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Messages - Peter Ahlstrom

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4876
Books / Re: Wheel of Time
« on: April 13, 2004, 07:16:36 PM »
well, this thread went off the wall...

I recently finished reading the WoT books. I'd read the first one during my senior year, and wasn't impressed enough to keep reading. But then a couple months ago I got bored and decided to try them out. Went through them all pretty fast.

I was entertained. I'll read the rest when they come out. I do not believe it's possible to finish the story satisfactorily in just two books, but Jordan is swearing he plans to do this. At the end of the Dumais Wells chapter with the big battle it says it's only a small sample of what's to come, and so far we've seen nothing even close. Things like this are pointing me to the belief that the end will be a letdown. But maybe if I expect the worst, I can be pleasantly surprised.

4877
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: April 13, 2004, 07:07:31 PM »
I just read Cryptonomicon. I liked it. Snow Crash, eh? I'll have to check it out.

Immediately after that I read Conrad's Time Machine by Leo Frankowski. It made me wonder if his other books are as really as good as I remember them being. The writing in this one was just bad. All the characters sounded the same, there were huge stretches of dialogue with no description, and the wish-fulfillment fantasy was at greater levels than ever before.

I opened up one of my boxes o' books to try to find something I felt like rereading, and discovered A Canticle for Leibowitz. It's an old used-book type copy, and I have no idea how it got in that box. I must have acquired it at some point. I never read it before but always planned to someday. So now I'm reading that, about halfway through.

4878
Everything Else / Re: Cool Stuff Found on the Internet III
« on: January 11, 2004, 01:26:33 AM »
Zip code java map! After it loads, click in the picture and then type in a zip code one number at a time, slowly.

http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/zipdecode/

Not sure how to reset it to check more zip codes without reloading the whole page...

4879
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: January 03, 2004, 01:26:29 PM »
It's part of the Hiroshima mission now. My stake center is by the old Okayama mission office though.

4880
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: December 30, 2003, 10:45:57 AM »
I'm in Japan (Okayama) teaching English until March. After I get back (well actually, before I get back), I'll be applying for editing jobs in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

4881
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: December 30, 2003, 01:22:59 AM »
Quote
1)  They were just SO depressing.  Everything always happened for the worst.  It's good to have life hard and gritty--that's Hobb's style.  But it just got overwhelming.

I agree that there were pretty depressing parts. However, everything works out in the end...unfortunately, I mean by the end of the third trilogy. Some of the depressing stuff left at the end of the first trilogy is finally resolved in the end of the third.

Quote
2)  The third book, in my opinion, was terrible.  It had some good moments, but mostly it seemed horribly out-of-place and contrived.  I felt like, as you said, she had no idea where she was going with the series, and by the third book had written herself into so many corners that she had to struggle to make things work.  The story never addressed the things that I thought of as the main plot conflicts, and the main character just never really had anything important to do with the plot.

Hmm...what did you think were the main plot conflicts, that never got addressed?

I agree that the third book is definitely the weakest of all of them. It was wandering all over the place and really unfocused for a lot of the way through. I thought it had a good climactic trilogy-ender for the last part of it, but it seemed like the end to a different trilogy than I was reading in the first 2 books...ha ha ha

Even so, though, I probably liked the third book better than Eye of the World (though for me that isn't saying much).

However, the flaws of the first trilogy aren't there in the second at all. It takes place in a different part of the world, though chronologically after the first, with very different characters. It felt to me like it was planned from start to finish, and doesn't have the plot problems of the third book. You could read the second trilogy and really enjoy it without having read the first trilogy.

The third trilogy has some more of the depressing stuff that the first had, but as I said, it does get resolved in the end.

4882
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: December 27, 2003, 01:08:18 PM »
I just finished Robin Hobb's newest, Fool's Fate, the ninth in the series that starts with Assassin's Apprentice. Actually it's three trilogies, but anyway I've no idea if it will be the last book in this universe. The US version doesn't come out until February, so I had the British version given to me for Christmas (via amazon.co.jp to eliminate shipping charges).

The book itself is HUGE. 9 1/2 inches tall, 6 1/2 inches wide, and a bit over 2 1/2 inches thick. A little over 800 pages. I only read the US versions of the other books, but I'm pretty confident this is the longest book in the series.

Anyway it's a great book. It ties up this trilogy very well and has a good happy ending. That always matters for me. It also doesn't do the one thing I had feared about this series.

The only thing I'm dubious about in the series is that when the first book was being written, I don't think Robin Hobb had completely thought through explanations of how several things happened. When they were given in the third book, they didn't quite account for everything--I'm speaking mostly of the white ships. The explanation for the Forged didn't quite work for me either until I read this ninth book.

I really liked this book, but I think I liked the second trilogy better. I believe it's mostly because the first and third trilogies are in first person so we can see things only through one person's perception. The second trilogy is in third person and has a much larger cast of characters with many things going on at once, giving it a truly epic feel. It also allows for great character growth among many characters, including several I didn't expect growth from. Oh well, I mentioned the books earlier in this thread even...

But anyway this book is good, so go read them all. I'm very glad that Brandon and Dan told me they were going to read the first book and that I should too. I don't know if they ever actually did.

4883
Books / Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« on: May 16, 2003, 02:50:10 AM »
I'm ignoring what this thread has become. I only did "find" on the pages to see if my book titles were mentioned.

1. Slan by A. E. van Vogt. A classic of science fiction. Saying used to be "Fans are Slans." About a next step in humanity's evolution. My favorite book. A great bildungsroman.

2. Children of the Atom by... dunno. About hyperintelligent kids in a special school...sorta like Xavier's school, eh? Don't really remember much in the way of special powers or whatnot but they were born to parents exposed to radiation or something like that. Also written in the 60s or before.

3. The Girl with Silver Eyes. Dunno who by. This is a more modern book, probably from the 80s. Seems to copy #2 in a lot of ways. ;) Kids whose parents took a fertility drug...born with silver eyes and special abilities.

4. Odd John by Olaf Stapledon. Classic. Another "next evolutionary step" thing. With smart kids...John is born knowing how to talk. Hate the end of the book but the rest is good.

5. ok I only checked to see if the first 2 were mentioned and keep thinking of these as I write. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress. And its sequels. About genetic manipulation. Some of these books won Nebula/Hugo whatnot. Starts off promising but I didn't enjoy the later books so much, or the end. It's annoying when main characters die.

[EDIT: Now that's I've read the thread--I wholeheartedly agree with Jeff. But you probably knew that.]

4884
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: May 16, 2003, 02:36:50 AM »
dude, edit your post! The name of that character was a MAJOR [email protected]@[email protected]!!

of course I spoiled myself by reading Golden Fool, but sheesh.

Now I'm into the 2nd book of the Liveship Traders and wish I had read them before Golden Fool.

4885
Books / Re: So...what's everyone reading?
« on: May 10, 2003, 07:38:35 PM »
Today I finished Golden Fool by Robin Hobb. EUOL and Fellfrosch invited me to read her Assassin's Apprentice book to discuss it, and I read it and the next two books in the trilogy in rapid succession. Then I immediately afterward read the first book in the followup trilogy, Fool's Errand. Golden Fool is the second book in that trilogy. Now I'm starting on the trilogy that takes place between the 2 chronologically (I believe) but in a different part of the universe--the Liveship Traders trilogy, starting with Ship of Magic. There's a brief appearance by characters which may or may not be from this trilogy in Golden Fool (though it definitely makes mention of events which happened in that trilogy, presented as new information to people who knew nothing about it...) but it seems like the third book in the Tawny Man trilogy is going to have much more of a connection.

Argh. Well anyway, these books are fantastic. Read them.

And the discussion I was supposed to have with EUOL and Fellfrosch about the first book never happened. :(

I also read some of Kim Stanley Robinson's book The Years of Rice and Salt. It's an alternate history book where the black death wiped out all of Europe, so the Chinese and the Muslims are left to inherit the earth. Interesting concept; I looked at it because of an advertisement in F&SF. The beginning of the book was decent but then the characters died and went to heaven and got reincarnated as other characters. I lost interest at this point. Basically the book seems to be about karma, and the storytelling style didn't do it for me.

I see I said nothing about the plot of the books I liked, and did say something about the plot of the one I didn't like. Oh well.

4886
Suggestions Box / Re: Problems accessing my own profile
« on: May 06, 2003, 03:23:20 AM »
Um... can someone update mine? I don't want to delete it...even though I've only posted twice... >_> I like my place in the userlist!

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