Monday, 18 August 2014

What is Reecey Currently Reading?

 You'd think I'd have learned my lesson as a child.

 Do not read multiple books at the same time.

 I was actually pretty good at this when I was a teenager, I went through books so fast it was never an issue, but then university happened and I went from avid reader to 'lol, what's a book?'.

 To illustrate how bad it got, allow me to show you all of the Discworld books I've accrued in the last six years or so, but still haven't finished.

 Yeah, it's got really bad.

 These days I take a more pragmatic approach, if I want to read it, I read. There's no use standing on ceremony if it's just going to stand in the way of me reading.

 So here are the books I'm currently reading.

 Or started reading and stopped, but we'll get to that later.

Reecey's Reading List

 I spoke about this one recently in my Nine Ove Five Presents... Syphilis post. It was mostly just me telling you not to read it, and it still stands.

 Don't read it.

 No matter how much you think it's a good idea, no matter how much Oscar Wilde liked it, do not read this book.

 It's awful.

 When I finally finish struggling through it I will do a review for it over on Fission Mailure, fully detailing all of its flaws, but for now just don't read it.



 Now this one I do recommend you read.

 For a story about a jam centric apocalypse, it's surprisingly not ridiculous.

 Okay, it is ridiculous, but the way that people react to the apocalypse actually isn't. The way everyone reacts is pretty logical, but taken to varying extremes, or are rather premature.

 One character wants to document everything for posterity, one is planning on how to rebuild civilisation and there's a whole group of people who are taking the apocalypse in stride in a manner that looks totally ridiculous but actually makes perfect sense.

 I think the straightfaced way everyone is reacting to the situation is what really sells this book.

 Croshaw regularly complains about games going out of their way to point out the humour of a situation, so it's not much of a surprise that he doesn't fall into such problems himself.

 So far, it's been a good read. I really should get around to finishing it.

 Sadly, this is the only Science of the Discworld that I don't own in hardback.

 I do, however, own the Tesco's exclusive edition with the extra chapter!

 I just happened to find it when I was looking for awful books to tell Doug about.

 So far, I'm enjoying it. The novel sections are superb as usual, and I really like the chemistry between Ridcully and Marjorie Daw the Roundworld librarian. He's a charming old school flirt, and she's happily receiving the attention as well as mildly surprised that he's not a git.

 The science parts are interesting, although I do find them oddly pandering to the religious and superstitious.

 I'm not really sure how you can separate the concept of spirituality from believing in the supernatural, but it's something they keep attempting to do, and frankly it's getting on my nerves.

 Now, I've only read one chapter of this.

 I was originally planning to do a chapter by chapter recap of this book accompanied by reviews of port, but then I realised that I'd need different port for every chapter, and I'm not that well off.

 I've got the recap for the first chapter floating around on my computer and I haven't decide if I'm going to continue or not. If I do, it will be in a 'Drink and Dracula' format where I drink different kinds of alcohol and read Dracula before reporting it back to you guys.

 Does that sound good?

 Of course I'm reading Sherlock Holmes. You can tell because I have femme!Holmes fawning over Gregson, just like dude!Holmes would if he wasn't in such a post-Wilde Victorian setting, and having Watson wax lyrical about how pretty Gregson is just like Watson actually does.

 That's what I took from A Study in Scarlet.

 Sherlock and John are both gay for Gregson whether or not they're gay for anyone else.

 Also, Sherlock is kind of pretentious, but that's not much of a surprise.

 I should probably read more. It will be useful for my pastiche.

 I'm not going to lie, I bought this one because of the cover.

 I am a sucker for Medieval images of hell.

 To be fair though, it's Inferno, so it's not like I picked something I didn't know was interesting or of cultural importance.

 I'm about five cantos in, and so far I'm come to the conclusion that Dante was incredibly pretentious and super bi. I tweeted about this a bit a while ago, the way he talks to Virgil isn't too dissimilar from a shoujo manga protagonist talking to her sempai.

 So far I'm enjoying it, but it has been a struggle.

 I'm reminded of when I read Thus Spake Zarathustra as a teenager, the poetic language just hits the dyslexic part of my brain and it becomes a real struggle to actually understand what's being said.

 I may start rereading it and use the same tactic I did when I was reading Nietzsche. That is, reading it out loud. It helped then, so it may help now.

 Wish me luck.

 This is the book I stopped reading.

 It's not that I wasn't enjoying it, I liked the premise just fine, and even some of the characters.

 It takes place in an America where anyone and everyone who is diagnosed with a mental illness is taken into state run mental health care and then spit back out. It's also a world where there are electric keyboards that can also play emotions and colonising the moon is a thing that's being worked on.

 This is a good start.

 The problem, as is often the case with science fiction written in the mid twentieth century, is that it's all horribly outdated.

 If memory serves, the story takes place before I was born.

 It's ridiculous, but something that can be overlooked. I lived through the Eugenics wars, so I can deal with this better than some of the kids today could. (Which isn't a slight against them, they're free to laugh and they probably should.)

 No, the reason I stopped reading was Priss.

 No, not a Katniss Everdeen ripoff, Priss is short for Priscilla and she's the driving force of the plot.

 She's not the main character, mind you, that's some dude who's running a electronic keyboard business with her dad, but the story would not have happened without her.

 She's been diagnosed as schizophrenic in this weird mental health system, but I'm not sure she actually is. She mostly just reads as horribly selfish and incredibly short sighted. But I'm not a psychiatrist, so maybe she is actually schizophrenic, just an awful person at the same time.

 What she actually does is create simulacra. Basically, androids and the ones that they make are based on real people.

 She comes up with the idea, she does all the research, she creates the outer shells for them and she's the driving force behind the project. She doesn't do the actual engineering aspect, but that's pretty much the one thing she doesn't do.

 Priscilla basically creates artificial life and it's the most impressive thing any of the main characters have done in the book so far.

 However, and this is the real sticking point, she has this huge cerebral crush on some young CEO who also has some kind of mental illness (he may be schizophrenic too, I can't really remember) and made the simulacra basically to get his attention.

 Once she has his attention he wants to use them to populate his space colonies with fake people so that real people won't feel weirded out about living in space. There are massive legal implications about this, so the main characters wriggle their way out of having to deal with him with the help of Lincoln and some dude named Stanton who is a historical figure I'd never heard of before this book and is somehow my favourite character.

 The reason I stopped reading comes right here.

 They manage to stop the CEO dude from getting them all in trouble/screwing them over and Priscilla basically goes 'well too bad, I'm going to help him anyway' for no reason.

 Lady! What is your deal?!

 Like I said before, I am not a psychiatrist, but I'm pretty sure rank stupidity is not a symptom of schizophrenia! Stop thinking with your vagina and realise that this is going to screw you and everyone you know over!

 Also, this guy does not care one whit about you! Either get together with the adorable engineer, go to a book club or die alone leaving a legacy of being the woman who created the simulacra behind you! All of these are better options!

 It's a good book, I mean, I remember the plot really well. It's just that Priss is so damn frustrating that I want to punch her.

 This is a case of a book I'm rereading.

 It's a book I read as a teenager and absolutely loved, and it's held up really well.

 There are a couple of questionable things in it, like this one section with surrogate mothers that makes me cringe, and a surprising amount of the technology is already outdated even though it's set several centuries in the future, but it's still really good.

 One of the things I really like about this book is that the main character is bisexual and black, and the bisexuality is presented as normal and his ethnicity is brought up almost as an afterthought.

 It doesn't really inform his character much, as the colour of his skin is pretty much the least interesting thing about a man who is a second generation clone and third generation immigrant from what is functionally the ruling family of Titan. He's also involved in a love triangle with the son of a rival-ish family and an older woman from Earth that lasts a couple of decades.

 And this isn't even touching on how smart the guy is.

 I really love this book, it really shaped my view of what science fiction should be.

 I should finish it soon so I can start rereading it again.

 (Good luck finding a copy that doesn't have a white guy on the front though. This is pretty much the exact reason I bought a Kindle, so I wouldn't have to deal with that.)

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