Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

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Oxy Moron
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The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

A novel about the escalating conflict between mankind and a mysterious enemy in the deepest depths of the oceans, as witnessed by two journalists. I was tempted to give up on the book at points. After the initial events in the narrative you have a long section with lots of talking but not much else happening, and the characters feel like they could have stepped out of an episode of The Good Life at times, a reference to a 70s British sitcom which I'm guessing most people on the Escapist won't be aware of.

The novel does pick up a lot in the second half though, with a powerful and bleak ending. It also feels strangely prescient for a book written in 1953. There's the danger of climate change and the melting of the polar ice caps, and a scientist who quickly becomes a figure of ridicule and hostility for delivering a series of hard truths that nobody wants to accept. John Wyndham and his crazy imagination...
 
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Hawki

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Read some stuff:

-Doctor Who: The Only Good Dalek (3/5)

-Dragon Ball Z: Volume 1 (3/5)

-Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (junior novelization) (3/5)
 

Hawki

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How do you get through so many books?
Are you referring to that particular group, or books in general?

If the former, I read the two comics on lunch break (working at the library, on Saturdays, I usually read graphic novels, since I can be done with them in the 1.25hrs I have to myself. So, I read two last Saturday, and finished Rise this morning. Grouped them together because there's little worth discussing in any of them.

If the latter, I...read a lot? Really, that's all I can say.
 

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Oxy Moron
Apr 5, 2020
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Are you referring to that particular group, or books in general?

If the former, I read the two comics on lunch break (working at the library, on Saturdays, I usually read graphic novels, since I can be done with them in the 1.25hrs I have to myself. So, I read two last Saturday, and finished Rise this morning. Grouped them together because there's little worth discussing in any of them.

If the latter, I...read a lot? Really, that's all I can say.
I meant in general, you seem to get through a lot in this going by this thread. I guess working in a library helps.
 

Hawki

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I meant in general, you seem to get through a lot in this going by this thread. I guess working in a library helps.
Well, it certainly gives me no shortage of stuff to borrow/read. But even if I didn't work at a library, you'd probably see a reasonably similar no. of posts. Probably fewer graphic novel entries though, and less non-fiction.

If anything, it's more influential on the types of entries. Like, I'd never waste my time actually purchasing the Rise of Skywalker book, but borrowing it for free from the display shelf, getting through it in a short amount of time? Yeah. Okay. Nothing to lose but time in that case.
 

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Oxy Moron
Apr 5, 2020
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Well, it certainly gives me no shortage of stuff to borrow/read. But even if I didn't work at a library, you'd probably see a reasonably similar no. of posts. Probably fewer graphic novel entries though, and less non-fiction.

If anything, it's more influential on the types of entries. Like, I'd never waste my time actually purchasing the Rise of Skywalker book, but borrowing it for free from the display shelf, getting through it in a short amount of time? Yeah. Okay. Nothing to lose but time in that case.
If the book was anything like the film, I think I'd rather stare blankly into space.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Tristessa by Jack Kerouac (1960)

Kerouac attempts to reconcile his enlightened sense of asceticism with his gnawing obsession for a whore - the title's Tristessa - during a hazy Mexican bender fueled by booze and morphine. He waxes drunk (and poetic) from subject to subject in what feels part memoir, part fever dream. In his ruminations he paints an impressionistic tale that is sad, moody and a little pathetic. What a restless soul.
 
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Hawki

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The Fall of Shannara: The Last Druid (3/5)

If you've read my Shannara reviews on this site, you'll know that I have a very mixed view on the IP. That said, I did go into Last Druid with a lot of anticipation. I mean, this was being promoted as not only the conclusion to the Fall of Shannara quadrilogy, but also the entire Shannara series itself (or at least, that it would be the last installment chronologically). So, having read this epic supposedly decades in the making, what did I think of it?

"Meh."

For starters, all the flaws I've listed with Brooks before remain here - he has a tendency to rely on passive narrative. The characters are bland. The villains have a tendency to chew the scenery and have simplistic motivations. But worse here, at least compared to the other Fall novels (FYI, I think this is the weakest of them), there's an awful lot of padding. Yes, stuff is technically happening, but, well, there's three main plot threads - the journey to Skaarsland, the Federation/Skaar standoff, and Drisker Arc being trapped in the Forbidding. The last plot thread could have easily been removed for instance, but in doing so, you'd lose a third of the book. Also, it might be because I read this book quicker than some others, but I noticed that Brooks has a tendency to repeat character motivations. As in, in ch. 1, we might learn that Bob wants to kill X. In ch. 2, we're reminded that Bob wants to kill X, and while we might skip Bob's story for a few chapters, come ch. 5, Bob still wants to kill X, and we're reminded as to why. It's tedious.

I could go into more detail here. For instance, the Skaar homeland is saved, but I can't help but wonder what happens to Eurodia. I mean, they've already conquered it, and there's nothing to suggest that they're going to go all hippie. But enough of that, here's the key question - does the book serve as a sufficient conclusion? Well, if we're talking about the Fall quadrilogy in of itself, yeah, pretty much. But if we're talking about the Shannara saga as a whole? Well, that's...complicated.
 

Hawki

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THing is, there's no reason why Fall has to be the final work, as opposed to any other Shannara series. That may be a slight exagerration, but there's nothing that really shifts the status quo significantly, nor does it feel like a cap-off to everything that's happened up to this point, nor is there anything prohibiting a series that takes place after Fall. Yes, efforts are made within the context of the work and the lore, but there's also another issue. The issue that I've simply been spoiled by other fantasy works, when it comes to endings. For instance, Game of THrones had immense thematic significance with its ending, with the idea of monarchy being called into question, the question of how and if one can create a better world, whether a cycle of violence can be stopped, etc. Lord of the Rings's ending had strong thematic significance (soldiers coming home from war) and a massive paradigm shift in-universe (Fourth Age, and the Dominion of Men). Shannara's grand conclusion however is whether science and magic can be reconciled.

In the interests of fairness, that's a question that does have some weight on Shannara itself, since as the series has progressed chronologically (in-universe), the setting has become more technologically advanced, and magic has become more of a relic. So, okay, fair enough. But magic vs. science is a conflict that doesn't have any deeper theme behind it, as opposed to those other examples I mentioned. So while I did get some of "the feels" reading the ending, being intellectually honest, I had to admit that there was a lack of thematic weight. Though on the flipside, I've read comments that the ending is pessimistic, that the Federation will continue being expansionist. I really don't get where this is from, since the ending points to the opposite occurring.

So, yeah. Average book, ending an average series. Kind of a shame. But having read over 10 Shannara books at this point, and with the best still being Elfstones, maybe it was too much to expect it would "git gud" at the last second.
 

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Overwatch: Stone By Stone (2/5)

Easily the weakest Overwatch short story I've read. Which is a shame, because usually, I find Golden to be a good author. That said, there's little to reccomend here. There's a bit of worldbuilding, but it's mostly religious mumbo jumbo - it's not original enough to be engrossing, and not informative enough of actual religions to be, well, informative. Waste of time.
 

Hawki

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World of Warcraft: We Ride Forth (3/5)

Similar to past Warcraft reviews, I found myself at a bit of a loss here, because I was introduced to plot points that I was expected to know already. Again, this isn't the work's fault, but it did make it hard to get into. Still, it's decent. It ties in nicely with the Shadowlands intro, and while not the protagonist per se, explores Bolvar's character as the Lich King well.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

-Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (graphic novel): 3/5

-World of Warcraft: Dark Riders (3/5)

-Marvel: We Can Be Heroes (2/5)
 
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gorfias

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Reading through "The Boys" super hero deconstruction in which the super heroes are sort of lives of the rich and vapid corporate stooges. Very profane and have to hide some of what's going on from the missus.
 
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