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 Soothsayer's current read (updated often)

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soothsayer
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PostSubject: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:09 am

I am currently reading SAS Survival Handbook, the revised edition, by John "Lofty" Wiseman. I've flipped through various survival books before, and have even purchased a couple, but this one struck me as different. Why?

It's written by an SAS instructor, for one. I don't know ab out you, but who would you put your trust in, an avergae joe who camps a lot, or someone who trains the SAS? Thought so.

Second, it covers a wide area of terrian. Most survival books do, but his goes into a depth that I haven't seen in other books.

Third... color pictures of plantlife. Ooo. So what's the big deal about that? This is the only survival book I've seen with color pictures of plants; most of the time they're simply sketch or line illustrations. Can you tell the difference between an edible mushroom and a sure-fire poisoness one by a line drawing?

Written by the SAS for the common person, this book contains methods and tricks that are quick and easy to do, and covers everything from building a shelter, a fire, rafts, and bows, to tracking / identifying animals, a handy plant guide, and so on. Whether you are a camper, wanting to expand your knowledge, or one of those preppers, this is THE book you should get.

It retails for $19.99, and is published by Collins, an imnprint of Harper Collins Publishers.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Tue May 15, 2012 11:32 am

Updated often... hehehehe

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Wed May 16, 2012 3:14 am

I would like to say that the above was a rather long book, but I can't. I honestly forgot about this thread.

Oh well. At least I post regularly Very Happy All about the fiber!

Alrighty then. Current read is The Supervillain Book The evil side of comics and Hollywood. 438 page encyclopedia of villains taken from cartoons, comics, television and movies; the book doesn't give the normal character stats, but does include histories, memorable events, and so on. It's actually pretty good, and highly recommended for any fan of the genre.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Wed May 16, 2012 3:34 pm

Well, let's not forget you READ your work schedule, and regularly post about that. In fact, that thread is updated as often as a stable schedule comes out! And OH...the plot twists! Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Fri May 18, 2012 10:09 pm

No kidding!

Stepping away from the "encyclopedias" for a moment, I'll say what I recently finished.

Independence Day: Silent Zone. This is, as the title eludes, a novel based in the Independence Day Universe. The opening chapter occurs right after the massive motherships crash and the military sweeps through. In one mission, the team finds a hand written journal, in English, with the journal belonging to a Doctor Okun Brackish. The rest of the book is then a prequel to the movie... of sorts.

You see, or hopefully you remember, Dr Brackish was the lead scientist of Area 51, heading the experiments and research of the extraterrestrials and their technology. No? Okay, how about this: the character was played by Data (of STTHG fame). Ahh, now you remember, don't you?

So, this book tells the story of how Brackish was recruited, his early exploits, and advancements. This is his book.

Now, I liked the movie. All silliness aside (amazing how Windows can fuck up even advanced civilizations computing systems!), I thought it was fun, and brought life back into "epic" sci fi... epic referring to massive battles. BUT, I normally wouldn't buy a book, even one from the library or a thrift store, because it ties into a movie; those are usually poorly-written. However, I picked this one up because of the fact that it is Data's, err, Dr Brackish's story.

It doesn't add anything to the movie, nor does it take anything away. Is it a must read? No, but I will gladly borrow it to anyone who wants to read it. Oh, I should say that it does read rather quickly.

EDIT: Least I forget, the other "encyclopedias" I am currently reading are AVON Products & California Perfume Co. Collector's Encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Superstitions, and The Marvel Encyclopedia.

...

This is in addition to reading my schedules. study
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon May 28, 2012 3:17 pm

Recently finished a rather... interesting... book. Of sorts. If you would call it that.

How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written by Sterling Archer.

My advice? Watch the show Archer, on FX... or on Netflix. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix. Give it a try, and if you like it, read the book. If you don't like it, well then, something is clearly wrong with you, maybe the level of humor is too sophisticated or something.

Needless to say, the book is not based on the show. You can just as easily read or watch one without having to watch or read the other. But if you want to know the secrets to becoming a super agent like Sterling M. Archer, then grab the book; not that it'll help you, because there is no possible way anyone could become a super agent like he. It'd just be good to have.

Full of recipes (mixed drinks) and the best places to find the best prostitutes (and some of the worst), as well as tips on what to drive (elephants!) and why Germans make the best firearms (as well as why the Jews are the best at kicking ass). And other stuff.

...

But no cobras.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon May 28, 2012 7:13 pm

Archer! Good show!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon May 28, 2012 8:19 pm

Wow there must be something really wrong with me because I can't stand Archer. I don't even let the husband watch it while I am awake.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon May 28, 2012 8:21 pm

Bloody Mary, full of vodka,
Blessed art Thou amongst cocktails.
Pray for me now, and in the hour of my death—
Which I hope is soon—
Amen.
-Sterling Archer

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Wed May 30, 2012 2:06 am

Gunz

Mawp. Mawp.

...

Mawp.

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:21 pm

Before June 3rd I was re-reading The Moses Stone. It was a paperback I found in the basement, binding in perfect condition. Two chapters in, I ascertained that I've read this before, and I knew I was disappointed in it. Luckily for me, June 3rd was my birthday, which usually means birthday money (yes, at 40, birthday money is still the best).

Went to the nearest bookstore (only 30 miles away!) and bought two books. Six books? Well, no, technically it's be two books since it was only two books, but each book contained three previously released novels. Two? Six? Either way, I got my money's worth.

I purchased Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends. Finished Chronicles this past Tuesday. I'll have to buy the fourth book to Chronicles again as ex-Mrs VaderXanth the 1st still has mine (but no biggie!)... might have to buy the War of Souls trilogy again (must check my shelves). Oh, and I'll need to get this and this and...

...

That's the trouble with D&D setting novels, there's so many of them. All told, at least what I found on Wiki, is that there have been over 190 Dragonlance novels. 190! Wait, maybe it was 190 novels and stories published in magazines? I'll have to double check later. But still, that's a lot of material, almost impossible to keep track of everything.

That's why I stuck with one subject matter of Dragonlance: Raistlin. Okay, two subject matters... Raistlin and the writing team of Wies and Hickman.

If I were to give Dragonlance a star rating, it would be 5 out of 5; it is a rich and very detailed world, interesting in its reach and span. Chronicles alone has sold over 20 million copies worldwide... not bad for a fantasy setting!

However, on the same hand, just because of its immensity, I'd have to lower the star ranking to 4 out of 5. Normally, it may be a tad bit lower, perhaps a three, but the "bad" of this is also its blessing: you will find something that interests you within this world.

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:35 pm

Current reads? Reading two books at the moment. The first is Stranger in a Strange Land; I'm not holding my breath on this on, as it's really slow right now (only just recently started).

The second book I'm currently reading is Parasite Eve, a Japanese medical horror novel. Yes, the Playstation game was based on the book, as well as a successful Japanese movie. I should point out that the book is not a reflection of the game, as the books occurs before the game (or the game happens after the novel, case may be). Anyone besides me play the game? There were flashbacks throughout the game, of the lady being a child within a hospital room, as well as a background story about a car accident and organ transplants of the doctor's wife... these flashbacks are the "present" within the game.

Anyway, I'll give a review of the books upon completion.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:44 pm

Holy crap, this is a long time coming!

Parasite Eve. What can I say? It wasn't bad, but as far as medical thrillers go, it wasn't good, either. The book was written by a Japanese medical student (now doctor), so it has the terminology and the sense of authenticity, BUT only when he's writing from the medical perspective of things. Besides the character names, you can tell this is a Japanese book; there's a lot of personal honor / responsibility going around. This book would have made a great anime, don't get me wrong, but if you want an unexplained horror read, go to Lovecraft... if you want a medical thriller, go with Crichton.

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A brief:

A doctor who specializes in mitochondria harvests his dead wife's liver and kidney cells, so that he can still have her around (don't worry, this is a brief, and the book handles it better). Her organs themselves have been donated to recipients, who begin to experience... things. He begins to experience... things... whenever he works on his wife's cells. And her cells begin to exert control on the world around them...

Know what? That's a crap brief. Go to the wiki if you really want to learn about the book.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasite_Eve


Last edited by soothsayer on Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:01 pm

Stranger in a Strange Land

What the hell did I just read?

Part sci-fi, part social commentary, part religious commentary, part religious... there's a lot of stuff going on here. Martians, world governments, angels, humanity...

If you didn't see my facebook rant on this, it went something like "I should learn that the world's most famous anything does not necessarily mean it's the best". This book is supposedly the world's most famous science fiction novel; it certainly isn't the best, or anywhere near being close to it.

Sci-fi is rather finicky. Some people like it, others don't. Some like hard sci-fi, others soft; there's a lot of novels that fall into sci-fi, which also cross through many gender or genres. This is no exception. Maybe this book is for you, but it certainly wasn't for me. There were parts I did like, just over all I was left scratching my head trying to figure out what the author was smoking (or trying to do).

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:01 pm

James Clavell's [i]Shogun[/]

I've tried to read this before, a couple of times. There's this really slow part somewhere between page 250 and 300 that just... drags, that made me want to put the book away (with over 1,200 pages, one can see why).

This time around, I pushed through. I'm around page 500 right now, and I must admit the slow part was worth it; it may seem daunting, but it supports what's going on. AND, every time I've tried to read this, I yearn for Japan. Did some research into the book, and I found out that some universities require this book to be read for classes dealing in Japanese culture, and that many experts say that this one book has more information pertaining to Japanese history and culture than any other source... it's damn accurate. My god man, if you ever had any interest in the Japanese, this is the book for you!

No star rating yet, as I'm not yet done.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:54 pm

James Clavell's SHOGUN

Like many of us here, I was probably first introduced to this by the made-for-TV maxi-series (roughly 12 hours); for those who don't know the wonders of television, a mini-series was a movie that spanned two or three days, 2 hours each day... a maxi was two hours a day, over 5, 6 even seven days.

I don't remember much of the series, just bits and pieces here and there... mainly from the beginning. I do remember that it left an impression. Many many (many) years later, I've bought the book and put it away, only to forget that I've had it, went and bought another one, putting it away forgotten, buying another one; I believe I have five copies of this, a few copies of Whirlwind and Tai pan. Needless to say, I've finally gotten around to reading it.

As mentioned above, I've tried in the past, but always got hung up in the same area. I am rather glad I made another go at it!

This book is simply amazing. Maybe I say that because I already have an affinity for the Japanese; the art, the food, the culture, history, and yes, the women. More-so than Medieval Europe, Japan held the honor and respect and religious and mental philosophies as I... even before I learned of Japan and their ways, this was my life. Reading this book... I felt at home.

My gods, this novel has it all: romance, espionage, action, drama, humor, political intrigue, and more. And it's written in a way that keeps those genres away... that isn't the focus of the book, nothing, nothing you read on the back of the book can prepare you for what the book truly is about. It's more than its parts, let's just say that.

The book revolves around John Blackthorne, a Dutch pilot (navigator) living in Japan, under the rule of samurai lord Toranaga, who it seems is being set up for treason by the other lords. Not only is there conflict between the two lifestyles and cultures, but this novel also takes place during the time in which Spain and Portugal rules the world, with the Dutch being a favored enemy... the Catholic Portuguese are most welcome in Japan, where the Protestant Dutch are not...

Yes, I'm giving this book a full star rating. I'm retiring the four star set-up I had, and I'm going for a more accurate 10 star system.

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Yes, I'm entirely certain that I am expressing some prejudice towards the book, but in truth, I'm not giving a lot. The book is that good. Ever try to read an anthropology? Ever try to read a cultural book? Boring, neh? Look at Shogun from a cultural perspective; this is finely researched, highly accurate picture of feudal Japan. Want to learn about bushido? Want to learn about samurai? Of shinto, of what it means to be alive, of enjoying life from the Japanese view? Read this. Like Tom Clancy, but want something with a historical twist? Read this. Hell, do you like things Japanese, and simply want to read more? Read this.

At 1200+ pages, it isn't a short read, but it is quick. And, I'll even save you some money; I'll borrow you a copy. Just make sure you return it, as I'll probably go through the binding like nothing.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:31 am

Atlantis Beneath the Ice

NON FICTION

Atlantis Beneath the Ice was written by an actual correspondence of mine, Rand Flem-Ath (of British Columbia, Canada). Just wanted to put that out there... you know me, I know Rand, Rand's mentor was Charles Hapgood, and Hapgood corresponded with Einstein. We were this close -> <- to knowing Einstein! How freaking cool is that!

Anyway, back to the book. Hapgood is the inventor, if you will, of the Earth Crust Displacement theory. This theory proposes the idea that the earth's crust, which moves about on tectonic plates (as been proven), can, as a whole, move about the entirety. Think of it as a peeled orange, and then put the peel back on; the peels (plates) can move against each other, pushing up or down making mountains... but all of the peel, all at once, can slide across the orange itself. Keep in mind that the crust is the thinnest layer of the earth, and that it is floating on liquid rock. Hapgood gave his idea and research to Einstein, who then gave it his thumb's up, and tried to get Hapgood's theory accepted.

Flem-Ath, a librarian for I forget which university system, is also an expert / historian on agriculture. He's the one who noted that agriculture began at relatively the same time... all on mountaintops, and within a very specific beltway. With further research and investigating, he began to see a pattern in the agricultural time frame, extinctions, climactic events, myths, and so on, which led him to discover ECD and Hapgood's work.

To make a long story short, this is what the book Atlantis Beneath the Ice is about, that survivors of Atlantis, which was located in Antarctica, brought to the peoples of the world ways to survive; note that during an ECD, gigantic tidal waves would be generated... people would flee to the mountains to survive the flooding. Atlantis, at the time prior to the ECD, was situated within a more temperate zone.

I don't want to reveal too much of the book, but I will say the an ECD covers many odd occurrences within the realms of nature and science.

Although not Rand's best book, this book serves its purpose: to give a thorough explanation of ECD, and tie it in with Atlantis and the known history of the world.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:06 am

Pariah

Pariah is a zombie book written by comic book writer Bob Fingerman, and takes an approach similar to The Walking Dead. Similar, but not exact. You see, in Pariah, people are screwed.

The novel starts off describing a small band of survivors, starving and near death; fact is, the zombies have more flesh on their bones than the humans. They have been trapped inside an apartment for months, food supply long gone save a few cans of whatever, and are on the verge of eating each other; someone catches a mouse and eats it, only to puke it back up because his stomach can't take that much at once.

(this next part is not a spoiler, as you can read it off the back of the book)

However, one day they spot something. A woman, late teens / early twenties, walking through the zombie horde outside. Not just walking through, but the zombies are parting from her, avoiding her. The people within the apartment do everything they can to draw her attention, as she very well might mean their salvation...

(the rest is just my talking of the book)

This is a good read. I don't know if it's because comic book writers have to be descriptive in order to get the artist to draw what they want or what, but you get a great feel of the visuals. Character development is average, but each character has their own traits and personalities, and there will be those characters where you wonder just what the hell are they thinking.

This isn't a book on zombies, but a book on survival. Not the Walking Dead or any other zombie movie type of survival, oh no. This is base survival, realistic: you know you're trapped, you know there is nothing you can do save wait for the inevitable, you've given up hope of seeing the next sunrise. What happens when that reality is suddenly shattered? How will people react to seeing someone not only surviving, but living, of being able to move?

I read this book during my lunch breaks here at work. Just over 300 pages, it kept me engaged throughout; and, as is the case with all my books, they are readily available for anyone who wants to borrow them.

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:21 am

PORTLANDTOWN
a Tale of the Oregon Wyldes
-Rob DeBorde


Let's open this with one of those quotes by a fellow author, those little 'you must read this' so often found on the back cover or the first couple pages. This is by David Moody, author of Autumn.
Quote :
A unique and fascinating horror novel. Cowboys, the supernatural, steampunk, and zombies... Portlandtown has enough to keep even the most demanding genre fan satisfied.

THAT is why I boiught this. I have run out of things to read in my home, and too many books are still fresh in my mind to re-read, and so, as I went through Bookworld, I came across this. I thoroughly enjoyed Bonecrsher (I believe that that was what it was called), and looked to further those experiences.

Steampunk? Hit or miss, but even on the miss, it's still a fairly decent read. Zombies? A good book is hard to find. Supernatural? Ehh... hit or miss, depending on the author or the setting. Cowboys? Now here was an interesting proposal; I've often felt that too little has been done in this time period as far as horror or the supernatural goes. Oh sure, steampunk aplenty in the wild wild west, and that's cool and all, but what really stands out in one's mind as far as cowboys and monsters goes? (I say this with a clear conscious because I have never seen Brisco County). BUT, because I really liked Bonecrusher, I bought... plus the fact that it was going into a setting I've been looking forward to.

...

Dear god almighty, please return those missing hours to me.

...

The lead character if Joseph Wylde, a former criminal-turned-good guy private detective. He also happens to be blind, but he can see in a similar fashion as Daredevil (relying on all his other senses to form pictures)... and, he's a human lie detector. And owns / operates a book store.

His wife is Katie. She has the ability to turn invisible. She can literally disappear right next to you, and this power works on everyone except for Joseph (he can track the scent of lilacs on her) and zombies.

They have two children, twins Maddie and 'Kick'. Both children can kind of turn ionvisible like their mother, but need practice; Maddie also has an extra power of being able to see a little bit into the future, and Kick and see possibilities (together they can clearly determine what is the best course of action).

Let's see, then there's retired marshall James, Katie's father. He's the guy who finally arrested Joesph and killed Joseph's former partner / group leader The Hanged Man.

The Hanged Man is a returned-from-the dead gunslinger who is after James because James stole his (the Hanged Man's) magic revolver (never needs reloading), AND he's also after Joseph because Joseph's the one who told the marshall how to bring him down. Henry, a stupid teen, was the one who dug up the Hanged Man and, using a spell book he found with him, brought him back to life.

Andre, a giant of a man, is your typical muscle bound black guy who is also a trained shaman / hoodoo magic user, plus he has an ability to make people do as he asks. He's the one who wrote the book and had it buried so no one would use it. Nadia is his little female Indian side kick, who, like Katie, can turn invisible.

Got all that? Those are the only characters within the book worth mentioning because, as it turns out, this book may very well lead to a series of books, which is a frightening thought. Oh, I should probably mention some other things.

The steampunkery. They have this vein of coal which contains segments of firestone in it, and so far they've used it to power steamboats. There is an old Indian artifact, a stone totem pole carved from this particular vein, which... get this... makes it rain when it gets wet. Oh, you should read the part when they make it wet in a rainstorm! Oh, the surprise on all those people who attended that ceremony! *wipes tear from eye*

The zombies. Seems The Hanged Man can bring zombies into the world merely by standing in a graveyard. He is soooo evil that his funky aura causes the dead to want to join him.

Okay, that's it. Shall I give you a run down of the book? Why the hell not...

1. James one day remembered that he had forgotten something, something IMPORTANT, so he decided to start digging up graves to help him remember. Because he started this, his daughter Katie had Joseph go back home and bring the marshall to their place in Portlandtown.

2. When he left, Henry decided to dig up the Hanged Man, and with the help of a local gang, they did. The gang brought the body along with them in the hopes of selling it, while Henry kept the book. He began to read it. {no, it was not the Necronomican}

3. When in Portlandtown, James remembered he had the Hanged Man's gun! Andre, many many miles away, felt the return of the gun and the spell book. Boom boom boooooooooom. He, along with Nadia, set forth to track them down.

4. Henry brings the Hanged Man back to life, but the spell didn't work; instead of binding the Hanged Man to him, it just kind of half-binded him (Henry didn't know the Hanged Man's name, after all). They set forth to home so the Hanged Man could get his gun back from the marshall, but lo and beholdm he wasn't there! Turns out he went to Portlandtown... mount those horses and ride! Huzzah!

5. Henry and the Hanged Man get to Portlandtown just in time for a torrential rainstorm; seems someone left the do-not-get-wet rain storm making totem outside. Where it got wet. And caused it to rain. Hanged Man went to the university and brought forth all the dead bodies to attack the town. Luckily there was only about 20 or so corpses , most of which were put down by blind man Joseph and his senile father-in-law James.

6. Hanged Man, after a gun fight, Gunz falls into a river and gets washed away. Andre appears and announces how, after the Hanged Man was killed, he (Andre) cast a spell on people to forget about him, lest people go looking for the gun or spell book.

7. Henry finds the washed up remains of the Hanged Man, and begins a spell which mends broken bones and heals the body.

Ooooooh, scarey stuff. 375 pages of crap.

Maybe things will get better in future books, but I certainly am not one to find out. If the opening book of a series doesn't do anything, I'm not going to bother with future installments.

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:11 pm

Night Watch
by Sergei Lukyanenko


I came across this book (eww) the same way I did the movies Night Watch and Day Watch, by 'crunch's guiding hand (double eww).  Chances are, you probably watched Night Watch, and maybe you watched Day Watch.  Let me tell you right off the bat that these two films are entirely within the Night Watch book, and then some...  and yet, these two films have little to do with the novel.

If you watched the movie(s) before reading the book (not books, book, as in Night Watch) you'll find that... well, you'll find that the basic core elements are there, with a healthy dose of artistic liberty.  The novel is divided into three parts; the Night Watch movie fits in Part One, the Day Watch movie fits into parts 2 and 3.  Makes me wonder what is in the Day Watch novel... perhaps the Inquisition fellow?  Anyway...  by reading the novel after watching, you will be amazed just by how much more the book has to offer, and it will not detract from the film.

Even if you read the book before watching the movie, I doubt the film will disappoint.  The core elements are all there, and the movie offers things that the book doesn't.  It's almost as if you are bearing witness to two sides of the same story: there will be essential similarities, but the general details may waver a bit.  Unlike most movie adaptations, this movie doesn't suck.

I should stop, because this isn't about the movie, is it?

This book...  I read this, and I immediately began to see this world, to feel it.  The way the author writes, you can almost picture this world in a role playing setting.  You can actually see and feel the main character spiraling down, you can understand his reasoning for what he is doing, can feel what brought him to that point.  The way both forces interact, their manipulations.  Interestingly enough, if you were a fan of Babylon 5, you can almost sense the same level of involvement, how light will use lies and control to bring peace, whereas the dark uses truth and freedom...

Anton is a fully believable character living in a world that you will want to learn more about.

Christ, this is harder than I thought.  How to right a review without giving anything away, while at the same time trying to not say stuff that would compel you to read the book!

I give this a full ten out of ten.  If you like fantasy or even espionage, read this.  READ THIS!

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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:05 pm

(note to self...  stop forgetting to post review of Day Watch!)

Neuromancer

I have never taken so long to get through a book in my life; I couldn’t even tell you how many weeks this took.  It isn’t because it was a thick book, coming in at about 270 pages in pocket size format.  It wasn’t because the wording was confusing.  The book was just, not so much hard to follow, but rather there were plenty of gaps while something was going on, and you had to back track just to see if you missed something.  Even when there weren’t gaps, there was always something going on that made you scratch your head wondering just what the hell was going on.  And let’s not forget the plot stoppers, where expressed doubt was tossed in, only for the characters to completely ignore the doubt or occurrences that happened a few paragraphs earlier, to continue merrily along.

And here, I can boil the plot down to one sentence: former hacker gets a new chance at life by hiring himself to an unstable AI just so he can take drugs again.  I challenge anyone to say that this isn’t the plot; re-read the book if you can, and you’ll see that this is exactly how the book is.  Oh sure, there’s more elements tossed about, put those aren’t the plot, those are motivators or simply events that propel the character along.

The entire time I am reading this novel, my inner monologue keeps referencing the likes of Shadowrun, and how other books have done this better.  Here then is the crux of this review: this is the original telling, the original digital age / matrix / decking / cyberpunk, the one that started it all.  Hell, terms like cyberpunk, ICE and matrix owe their entire existence to this story, an entire genre owes its existence to this.  I had to keep reminding myself of that fact whenever I read about the characters Molly (street samurai), Case (decker), Peter (magician), Armitage (suit), and so on, or of the Sprawl versus a corporate control environment.  The only reason I plodded through this book was because this is the one that started it all.

Doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

Got all of your organs replaced, your inner systems detoxified, and a failsafe implanted so you cannot take or be affected by drugs?  Hey look, the very first people you meet in an orbiting colony, they have a drug that can get passed all that!

Have an impenetrable computer program you need to break into, but every single person that has tried before has died in their attempts?  Hey, why not have those dead people try again, but this time give them a never-before-seen program that can crack anything!

Need to unlock a door, but don’t have a spare key that people have been looking for for years?  Have someone hide the spare key in the back of a dresser drawer, only have them hide this years prior to ever having the need to hide it!

Want to stop a computer hacker from freeing an unstable AI into the world?  Then what you don’t want to do is kill him when he’s jacked in, or don’t have the opposing AI wipe his brain when he’s jacked in; in fact, only try to kill him when he’s fully awake and aware, with people who can be easily killed by the unstable AI as it takes control of policing gun drones, carts, or airlock monitors!


This is the original, this is the original, this is the original, this is the original, this is the original...

Oh!  Now that you've freed an unstable AI into the world, an AI that you didn't trust from the very beginning but helped anyway, what are you going to do with all the money it deposited into your banking accounts?

...

I'm gonna get all my organs replaced again so I can take drugs proper like.

That plot challenge still stands.

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And this is only because it's the original.  If it were a relatively new book, it'd be ranked lower.

(damn, I forgot to mention Space Rastafarians!)

geek heh mon, you be wan'in ta go to da Jane, ya?  Da dub, it be savin'.
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PostSubject: Re: Soothsayer's current read (updated often)   Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:32 am

The Foundation Series

What I'm talking about are the four original books. Not Prelude, nor anything that has come after Foundation's Edge (yes, I know Prelude came after, but it's a prelude, so...)

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is with these books. The first half of books 2 and 3 resolve whatever issues were being built up in books 1 and 2, so nothing is really lasting. Book 1 is more like three short books conveniently bound behind one cover. Book 3 just seems to be written quickly, with the solution and actual plot just being plucked right from the air.

At best, these sci-fi books are average. I know, I know, these are "classics", but when you get right down to it, the premise behind the books are ludicrous. I'd be more than happy to discuss my opinion more in depth with anyone who's interested... but let's just say that if you look at it, it really doesn't make any sense.

Then there's Book 4. Out of the four, this was my favorite... at least the first 3/4 of it. *shakes head* I don't even know how or where to begin in describing my disappointment with the ending. Sure, it was written to unite all of Asimov's books into one universe, but come on. This was a cheap sell out, truly. The book was only written because the publishers wanted it this way, and it showed at the end.

If I were to rate the books on an individual basis, I'd rate them (in order), 6-7-6-7. As a series, well, pretty much the same. It wasn't crap, it wasn't great, it was just something that passed the time.

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