The book discussion thread

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Just a slight detour, i thought this PCG article will be more fitting here then in the general discussions topic.



I haven't read ALL the books, but it comes pretty close. I might have missed maybe 2 or 3 because i could source them or they didn't excite me and tbh they were story detours that added nothing to the main story. i am reading the siege of terra series and almost finished part 2 of the end and the death so will be writing my relevant comments here.

Yes it has been a really extensive series and not all of it is entirely relevant, you can miss out big chunks and still piece together the main stories as some link stories, characters and events together throughout the entire series. I feel there might be maybe a few more books after the siege of terra, like the retribution and the traitors being chased into the warp and/or the fracturing of the traitor legions into roaming warbands. We still haven't completely seen the outcome of the traitor homeworlds, although there wouldn't be any surprises there (they are exterminated and blown to pieces). Plus we have the story with Roboute Guilliman and Rogal Dorn with the codex astartes or Dorn with the iron cage incident. Who knows? maybe part 3 goes through that part of the history somewhere.

 
So thats the end and the death Volume 2 of the siege of terra finished. VOL 2 continues the final battle pulling all the surviving characters and stories together during the end times as humanity's demise approaches. We do have some key pivotal story elements such as sanguninus's final confrontation with Horus (if you know your WH40k lore you know the outcome) but also a few plot twists and setting the final battle with Horus himself. its a good read even if the story doesn't really go anywhere.


The other book i've been reading is more a graphic novel series, The wrong earth. The premise is simple enough; what happens when two super heroes swap worlds? Think if adam west's batman swapped with Tim burton's batman. Cue hijinks as the Dragonflymen bring their own brand of justice into world's polar opposites to what is good and what justice means. For earth: omega the city and political system is corrupt and death is a means to an end. meanwhile earth:alpha the city is a fairy tale as the villain's are buffoons and its all good fun.

its an interesting read as each dragonflyman tries to adapt and for Dragonflyman in Earth : omega, its a time to reflect on his past, his methods and to atone for his mistakes (spoilers: he is not a nice person). meanwhile Dragonfly man in Earth:Alpha tries to bring some much needed compassion and try to rebuild his reputation with local law enforcement who want him dead.

Volume 2 carries on a year later with both heroes having adapted to the new world, dispensing justice and making an impact on their respective worlds. At the same time, they try to investigate the mystery behind the mirror portals. What are the mirror portals? Who built them and what are their purpose? An even bigger arc is when both dragonflyman finally meet each other and discuss each other's methods and actions over the past year.

Volume 3 is more a continuation of the story with a few spin off background stories from each earth and some of the story arc at the end of volume 2. When both super heroes and their companions disappear all hell breaks loose as super criminals rule the streets...

Overall a good read. Looking forward to Volume 4.
 
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And so... i've finished reading HH: Siege of terra book 8: the end and the death part 3. we conclude the book the end and the death as all the characters come together to aid the emperor in his final battle against horus. Rather then being one single battle, the book goes into the various other areas of the siege to engage the scope and also the scale and how pivotal the final battle between the emperor and Horus was. interestingly, the story was written in different styles depending on the character. Second person for horus, malcador was first person and the bits with the corswain of the dark angels uses more classic literature words and phrases as befitting on a knight based chapter.

Whilst the book does end satisfactory, it does leave a lot of unanswered questions and it was intentional as namely GW wanted the lore/story to remain mysterious (ie open ended and allow for space/scope for other content).

But yeah, the Horus Heresy series is done. it started back in 2006 and it ends in 2024. No more books in the series apparently. So what next? well maybe i'll go back to some non Warhammer content and catch up on some classic lit and see what happens.

Speaking of classic lit, the other thing i have been reading was the graphic novel the battle. published by 9th cinebook. based on the novel by Patrick Rambaud; illustrated by Ivan Gil, you might remember i mentioned the book berezina, well this was the other book. Essentially it takes place during the battle of Essling, napoleon having taken vienna prepares to cross the danube and do battle with Austria once more around Essling. If i recall correctly, its was an incredibly bloody affair and was the location of Napoleon's first ever defeat. Wasn't disastrous compared to his later battles, but its the turning point where his strategies were less imagaintive and would become more bloody. Plus having been beaten once it revitalizes France's enemies seeing that he could be beaten and opting to resist instead.

Again a pretty good book. I found it interesting and the artwork made the whole story engaging and exciting. I've found myself flicking through the 3 volumes reading through it and starting at the wonderful artwork.
 
just a quick short story to add to the list: This time its Harlan Ellison's i have no mouth and i must scream.

i can't really go in to the story details as its incredibly short. it appears to be a cautionary tale of man and machines. its not particularly indepth or compelling tbh. it just seems like a machine torturing the last 5 people on earth to vent its anger. i had high expectations and i was left disappointed.
 
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I recently finished reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The vivid descriptions of the roaring twenties, complex characters, and themes of wealth, love, and disillusionment left a lasting impression.
 
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2 more books finished.

First one, the phoenix project by gene kim. Its a story about Devops, IT and how to help your business. The premise is that Bill is the next in line in becoming head of IT at failing company. The story is about him learning to manage this IT teams and manage work so that the company becomes profitable again. Not exactly the most rivetting book, but it does try to teach some of the principles of running a successful IT department. Working in IT i was sympathetic to events in the book and i was hoping it would teach me more about being a better member of IT as well as help with improving it in real life. But meh.

The next book, The difference engine by william gibson and bruce sterling A steampunk story set in victorian london where the Radical industrialists and their new steam technology rule the british empire. Theres some story of someone trying to create the first super computer and theres some action of sorts. Now, thats like a wishy washy summary of the story. Honestly, i wasn't paying that much attention, i was reading the book but the overall story is just all over the place. Too much spent away from the story and nothing feels overly coherent or relevant. The last few pages of the book i was just baffled what the hell was i reading. It was just a whole load of newspaper articles, backstory etc. Nothing about the difference engine, its significance etc. It seems like characters are wheeled out, there is some luddite action, a shootout at the docks and some crime load is arrested or something then some random person is the over arching villian somewhere. Just like william gibsons other books, i found it a struggle to read, the only reason i read it was because the book inspired the chaos engine video game.

Incidentally the chaos engine has no links to the book. Presumably just steampunk victorian london. Would i recommend reading the book, nope. One to miss!

Going back to reading something more interesting. The next one is an award winning short story...
 
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teach some of the principles of running a successful IT department

Reminds me of the most readable biz book I read, The Goal by Eli Goldratt. It's a novel which focuses on a mentor advising a CEO, using the Theory of Constraints—which at its simplest is about identifying and minimizing successive bottlenecks as one way towards continuous improvement. Good book, readable and informative.

like william gibsons other books, i found it a struggle to read

Yeah, I don't think I finished Neuromancer, not in one sitting anyway—his style is very dense, very… um, frantic? But of course, a very important work—then again, so was Ulysses and I also found that very hard to digest :)
 
Yeah, I don't think I finished Neuromancer, not in one sitting anyway—his style is very dense, very… um, frantic? But of course, a very important work—then again, so was Ulysses and I also found that very hard to digest :)

Neuromancer was pretty complex, feel the author doesn't do a proper job clearing the complexity. it gets worst in the sequels like count zero and mona lisa overdrive where AI voodoo gods get created and various baddies are introduced. perhaps its me though.

But i digress, the next book was the short story Flowers for Algernon by Daniel keyes. The story revolves around Charlie Gordon, a janitor with an IQ of 67 being given life changing surgery that makes him a genius. The story is written like a diary as we read and visually see his development throughout the story. As Charlie intelligence increases he finds that he is just as lonely and sad as he was when he was mentally challenged. As his intelligence increases, so does his emotional IQ. Gone is his child like innocence and he soon discovers that "friends" were simply messing with him and he finds other peoples intelligence too low for him to communicate or have a conversation at his level - including the brain surgeons who performed the surgery. But Charlies new found genius is bittersweet as he slowly regresses back to previous levels and he has deal these events as well as to new found experiences.

its not the longest story but its written pretty well and we get to read how Charlie gordon tries to deal with the events especially when the situation is flipped, whereas before he was naive and kind in ignorance and then has to deal with loss /fustration in a period of a few weeks.

its not a long book, you can easily finish reading it in less then 2 or 3 hours but its pretty good. Apparently he rewrote the book into an actual novel. so it might be something i might try to find, but the story is pretty much the same.
 
I liked Neuromancer a lot and read it a couple times but the sequels werent as memorable. Difference Engine just went in one ear and out the other though, it wasnt good. A friend recommended Flowers for Algernon too me a while ago but I'd forgotten it, putting on my Audible wishlist, thanks.

I finished the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and mostly enjoyed it. The First Law seems to be that people dont really change, which is not a message I can get behind but it was interesting that the main characters were more complex and layered then you'll find in most fantasy.

Also finished the first three books of Glen Cooks The Black Company . Liked it mostly as well, very readable. Probably stood out more when it was written in the 1980's as people talk about it as being the original Grimdark series. Its fun trying to parse which parts are Croakers unreliable narration when you notice inconsistencies in what he's relating at various points. Started the 4th book and noped out, seems like he finished his story but didnt want to put the cash cow out to pasture. Found it ridiculous that the ancient Lady of evil legend would for some reason just become one of the gang after the final battle. Like a lot of fantasy the mystery is more interesting than when the author has to finally fill it in with their reality Might give it more of a chance one day but probably not.

Now started on some Iain Banks with Consider Phlebas and Excession, now onto Whit. Read all of his books scif and literary basically in a row when I was 19 or 20, and its great to see that for once my judgement of media as a kid wasnt always completely terrible.
 
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Just adding a few graphic novels finished reading.

The first is Osaka Mime by Andy Leavy (Author), Hugo Araujo (Artist) . Set in a world where fantasy creatures co-exist with humans. Set in osaka (japan) 2 detectives from the paranormal division are tasked with solving a brutal double murder. its quickly established that a violent mimic is the prime suspect and with the body count rising, the 2 detectives race to catch it. But how does one catch a suspect that keeps changing appearances and faces?

its a well drawn book and i think its pretty good read with some pretty good creativity. Worth a read i think.


The next book, is W0rldTr33 by James Tynion . Part Supernatural horror part cyber thriller , the story starts when a murder rampage is livestreamed on social media shocking America. To the public its another senseless serial killing/shooting that takes place in the US. But to Gabriel, it is an all too familiar horror and heralds something much much worse; something he and his friends tried to seal away has escaped from the undernet and it may already be too late to contain...

tbh i think its far too early days to decide whether its any good or not. The premise is pretty exciting and does set the stakes quite nicely as the undernet (think the dark, darkweb) contains a supernatural threat and those exposed to it either die or become violently deranged before dying. But yet it seems like we've barely scratched the surface of the story and vol 1 is just setting the scene and getting all the pieces together before it starts proper. i might keep reading it and see how Vol 2 pans out but atm its too early to decide whether to read on or give it a miss.
 
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2 more books finished.

First one, the phoenix project by gene kim. Its a story about Devops, IT and how to help your business. The premise is that Bill is the next in line in becoming head of IT at failing company. The story is about him learning to manage this IT teams and manage work so that the company becomes profitable again. Not exactly the most rivetting book, but it does try to teach some of the principles of running a successful IT department. Working in IT i was sympathetic to events in the book and i was hoping it would teach me more about being a better member of IT as well as help with improving it in real life. But meh.

The next book, The difference engine by william gibson and bruce sterling A steampunk story set in victorian london where the Radical industrialists and their new steam technology rule the british empire. Theres some story of someone trying to create the first super computer and theres some action of sorts. Now, thats like a wishy washy summary of the story. Honestly, i wasn't paying that much attention, i was reading the book but the overall story is just all over the place. Too much spent away from the story and nothing feels overly coherent or relevant. The last few pages of the book i was just baffled what the hell was i reading. It was just a whole load of newspaper articles, backstory etc. Nothing about the difference engine, its significance etc. It seems like characters are wheeled out, there is some luddite action, a shootout at the docks and some crime load is arrested or something then some random person is the over arching villian somewhere. Just like william gibsons other books, i found it a struggle to read, the only reason i read it was because the book inspired the chaos engine video game.

Incidentally the chaos engine has no links to the book. Presumably just steampunk victorian london. Would i recommend reading the book, nope. One to miss!

Going back to reading something more interesting. The next one is an award winning short story...
these two books I wanna to read
 
Another book finished, this time its dale Carnegie's self help book on how to stop worrying and live a happier life.

Dale Carnegie has been one of my fav motivational book authors and this book is packed with plenty of useful information and advice on how to stop worrying. its not one of those books that you read once and done, ideally you should pick it up every so often, read over several times to ensure you remember and maintain the practices. I'll certainly try and practice some of the steps in my life.

That said there are one or 2 bits of advice that i felt wasn't that relevent in these times or i don't care for. namely, to relax try sitting bolt up right in a chair isn't exactly the most comfortable option. the second, is practicing prayer/religon. Admittedly, the reasons are

1. To find a way to vocalize and put into words what worries you (a clear goal)
2. Praying is the first step towards action.
3. it helps to provide support.

Would i recommend it? its worth a read and honestly its ok if the book doesn't help you. Even dale says that if after a couple of chapters you don't feel inspired or helpful, stop reading the book and find that book that will inspire to help you.
 
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I'm new around here, and this being my first post in this thread, I'll answer the initial question on short stories with my own favorite, The Last Question by Isaac Asimov.

I don't read as much as I used to, but currently I'm reading The Last Wish from The Witcher series.
 
I finished reading Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility by Martha C Nussbaum.

TLTR: An excellent eye-opener about animal welfare/rights.


A highly recommended book that takes an interesting theoretical approach to the Capability Approach. The Capability Approach was used back in the 80s as an alternative approach to human welfare and Nussbaum in her book wants us to consider treating animals in the same fashion.

The book gives different perspectives on looking at animal welfare starting from roughly Aristotles Scala Naturae (we on top, then mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.) some religious and then to different utilitaristic approaches (but still within the Scala Nature setting) before she gets more into her theory.

One important thing about the book I loved is that she shows good examples of animals with different intelligence, facts surrounding them, and how they can be seen as beings capable of having a goal on their own. They are in other words: Not just a clump of meat. This is very important because she factors this in when talking about what type of animals we should regard like this and the ones we should not. So there is a tiny caveat in that Nussbaum (most likely) would not see a seastar as intelligent as an example. She also mentions that humans have the right to defend themselves, so if you had a rat infestation, you kind of have to kill them or at least try to get rid of them in the least harmful way. Then there is talk about experiments on animals and to what end. She also mentions indigenous people and how not everything is black and white there when it comes to tradition and how some have moved on from killing animals. Synthetic food is something she mentions as an alternative to animal meat and something I would also like to see more of in the food industry.

She goes to great lengths to show why we should give animals more rights that should also mirror the Capability Approach, and she talks a great deal about how difficult it is to change opinions around this, especially in the meat industry, because of the different political platforms fighting each other and that this often ends up with nothing being done. Just as the same way a child or a person with a mental handicap would need a representative to speak for their rights, she believes that animals should too. She brings up a good point that if you for example got your rights violated, you would need a lawyer to represent you because you most likely wouldn't know how to defend yourself in that setting.

To prevent me from writing about the whole book, I'll just wholeheartedly recommend it again. See if it changes the way you look at animals or animal welfare. It is also surprisingly well-written with only the last two chapters feeling a little rushed in the sense that she is trying her absolute best to conclude this banger of a theoretical approach.

After reading the book I must say I am also interested in hearing what Nussbaum would think about artificial general intelligence in light of the Capability Approach. Would Nussbaum consider AGI in the same way as those intelligent animals she mentions or perhaps she would go about it in a different approach?

 
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Another few books finished, this time its black library book: The infinite and the Divine by Robert Rath. The story stars our all favorite necrons Trazyn the infinite and Orikan the divine. Our 2 frenemies bicker, scheme and betray each other over several thousand years (before the imperium) to be the first to gain access to a special tomb/gate holding a priceless treasure.

The book is one of the more popular stories in the black library as it gives a fresh humorous story to the constantly grim dark future. its pretty surprising as most necrons are just murder robots that hate everything living, yet yearn to be alive once more. The book is both well written, funny and entertaining with plenty of twists and turns even if you're not familiar with WH40k or the necrons themselves. Trazyn himself is a witty, suave, kleptomaniac who is always seeking to add increasing more items to his collection (an entire planet that is a dedicated museum) surprisingly sympathetic and frequently honorable with those he deals with. yet at the same time he is a rogue who can't stop stealing/collecting anything of interest. He also has a mischievous side especially when its with his long time rival orikan. At times it plays out like 2 old geriatrics in robot shells bickering and just pulling a fast one with diasterious consequences.

Well worth a read like the ciaphas cain series.



there are of course 2 short stories in the series:

War in the museum - A sequel short story of sorts to the infinite and the divine. Trazyn returns with his latest acquisition - a tyranid hive mind - as he makes preparations to add to his collection and put on display, he notices that not all his fail safes are in place. Soon all hell breaks loose when one of the tyranids breaks free and runs loose in the museum. With no other forces to summon, Trazyn is forced to awaken the help of a human magos tech priest and 2 sisters of battle to kill the beast and restore order before he loses too much of his museum. of course, the cause of it is none other than his long time rival Orikan causing trouble to get at something trazyn has in his possession .

The bleeding stars - A short story based on events of the battle book The gathering Storm - part one the fall of cadia. Why was trazyn at Cadia? why what was his interest in helping the humans attempt to stop the forces fof chaos? Well the bleeding stars book tells us when he went to visit a fellow necron tomb and what he sees convinces him that he has to play the hero. And if he gets bored, well, he can always collect stuff...
 

Zloth

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Sanderson has the 5th book in the Stormlight Archive more-or-less done. It's... perhaps a tad long. Amazon says the print length is 1248 pages. My hardback copy of the last book in the Wheel of Time is a mere 908 pages. Amazon wants $20 for the Kindle edition!

I finished the Star Wars: Thrawn series. Good stuff. Not awesome, but certainly well worth the read. It's refreshing to see a return to "brains over brawn" in SF, especially in Star Wars. The first book was, IMHO, the weakest. Thrawn's story was good, but there was also a lot dedicated to the rise of a woman from a mine owning family up through the ranks of the Empire. That story was OK and gave insight into how the Empire worked, but Thrawn's story was better, so I was always eager to be done with her and get back to Thrawn. The parallel stories in the second book were better, and the third book was excellent all around.
 
(Jumps in first)


Even though it has bits with a sloth in it, the bit with the anteater was the best.
Woah, just reading the title slapped my face. I'm digging it:)
Are you new to the subject, or seasoned?
I went through a mandatory course once, read a few books, and lately been interested in learning more, so pretty new overall.
 
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pretty new overall

I found Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy a good catch-all intro to the Western side of things.

If you prefer philosophy packaged in novel format, then maybe one of Albert Camus' like The Stranger, or of Andre Gide like The Immoralist. Others worth consideration are Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, and Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground.

Non-fiction but still digestible are Plato's The Republic, Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe, and one from your homeboy Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World.

There WILL be a test ;)
 
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