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The Outsorcerer's Apprentice by Tom Holt takes fantasy, science fiction, and modern business models to a different level. Really fun to catch all the fairy tale references hidden away in the story. As for little red riding hood :)

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Since my last post, I have read:

All three Imperial Radch novels (very good)

The Decameron (very filthy)

A Specter is Haunting Texas (baffling)

Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker (also good)

Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War (good, but turned out to be much more about Chinese-Western relations and competing visions for the future of China than about the actual war, which was okay, but I kinda wanted more on the background and course of the rebellion)

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Recently finished: Company Town by Madeline Ashby. I loved it... up until the end, whereupon it started getting incredibly preachy with magical Free Will stuff and a heaping side of normative sexism. It almost completely lost me on the latter, because the whole "women need to personally rely on men" thing usually makes me too furious to keep reading.

 

I did like the protagonist a lot though. Also, it's now clear to me that cyberpunk is the most stereotypically Canadian SF genre ever.

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Iffy made me read Worm awhile ago (like a year ago, but i only finished it in like december). At first i was like uuuugggghhhhh meh, but then i read all of it because it turns out it's actually really good. like stupidly good, even if the author is the type of person to use two spaces after ending sentences (ugh).

 

now we're being super nerds and writing a fanfic.

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I'm currently chugging through Authority, book 2 of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I'd be surprised if there aren't any other fans around here—the series gives me major Avadon 2: The Corruption vibes.

 

Authority is much more of a slow burn than the first, Annihiliation, and while the first third of the book I was totally fine with that, it's starting to feel as if it should have been shorter around the 2/3 mark. Anyways, I recommend them.

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I read the first chapter of "Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes" about two weeks ago. Haven't picked it up since, although I hope I can settle down to continue at some point.

Foxy the Pirate and Balloon Boy are still my favorites. I don't know if I ever posted that here, but in person, I don't shut up about how much I like Foxy and BB.

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Since my last post here I've been reading

Worm: About a teenage girl who does wrong things for right reasons.

Pact: About a dysfunctional family, magic and everything that tries to kill you. (Never finished this though)

Twig: Group of Child/Biomechanical Construct doing things for their creator and trying to survive

Mother of Learning: A mage trying to stop the apocalypse

Dresden Files: A highly destructive wizard employed by police to solve supernatural mysteries.

Skulduggery Pleasant: A girl discovers magic, hilarity and gruesome death ensues.

 

On 6/10/2017 at 0:46 AM, sylae said:

Iffy made me read Worm awhile ago (like a year ago, but i only finished it in like december). At first i was like uuuugggghhhhh meh, but then i read all of it because it turns out it's actually really good. like stupidly good, even if the author is the type of person to use two spaces after ending sentences (ugh).

 

now we're being super nerds and writing a fanfic.

Link please?

Also, I heard now that Twig is almost finished Worm 2 is now on the horizon so to speak.

(I also have some recommendations about Worm fanfic I'll post here if anyone interested)

 

 

Edited by Ouroboros

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3 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Link please?

Not yet :p it'll probably be on spacebattles/calref/here?/elsewhere pretty soon though. we're trying to get the first big chunk down before releasing anything

 

3 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

(I also have some recommendations about Worm fanfic I'll post here if anyone interested)

The only Worm fanfic I need to read is THE TECHNO QUEEN. All other fanfic falls short of its terribleness brilliance.

Edited by sylae
*thunderclap*

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Just now, sylae said:

Not yet :p it'll probably be on spacebattles/calref/here?/elsewhere pretty soon though. we're trying to get the first big chunk down before releasing anything

 

The only Worm fanfic I need to read is THE TECHNO QUEEN. All other fanfic falls short of its terribleness brilliance.

*kathoom*

I'm also at SB and SV although by different PDN.

Now I know what you said but you might like this.

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Just finished Ton Holt's The Management Style of the Supreme Beings.  I thought it was funny and a great book.  However those with strong beliefs in religion, Santa Claus, and/or Star Wars maybe offended and even think it's blasphemous.  Do not let your boss see this book as you definitely don't want any of management ideas adopted where he thinks he's a supreme being and you are the minion that gets to do all his work and yours.

 

You may not catch all the religious, pop cultural, and historical references, but consider them an educational opportunity.

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So I finished Lilith's Brood a couple weeks ago, and I'm sure someone else here has done the same, so: I have a question.

 

 

The Oankali are pure evil, aren't they? I mean, is it just me? Culturally dead hyper-specialized purely instinctual reflexively mind-controlling parasite locust hedonists totally motivated by their reproductive drives? Is this or is this not a series about the hopeless colonial subjugation, absorption, and destruction-by-corruption of the human race by something unthinkable? Don't get me wrong, Butler is subtle about it. She never tells you outright, she only shows coyly, she throws up plenty of smokescreens, and all the POV characters are sympathizers or perpetators, but by the end of the book the Oankali become capable of dissolving a hundred years of moral conviction in a week of ambient pheremone drugging and anyone they touch instantly becomes their slave and the only reason they have for doing anything is because they are instinctually driven to have sex with everything that's alive and derive physical pleasure from doing so. Even the fig leaf of the human Mars colony becomes explicitly irrelevant - anyone who might want to go gets drugged into not wanting to and not caring that they got drugged and put into an ooloi's harem. The only Oankali moral principle is a sick, sexual, paternalistic continuation of life regardless of any other quality of that life. I could go on.

 


I haven't seen anyone else advance this as an interpretation? It seemed to definitely be what was going on by the end of the last book. Like, it's not that I think I'm real clever, it's that I don't know what the series is about if not this. It's called Lilith's Brood for a reason, isn't it? Like a very clear reason? Lilith, mother of demons? Is it just me? Cuz I have seen really no similar interpretations where I've been looking.

 

Edited by Sudanna

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Evil is a social construct. But yeah, you can't reason with them. Their whole ecosystem is a hateful parasite.

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I probably should get around to finishing The Lies Of Locke Lamorra.

 

On what I have gotten through these past few weeks, "De Norske Vikingesverd", by Jan Petersen, was lovely. Old Norwegian is far more beautiful and readable than I expected. Can't understand any kind of written Danish, though. It is a real shame.

 

I'll need to find a good book for christmas. Preferably with wizards and castles and old dragons and feasts. Any recommendations?

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I think somewhere around 5M words of my reading this year has been pony stories. It's not for everyone, but the Austraeoh series is quite enjoyable (though quirky and often deliberately purple-prosed, and it's an ASoIaF-sized beast).

 

Still on my list right now is the recently published Beren and Luthien book, as well as Neal Stephenson's The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. On the latter, I'm experimenting with listening to the audiobook while reading - with Stephenson's narrative style, I tend to lose the thread, and maybe this helps.

 

(I mentioned some time in mid-2015 I was reading Yudkowsky's rationality thing, which is coming along really slowly: I'm somewhere around 60% in now. It's not easy to follow and EY does like to go on and on about some stuff, but there are some pretty interesting concepts in there.)

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Berkeley Breathed's has in print, A New Hope: Episode XI and A Brand New Spanking Day reproduced from his Facebook page after 25 years Opus, Bill the Cat, Milo Bloom, Blinkey, Oliver Wendell Jones, Steve Dallas and Cutter John are back to mock the Internet, Trump, and Star Wars. Because if you can't mock them, than who can you mock.

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No One Cares About Crazy People by Ron Powers. It's of professional interest. It's sad and moving and actually quite good at walking the fine line of what we know (little), what we don't know (quite a lot), and what we don't know for certain but have compelling hypotheses about (substantial).

 

—Alorael, who has When Breath Becomes Air sitting on his nightstand and taunting him. It's been there for almost a year. He's not sure 2018 is looking too good for it either.

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Win Bigly by Scott Adams explained how to use persuasion techniques to get what you want. Adams used them to persuade the reader that Donald Trump isn't evil and that his statements were just starting points to negotiate for what he really wanted. However after Adams lost speaking engagements and death threats for supporting Trump he neglected to include a significant number of examples of Trump's actions especially inciting his followers to violence against his opponents.

 

I'll stick to his free Dilbert comic strips in future and stop buying his books.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I'm late to the party, but I was so sick of hearing about it in 2013 that I didn't want to read it then. Ordered a used copy online recently and found Donna Tartt's signature in it.

 

I started last Friday and I'm already 300 pages in, which is really fast for me. It's a real page-turner, which I don't understand because the events are not particularly exciting. Donna Tartt has a way of making mundane stuff interesting.

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I just started reading the Elfstones of Shannara.  I remember when it was first released and I was interested in reading it then, but never got around to it.  35 years later I found a copy in a used book stand and so here I am

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I just picked up The Bridge to D'arnath series by Carol Berg again - that was the first fantasy series I read other than Harry Potter and LOTR.  Would recommend to anyone - she is great at eliciting emotions from the reader and I can always clearly imagine the scenes described in her books.

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I've been reading Pratchett, but that's a given. I'm working on writing a Discworld reader, in fact. Other than that I've been re-reading Where the Wasteland Ends and To Serve Them All My Days. Wasteland is a very dense work by Theodore Roszak about our technocratic society and the reaction to it. It's an older work, but still very relevant. You have to take it slow, though, and it helps to have a dictionary handy. Serve is a very enjoyable novel by R.F. Delderfield, about a young WWI vet who goes to teach in an English public (boarding) school. Very readable and a lovely escape from 2018. 

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I just bought The Age of Em (Robin Hanson) while waiting for a train, because I heard good things about it over the years, though I haven't finished reading the introduction yet.

 

(One of these days I really need to take some time off to finish all the books I started reading. 😛)

I also want to make another go at learning French (Duolingo didn't work out so great last time), so I picked a book I'm already familiar with that is available in French on Audible (Harry Potter book 1) as well as an EPUB, and I'm going to try reading along while listening.

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How about those books, folks. I read a lotta good books in the past year (and a few less-than-good ones).

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, by China Mieville: a genuinely exciting and fascinating work of history.

Poland, by James Michener: if you've read one Michener novel, you've sort of read them all, I guess. But this one is probably my favorite.

A History of Histories, by J W Burrow: a historian gives a guided tour of his favorite chronicles and historical works. Less interesting than it sounded beforehand.

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943, by Antony Beevor: solid and thorough, but weirdly unexciting and unmoving, unless you're into extended descriptions of soldiers freezing and starving to death on the Volga.

God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan, by Jonathan Spence: a very good book on a fascinating and important (and horrible and tragic, of course) subject which unfortunately has a very sparse English-language literature.

The five Plantagenet historical novels by Sharon Kay Penman: very good novels which manage to bring the historical figures they feature to life vividly, but which are also absolutely scrupulous about historicity and accuracy and verisimilitude beyond the obvious necessarily-fictionalized parts.

To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949, by Ian Kershaw: another solid history book, which is thick and detailed but necessarily can't cover everything of import in any great depth. I feel like I understand the period better in the bigger sweeps of it, though, so it was very worth it.

Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error, by Emmanuel le Roy Ladurie: methodologically exciting, but actually reading a chapter about the gestures and expressions used by late medieval peasants, heretics or not, is not really actually very fun.

For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne had Won at Saratoga, by Robert Sobel: probably the best "straight" alt-history novel I have ever read; certainly the most focused and thorough. Instantly a favorite book.

The Cyberiad; Mortal Engines; The Star Diaries; and The Futurological Congress, by Stanisław Lem: very, very good, and very difficult to say anything concrete about.

All nine Sherlock Holmes books, by Arthur Conan Doyle: the good ones are really, really good, but reading them in chronological order is sort of a tragic experience of watching a writer find his footing, mature, and reach brilliance, then slowly trail away into ineptitude.

Hav, by Jan Morris: another book which is brilliant but almost impossible, for me anyway, to say anything useful about.

 

Things I am have and am going to read next: currently reading Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino; then, The Sunne in Splendour, by Sharon Kay Penman (and I intend to read her new novel which is meant to be out this year), Texas by James Michener, and then I will probably read at least some of the collected works of H P Lovecraft.

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Starting last October, I've been reading Worm, which is a fascinating (and really, really dark) story about people with superpowers. I originally found out about the story in 2017 via a thing that happened on reddit, but never got around to reading.

 

Some of the books that are already on my list for after I'm finished (aside from all the web serials I've been neglecting during Worm) are The Three-Body Problem (Liu Cixin) and Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman).

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I read Footfall by Niven and Pournelle over the last couple of weeks.  I did not understand the amount of negative criticism out there for it.  That said, it is certainly an ego trip by the two authors which was tiring even though I enjoyed the authors who were characters in the book and the time era the book was set in.  

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I generally hate reading books, yet I love RPG games so...  😅  In the past I have read the Dark Elf Trilogy with Drizzt Do'Urden surprisingly actually being able to finish all three.  I have bought a LOT of D&D and Dragon Lance novels, but have hardly read any of them, except for the aforementioned trilogy.  Never played a D&D board game in my life, even though I own the starter set...  ^_^ and even a DM guide book...

 

However I had bought a Dragon Lance audio CD called Dragons of the Dwarven Depths and have listened to it quite a lot until my car CD player crapped out.  😑 Then I just began reading Kindred Spirits The Meetings Sextet Volume One of Dragon Lance.

 

(And I still have no idea the difference between Dragon Lance and Dungeons and Dragons...  🤔)

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The difference between Dragon Lance and Dungeons and Dragons is the worlds that the stories are set in. :)

 

Both use the same gaming system, but D&D is mostly set in the Greyhawk world that Gary Gygax used to run when the game started whereas Dragon Lance was set in Krynn. The first few Dragon Lance novels were written with the characters leveling up under the D&D system with mages getting spells from the game.

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We are getting off topic but... so D&D is older than DL?  I had always thought it was the opposite or maybe only because I was looking at the covers of the books, I do not know... D&D just seemed fresher to me.  Maybe because I have seen so MUCH of D&D and so little of DL, maybe that was why.  And when you say "worlds" you mean Greyhawk is the name of one planet and Krynn the other?  Or worlds as in that is the continent or as far as they can travel in the realms?  Alternate dimensions or simply different franchises?  Do characters from one franchise ever meet the other or travel in their lands, yatta yatta yatta?

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D&D started back in the 1970s (history) and Dragon Lance was written back in the 1990s.

 

By worlds, I mean they have maps associated with them showing the lands and they have histories of events and characters used in the books. They are from the same company and share pantheons of gods and spells. The company publishes other book series with differences like Forgotten Realms which has a different pantheon and world.

 

There are some characters that crossover between franchises like the wizard Fizban.

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D&D encompasses a whole bunch of different, essentially unconnected settings.  Greyhawk was influential in the development of D&D but it is no way the setting of most D&D fiction.  The other settings are more likely to be branded than Greyhawk is (e.g., the Drizzt stuff is set in Forgotten Realms; then there's Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, Al-Qadim, etc. etc.).  But most stuff labelled D&D isn't set in any of those worlds in particular.

 

Randomizer -- what did Fizban cross over into?  I didn't think he did -- given his status as (spoiler) that would be pretty weird...

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Fizban makes a brief appearance in The Deathgate Cycle (see here) by the same authors. This is an entirely separate world from D&D and uses a completely different structure for magic than the other published series.

 

He really only appears in one novel as an inside joke where he quotes Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings. Considering how he is used, he could have easily been replaced by a new character, but they wanted to do it as a joke for loyal readers.

 

Edit - For legal reasons they aren't considered the same character. It's like in the Christmas episode of the TV series Psych commentary they mention the green skinned humanoid character stealing shopper's presents can't be called the Grinch. :)

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Dude.  While "Zifnab" is quite obviously an anagram and take-off of Fizban, calling that joke appearance a crossover for the actual Fizban is a real stretch.  And as you note, it's not another D&D franchise at all.

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20 hours ago, Randomizer said:

D&D started back in the 1970s (history) and Dragon Lance was written back in the 1990s.

Dragonlance actually dates to the mid-80s, originally. 

 

You can think of D&D as essentially being the laws of physics, and the various settings (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, etc.) as being different worlds on which those laws play out. To be sure, there are some variations within each world, so the analogy doesn't quite hold, but it's at least a decent first approximation.

 

D&D may seem fresher than DL if you're comparing 5th edition D&D to the original DL novels (Chronicles, Legends), since 5th edition D&D was published about 16-18 years after the early DL trilogies. EDIT: Or if you're comparing it to the Meetings series, which dates to 1991, according to some quick Googling.

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I'm so confused!  More confused than I was before... Agh agh agh aghhhhh…  😭

 

On a side note, anyone watch the Unforgotten Realms on YouTube?  I prefer the original over the updated version myself.  😁

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To put it another way, D&D (along with other tabletop roleplaying games) is make believe with rules. Stuff like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms is fiction inspired by those rules (which were in turn inspired by other fiction).

 

On the topic of both roleplaying games and what I've been reading lately: Stars Without Number. Because reading new systems when I haven't actually gamed in years is a hobby in and of itself, I guess? Anyway, it's the first time I've read anything that's a part of the OSR. Liking it so far, and I haven't even gotten to the faction system (which by reputation is something I'll probably steal and modify at some point even if I never play SWN itself). I think Past Dintiradan would be horrified that I like something with this many random tables.

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There's not a very clean separation, though.  On the one hand, Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms and other settings have plenty of rules themselves, which are sometimes quite different from vanilla AD&D.  They aren't just fiction inspired by rules, they are also rules.  And on the flip side, vanilla AD&D has some core fiction content that is integral to it, even though it's not a complete setting in and of itself.  The way dragons work in (A)D&D is some pretty specific fiction content, right down to the 10 primary chromatic and metallic types, and that's fiction that is preserved in most settings, even dragon-centric Dragonlance.  At the same time, both the rules and fictional content of specific settings have clearly influenced each new edition of AD&D.

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Part of the reason this may be confusing is that there a bajillion books here. You can think of D&D as being a broad category that includes Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and a bunch of other things. Those are all subsets of D&D, in a way.

 

Dungeons and Dragons was originally published as a set of rule books back in the mid-'70s, and it was intended to describe a set of rules that could work for all sorts of fantasy roleplaying adventures that DMs could dream up. But from the beginning, DMs realized that creating their own storylines, full of NPCs and treasure and monsters and so on, was a lot of work, so by the late '70s, D&D writers supplied adventure modules like Keep on the Borderlands, which provided some storylines and concepts for DMs to work with.

 

By the '80s, D&D writers supplied much more elaborate fictional worlds — Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, etc. These were meant to be playable (i.e., there are extensions/modifications of the D&D rules that you use if you're playing a Dragonlance campaign), but they also became elaborate franchises. Dragonlance began with the Chronicles trilogy of books, but there came to be dozens of others: Legends, Tales, Heroes, Preludes, Elven Nations, Meetings, and on and on. Same with Forgotten Realms, and the others. And they're not just novels, either. There are computer games, a ton of which are set in the Forgotten Realms setting (such as Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights), and other things, too. (Really bad movies, for example.)

 

The core D&D rulebooks got revisions from time to time as well — 2nd edition in the late '80s, 3rd edition in 2000, and so on. 

 

So, for example, Baldur's Gate from 1999 is a computer game adaptation of the 2nd edition D&D rules that takes place in the Forgotten Realms setting. Kindred Spirits from 1991 is a 2nd edition-era novel (from the Meetings series) that takes place in the Dragonlance setting. Dragonlance Adventures from 1987 is a 1st edition-era rule book providing information for DMs who want to set their campaigns in the Dragonlance universe. And so on.

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Posted (edited)

Why are people using the word "fiction" for?  Obviously dragons, elves, fairies, magic, etc. are made up.  Right? 🤔  ...

Edited by WolfSpider

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"Fiction" is mostly used to mean "writing" here. Playing a roleplaying game with D&D as the rules set in the Dragonlance world is obviously fiction, but it isn't writing. And that holds up generally: we all know that video games aren't real, but Avernum and Geneforge are rarely described as works of fiction. Even movies usually aren't, exactly, beyond the "all characters and events depicted in this film are entirely fictitious" disclaimer. Fiction just is, without any modification, assumed to mean written literature.

 

—Alorael, who won't go into the possible layers. "The Tearing of the Bodice" in Exile/Avernum 3 is a work of fiction that is, itself, fictional, as it exists only within the fictional universe of Exile/Avernum. Which is a good thing, really, because it sounds abominable.

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I may be nitpicking, but for clarity: "fiction" is definitely not just being used to mean "writing" in many of the above posts.

 

Video games can certainly be fiction: they tell stories, they have artistic elements, they describe things that are fictional -- and the suggestion that movies aren't "usually" classified as fiction is even stranger to me.  Let's turn to Wikipedia:

 

"Fiction broadly refers to any narrative that is derived from the imagination—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact. It can also refer, more narrowly, to narratives written only in prose (the novel and short story), and is often used as a synonym for the novel."

 

The narrower sense is by far the less common one, IMO.

 

 

tl;dr -- How many layers did the bodice have before you tore it?

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Hey All! It has been a decade!

I'd like to share the books i've read but like i think a few would have been talked about here already

Pedagogy of The Oppressed by Paulo Freire. A bit hypocritical in the way it is written, but ultimatelly one of the more solid ~left~ books

 

A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabo. Much more easy to digest than when i first tried. It's absolutely beautiful, but still somewhat slow paced. If you haven't had the chance to go through it i'd 100% recommend.

 

The Stormlight Archives series by Brandon Sanderson(ongoing)

The first book drags for a bit before the plot gets any type of interesting and a lot of it is repetitive but it makes it up for the amazing worldbuilding. Worth readin till the end for the reveals.

The second book is one of my favourite fantasy books ever. It managed to balance out every miscalculation writing wise found in the first, it considerably thickens and expands the plot while giving the world a more solid feel.

The third book, is a bit heavier to digest, i'd recommend taking breaks between reading to properly appreciate it. It had bit more twists than i'd have personally done or appreciated but it was still good.

Im super excited to read the rest.

 

Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson(ongoing)

The first trilogy was a bit edgy and heavy, once again exceptional worldbuilding. I fel the plot was conceptually really great but the execution not the best

The second trilogy is... Original. Somewhat retrofuturistic, i feel the majority of the characters are not as remarkable as the ones in the first trilogy, and the story line in generaly is very murder mystery-ish which i personally don't like but i feel the writing improved significantly so its all made more enjoyable.

Overall while I wouldnt strongly recommend it as a stand alone it is deff worth the read. If you'd like to be more aware and informed when it comes to other Books by Brandon as most of them are interconnected. Because there is the extra incentive. It tips the scale in its favour.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

While I did like the perspective insight and allusions, that was one of the most disappointing books i have ever read. But i suppose it is largelly because i expected much better from Philip Pullman. He had set a standard for himself.

Oh, I also re-read O rapaz De Bronze by Sophia de Melo Breyner. She trully is second to maybe only Hans Christian Andersen when it comes to short stories in my opinion.  but i doubt the book is available in english so my recommendation isnt worth much.

 

The books i want to read from now, are:

 

Elantris

Women's Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle(if anyone could link me to a free online library that has it i'd be thankful)

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

And finally either Sula, or Beloved by Toni Morrison. Can anyone here recommend one over the other? From what i've seen of her writing i don't think i'd be able to digest both without a relatively long interval.

 

Also I finally published my first Chaobook y'all. If anyone want a copy let me know!

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