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Old 8th March 2012, 03:35 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

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Originally Posted by Vertigo;1586577[B
]I'm not sure 'dark' is quite strong enough to describe this one. And yet as with most of his dark books he does end on an optimistic note.[/B] I suspect it will haunt me for a while too and I think I need a little more distance from it before I decide whether I actually liked it.
Stop it Vertigo you are making me drool of longing for this book! A darker than dark PKD with disturbing characters is saying alot since most my fav SF of his are about really disturbed people.

I have Martian-Time Slip but havent read it didnt sound as messed up PKD as i like it, good to know i was thinking wrong
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Old 8th March 2012, 03:40 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Yes AE, although as you get further in your realise that the water on Mars is merely a plot device. It's really about mental disorder (a very common theme for PKD); in particular schizophrenia (spelt right this time ) and autism. And then you have to bear in mind that we know an awful lot more about those disorders now than was known then.

OH yes Conn - pretty messed up this one!
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Old 8th March 2012, 06:47 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Sounds like this book needs its own thread.

It's one of my favorites but it's nowhere near as acidic as Palmer Eldritch, IMO.
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Old 9th March 2012, 12:03 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Here I go, broken record, but Alastair Reynolds needs his own forum here!!!

Iain M. Banks has a forum, and Reynolds is at least comparable in my view.

I'm reading Blue Remembered Earth -- reading it slowly with notepad and pen so I can pick up tips that'll help me with my own writing.

Of the active sci-fi authors out there just now I find Reynolds at the very top of the pile. In Blue Remembered Earth the writing is excellent, and the near future world is extremely convincing and thought provoking.

So far I can't fault it.

Coragem.
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Old 9th March 2012, 12:15 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

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Here I go, broken record, but Alastair Reynolds needs his own forum here!!!

Iain M. Banks has a forum, and Reynolds is at least comparable in my view.
Remember - author forums aren't based on skill or anything. They are based on 1) popularity (the number of threads started about the author or by the author (like Laura J. Underwood)), and 2) if the author is also a member of the Chron community.

If anything, I prefer it when authors don't have their own forum. I think that creates a segregation, and a niche that is then only visited by those people who already like/know about the author.

Starting a Reynolds thread in the general book forum will do good.
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Old 9th March 2012, 04:55 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Finally worked out the perfect analogy for The Quest of the DNA Cowboys: it's the novelization of Galaxy Express 999 directed by Ralph Bakshi. There really isn't a plot, other than a series of interconnected adventures and scenarios, punctuated with lots of sex and drugs, a little bit of rock and roll, and a counter-culture vibe straight out of the 1970s.
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Old 9th March 2012, 06:45 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Jack Williamson's 1933 Weird Tales science fantasy Golden Blood. I feel like he's channeling a lot of things I'm not as familiar with as I ought to be, from 1001 Nights to T.E. Lawrence to A. Merritt and anything that has "Arabian" and/or science fantasy color. Speaking of color, there seems to be a relatively mild case of old-fashioned racism throughout, though there are many things contrary to that, too. I initially had fun pretending that the hero, Price Durand, was played by Humphrey Bogart; the large Jacob Garth who is a sometimes uneasy ally to Durand was played by Sydney Greenstreet; and Hollywood ignored the villainous lustful maniacal "Eurasian" Joao de Castro's ethnicity and cast Peter Lorre. It ended up not being maintainable, but it felt kind of perfect at first. But Durand's too young and physical, and de Castro was sort of a stretch anyway. Greenstreet might not have been bad, though. One problem was that Durand might not have been a bad character but Williamson did too much direct characterization, having the narrator spell things out rather than simply letting Durand be and act and Durand was too much of a chump/klutz for a hero. And the prose style was mostly good, yet marred with the usual paid-by-the-word repetition. If you like everything always being "tawny" if it isn't "xanthic" and if you like Garth never saying a word but constantly "booming" them and if you like looking up words like "fulgor", it's great. But the depiction of the small army of adventurers invading the desert to find the gold in the not-so-mythical lost kingdom of immortal golden gods was a great milieu and it was interesting and enjoyable for the most part, when it wasn't being frustrating. I prefer Kuttner's later science fantasies from the next decade or so, though.
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Old 9th March 2012, 07:19 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

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Quest of the DNA Cowboys - If Ralph Bakshi had been a SF author in the 1970s, this is what he would have written. This book is insane, and insanely good. Totally my kind of SF. It's a totally weird road-trip adventure with tons of strange creatures and characters, social commentary, and a completely gonzo sensibility that throws caution to the wind. Farren lets it rip.
I thought I had a Mick Farren book on the shelves somewhere, turned out to be Michael Frayn. Humph! All these years I got these two guys mixed up. DNA Cowboys is a trilogy I understand. Is QUEST... an omnibus of the three?
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Old 9th March 2012, 07:29 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

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I thought I had a Mick Farren book on the shelves somewhere, turned out to be Michael Frayn. Humph! All these years I got these two guys mixed up. DNA Cowboys is a trilogy I understand. Is QUEST... an omnibus of the three?
Quest of ... is the first of the trilogy, which is just called The DNA Cowboys Trilogy. The other two are Synaptic Manhunt and The Neural Atrocity.

Highly recommended if you like that kind of '70s, drugged-out counter culture stuff.
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Old 9th March 2012, 09:57 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

I'm currently reading 3 books. There's The Princess of Mars which I mentioned earlier.

The Zombie Autopsies
by Steven Schlozman. This is a kind of fictional manual on zombie autopsies, virology and science. written in a notebook form, it's actually quite interesting though relatively technical.

Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford. This is something some of the cinema lovers on the forum may get into. A personal walk down memory lane from the perspective of cult movie connoisseur Bill Landis, through the extremely sordid streets, cinema aisles and sex booths of 70-80's Times Square.
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Old 10th March 2012, 05:51 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Quest of the DNA Cowboys, by Mick Farren

Ever wondered what Galaxy Express 999 would have been like as a novel written by Ralph Bakshi? If so, might I suggest reading Mick Farren's SF, on-the-road adventure novel, The Quest of the DNA Cowboys.

Quest is pure '70s. There is lots of drugs and sex, a little bit of rock and roll, and it contains the kind of counter-culture messaging of an Easy Rider. There are three different narrative threads. The main arc details the adventures of two young men named Billy and Reave. Their "quest," as it were, is simple: to leave the confines of their small country town and head out into the vast expanse of the wasteland to find themselves and adventure along the way. The second narrative is a bizarre one dealing with a trinity of female alien beings who find themselves drawn towards Billy's and Reave's hometown of Pleasant Gap. And the third narrative arc deals with the debauchery of a super-high-class society and the things they do to alleviate their boredom.

The world that Farren creates is a very interesting one. The very physical fabric of the universe is falling apart; reality itself is deteriorating, and thus travelers need to carry portable stasis fields in order to keep their surroundings intact. There are lizard-driven carriages, truckers who call themselves the Lords of Creation, a bohemian village populated with immortal teenagers, a decrepit rundown town full of ghostly inhabitants on the verge of vanishing, and a region of land in which a war has been waging for centuries.

The only thing the book lacks is a cohesive plot. There really isn't much of a quest, nor is there anything driving Billy and Reave along on their journey outside of the desire to have new experiences. It's pretty much set up as a series of scenarios and chance meetings with bizarre characters, after which Billy and Reave move on to the next seemingly random encounter. I enjoy this kind of adventure, but I can see others having a problem with it.

The book ends on a major cliffhanger, and it is the first part of a trilogy. Although I don't really think it's a trilogy as much as it is one longer book broken up arbitrarily into three parts. If you're interested in reading this, I highly suggest getting the omnibus version so that you can read it as one novel. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of Farren's creation, and I have a feeling that it will end up being one of the better books I read this year.
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Old 11th March 2012, 02:57 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

I'm currently struggling with Conan Doyle's The Land of Mist. I had been warned (elsewhere on the Chrons) that this is rather heavy on Doyle's strong belief in spiritualism during his later life. Unfortunately I have to agree; he is pretty much preaching spiritualism. I may well abandon the book which is a shame and frankly makes me feel kind of guilty!
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Old 11th March 2012, 05:40 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

Finished Best Served Cold by Abercrombie last night. Enjoyed it. I had previously only read half of The Blade Itself and thought it wasn't very well written. Glad to see he's improved a great deal. Looking forward to his other books.

Started Chasm City by Reynolds.
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Old 11th March 2012, 05:49 PM   #59 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

I still think Abercrombie's best realised character is Glotcka (sp). A few too many of the others feel a little like they are plot drifting through the first two books - in the right places at the right times, but somewhat feeling as if their character/status/stance shouldn't have them there at all. Things wrap up well in Last Argument of Kings and overall I enjoyed his first Trilogy (I've not read his standalones). But it certainly all hinges on the last book more strongly than some other series that I've read (at least that is my feeling - esp if you were to take Glotcka out of the story).



Anyway as for me this month:
House of Chains by Steven Erikson - at last I've gotten back in the saddle and -- Steve is already busy introducing totally new characters to me (unfair that is in a cast already so big). But its that gripping rip roaring fantasy world right enough.

Dragon Champion by E.E Knight - going to finish this one at last (its been taking its time with me - like most I'm reading at present). Very near the end and already got the next book all lined up and ready to read.

E.R. Burroughs or L. Carter - one of the two will also slip in this month, maybe both depending if I end up getting hooked on a series. Not sure which series to consider starting with though so time to random choose unless any here have any strong suggestions.
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Old 11th March 2012, 08:15 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Re: March's Manic Marauding of Maverick Meanderings

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E.R. Burroughs or L. Carter - one of the two will also slip in this month, maybe both depending if I end up getting hooked on a series. Not sure which series to consider starting with though so time to random choose unless any here have any strong suggestions.
I would suggest ERB rather than Carter -- despite his faults, Burroughs was a much better writer than Carter (believe it or not!).....

In connection with that essay I'm going to be doing for Robert Waugh's anthology, I've started the process of going back through several of the Queene Anne and Georgian writers, beginning with Doctor Johnson's Idler. It has been a long time since I read any of these, but I'm quite enjoying it -- especially as this is something of a "mental time-trip" for me, given that the copy I'm reading was printed in 1795.....
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