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Thread: Book Recommendations

  1. #2061
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    The Right Stuff

    At once an ode to and a condemnation of the manned space program.
    Details the panic caused by the launch of Sputnik and the early successes(carefully curated by the USSR) of the Soviet space program. The Cold War was in full frigidity and there was a real fear of Nuclear war started by a Warsaw Pact juggernaut. The thought of Russian nukes overhead was frightful. It completely warped the planned, rational scientific advancement into space.
    Then the Kennedy assassination and the cultish desire to honor his promise to land on the moon before 1970 imposed an arbitrary deadline causing enormous brute force efforts to achieve what was essentially a PR stunt, whose costs appalled congress after the initial panic subsided and sidelined further civilian manned space travel into obscurity.
    Very funny, in the way that you laugh and cover your eyes at the same time.
    Recommended as iconic pop culture literature.

  2. #2062
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    Righteous Prey - a Lucas Davenport/Virgil Flowers book

    It's a good light read. If you are a gun rights absolutist you might get hair on fire by a few of the comments of some but they make sense in the context of the story. Not going to give it away but the protagonist of the last, rousing gun fight had to give me pause.

    Discussion question - you have a shotgun with 00, your opponent has an AR - 70 to 80 yards fight.

    I see a Letty book is coming out in April. She's a Fed now for Homeland Security given her rather ruthless and accurate firearms skills.

    There is a hint of Virgil and Letty unrequited lust but that's probably never going to happen, given Lucas and Franky will kill Virgil.
    Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; 10-29-2022 at 01:15 PM.

  3. #2063
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    Annihilation

    Book 1 of the Southern Reach trilogy.
    After watching the excellent movie a few weeks ago I borrowed this.
    The basic premise is the same: a few years ago an event occurred that resulted in an "exclusion zone" where people are apparently unable to exist. This zone is slowly expanding and inside it the natural world appears to be...changing. Technology like satellites, drones and RADAR are completely ineffective. Radio doesn't work.
    The government creates a command named Southern Reach and starts sending expeditions in to investigate, but almost no one comes out and those that do are insane.
    The protagonist joins the 12th expedition as a biologist in a group of 5 women, each with a separate skillset: Biologist, anthropologist, linguist, surveyor and the mission commander, a psychologist.
    The team enters the "X-zone"(called the Shimmer in the movie) and immediately runs into trouble. The linguist disappears upon entry and no one has any recollection of entering the X-zone.

    The book is profoundly different from the movie. Almost immediately, the first person narrator realizes that they have been deceived and manipulated by Southern Reach to the extent that none of their extensive training about the mission was based on fact. Worse, they are under extreme hypnotic compulsion by the psychologist to perform in certain ways that don't make sense, and the commander is clearly on a different mission from the others.
    What slowly unveils is a deeply sinister blind chess game between Southern Reach and whatever the Entity is that is occupying the X-zone. As the narrator navigates the surreal landscape trying to decipher the real intent of the mission and what the Entity is she begins to realize the extent of the deception and ignorance of Southern Reach, which has become ever more desperate to try to comprehend the X-zone.

    It's an effective riff on the Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror genre and left me eager to read the next volume.

  4. #2064
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    Oath of Loyalty - a Mitch Rapp book. As with most book series taken over when the first author passes away, the continuing books aren't that good.

    This is a bit of a political book as compared to a find the terrorist book. The villain is a Trumpoid President married to a Hillary type first lady. Together they plan an autocracy. They cross paths with Mitch and Irene, supported by a Bill Gates save the earth type. Plot is silly and there is being a little too much of Mitch as super duper John Wick and the super assassins who can get to anyone with some clever plan.

    Worth getting out of the library, wouldn't buy.

    The Hunt by Faye Kellerman - terrible book. She has completely fallen apart. Read the one stars for a legit take. There is a rumor it's ghost written I wouldn't be surprised. The attraction of the early books were the police procedurals and the interaction with Rina as an Orthodox Jew and her community. That's all gone for some crap. The previous book stunk also.

    Her husband's books with Milo and the psychologist have veered into the ridiculous also. Some series go on too long. Like 90 year old Spenser still being a H2H superhuman.

  5. #2065
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    Just read a relatively new (2021 release) Stephen King book, "Later", Over 2-3 days last week. Back between 2016-2019 or so I read everything King ever wrote on a lark. I have a few authors I've done that for, he was challenging because he's pretty prolific.

    King books, whether scary or non-scary, fall into 2 camps: amazing or forgettable. In my experience there's not much nuance to it. His books either stay with you for life or were clearly written quickly to fund a vacation.

    "Later" was a "written-to-fund-a-vacation" book. It was not aggressively bad, but spend your time elsewhere.

    This is normally a thread I'd contribute to a lot, but between early 2020 to present, I (a huge nerd, if that is not evident from my post history) decided to tackle the Warhammer 40K "The Horus Heresy" series based on a random 40K novel which I quite enjoyed. The Horus Heresy is 54 full-length novels and 10 finale novels (9 released, 1 incoming). The last major challenge I did like that was when I was a teenager and tackled all of the 60+ Animorphs young adult novels. Not content with that, I also wanted context as "Horus Heresy" is sorta the core historical context of 40K, so I read all 10 of the Eisenhorn novels, all 12 of the Ciaphas Cain novels, all 16 of the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, and a handful of other standalone books.

    I'm currently on Horus Heresy Book #43 - "Garro" and I am closing in on the finale. By my current count I've read about 77 books in this series averaging about 450 pages since March 2020.

    My conclusion/recommendation: delightful if you like sci-fi, horror, steampunk, and a mash-up of those that constantly touches on classics, especially Dune. However, it's a titanic commitment and slogging through a few of the less-great novels has been a chore. If you want to explore the universe without such a huge commitment, I'd recommend anything by Dan Abnett. Honestly, I think most of PF would really enjoy his Gaunt's Ghosts series. It's basically a very dark Band of Brothers in space. He's one of the only authors I've ever read who writes soldiers somewhat believably. Honorable mention would be the Ciaphas Cain series by Sandy Mitchell, which is a lighter, more humor-focused series focusing on a heroic commissar who is secretly very afraid and gets lucky a lot. Very enjoyable popcorn reading.
    Last edited by LockedBreech; 11-07-2022 at 11:04 AM.
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  6. #2066
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    Quote Originally Posted by LockedBreech View Post
    Just read a relatively new (2021 release) Stephen King book, "Later", Over 2-3 days last week. Back between 2016-2019 or so I read everything King ever wrote on a lark. I have a few authors I've done that for, he was challenging because he's pretty prolific.

    King books, whether scary or non-scary, fall into 2 camps: amazing or forgettable. In my experience there's not much nuance to it. His books either stay with you for life or were clearly written quickly to fund a vacation.

    "Later" was a "written-to-fund-a-vacation" book. It was not aggressively bad, but spend your time elsewhere.

    This is normally a thread I'd contribute to a lot, but between early 2020 to present, I (a huge nerd, if that is not evident from my post history) decided to tackle the Warhammer 40K "The Horus Heresy" series based on a random 40K novel which I quite enjoyed. The Horus Heresy is 54 full-length novels and 10 finale novels (9 released, 1 incoming). The last major challenge I did like that was when I was a teenager and tackled all of the 60+ Animorphs young adult novels. Not content with that, I also wanted context as "Horus Heresy" is sorta the core historical context of 40K, so I read all 10 of the Eisenhorn novels, all 12 of the Ciaphas Cain novels, all 16 of the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, and a handful of other standalone books.

    I'm currently on Horus Heresy Book #43 - "Garro" and I am closing in on the finale. By my current count I've read about 77 books in this series averaging about 450 pages since March 2020.

    My conclusion/recommendation: delightful if you like sci-fi, horror, steampunk, and a mash-up of those that constantly touches on classics, especially Dune. However, it's a titanic commitment and slogging through a few of the less-great novels has been a chore. If you want to explore the universe without such a huge commitment, I'd recommend anything by Dan Abnett. Honestly, I think most of PF would really enjoy his Gaunt's Ghosts series. It's basically a very dark Band of Brothers in space. He's one of the only authors I've ever read who writes soldiers somewhat believably. Honorable mention would be the Ciaphas Cain series by Sandy Mitchell, which is a lighter, more humor-focused series focusing on a heroic commissar who is secretly very afraid and gets lucky a lot. Very enjoyable popcorn reading.
    I love how the Warhammer 40K universe is so unrelentingly hostile and bleak.
    It's like turning the Eastern Front to 11 and spreading it to the entire galaxy...for thousands of years.
    Grimdark, indeed.
    Abnett is my favorite of the stable of writers. I particularly enjoy the Eisenhorn series as it encompasses so many aspects of the Warhammer melange through his service as an Inquisitor.
    Sci-Fi, horror, mystery, intrigue, action...it's a great intro and overview to the mythos. And Abnett isn't afraid to turn Warhammer up to 12.

  7. #2067
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    Quote Originally Posted by feudist View Post
    I love how the Warhammer 40K universe is so unrelentingly hostile and bleak.
    It's like turning the Eastern Front to 11 and spreading it to the entire galaxy...for thousands of years.
    Grimdark, indeed.
    Abnett is my favorite of the stable of writers. I particularly enjoy the Eisenhorn series as it encompasses so many aspects of the Warhammer melange through his service as an Inquisitor.
    Sci-Fi, horror, mystery, intrigue, action...it's a great intro and overview to the mythos. And Abnett isn't afraid to turn Warhammer up to 12.
    Everything in your post is 110% accurate. Eisenhorn is what whetted my appetite and is still probably that universe written at its best. I read the most recent entries, Pariah and Penitent, somewhat recently and they were very solid.
    Business & Estate Attorney| Beretta, Glock & S&W Fan

  8. #2068
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    Quote Originally Posted by LockedBreech View Post
    Everything in your post is 110% accurate. Eisenhorn is what whetted my appetite and is still probably that universe written at its best. I read the most recent entries, Pariah and Penitent, somewhat recently and they were very solid.
    The trilogy of Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus was my gateway to Warhammer. Then the Ravenor followups, and the excellent Magos.
    Pariah and Penitent are very good.
    I think it's one of the best ways to be introduced to the universe because of its sweep and Abnett's writing.
    His Brotherhood of the Snake is a great standalone intro to the Space Marines, and Gaunt's Ghosts for the Guard.

  9. #2069
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    Quote Originally Posted by feudist View Post
    The trilogy of Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus was my gateway to Warhammer. Then the Ravenor followups, and the excellent Magos.
    Pariah and Penitent are very good.
    I think it's one of the best ways to be introduced to the universe because of its sweep and Abnett's writing.
    His Brotherhood of the Snake is a great standalone intro to the Space Marines, and Gaunt's Ghosts for the Guard.
    Fiancée got me Brothers of the Snake last Christmas, loved it. You may be interested to know that there is a new series, Urdesh, by Matthew Farrer, that links Brothers of the Snake and later Gaunt's Ghosts books. The first book is called Urdesh: The Serpent and the Saint, which I'm about 40% through currently (reading along with Horus #43) and the second is called Urdesh: The Magister and the Martyr. Unknown how many there will be but I'm enjoying the first so far.

    I also just bought The Vincula Insurgency, which is the first part of Gaunt's Ghost stories called "Ghost Dossiers" that sorta goes back and fills in some gaps.

    You may know about all these already, but if not enjoy! ​Ithaka!
    Business & Estate Attorney| Beretta, Glock & S&W Fan

  10. #2070
    Site Supporter feudist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LockedBreech View Post
    Fiancée got me Brothers of the Snake last Christmas, loved it. You may be interested to know that there is a new series, Urdesh, by Matthew Farrer, that links Brothers of the Snake and later Gaunt's Ghosts books. The first book is called Urdesh: The Serpent and the Saint, which I'm about 40% through currently (reading along with Horus #43) and the second is called Urdesh: The Magister and the Martyr. Unknown how many there will be but I'm enjoying the first so far.

    I also just bought The Vincula Insurgency, which is the first part of Gaunt's Ghost stories called "Ghost Dossiers" that sorta goes back and fills in some gaps.

    You may know about all these already, but if not enjoy! ​Ithaka!
    I'll check out Urdesh!

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