He loved it.

"Perfect!" he'd boomed when he was told. "Fearless, smart, and tough."

And enormous, she'd said to herself. Don't forget ******* enormous.

On only his second day in the White House, the President had ordered his chief of staff to arrange a trip to the National Zoo for a close-up look at a real mastodon....
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Old 25th September 2022, 12:35 PM   #1010
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Albert Camus - The Stranger

To honor the genius Hilary Mantel I will try her french revolution book A Place of Greater Safety.
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Old Today, 12:40 PM   #1011
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Dawn Raffel's book on the Coney Island baby incubators:

The Strange Case of Dr Couney - How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies
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