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Messages - guessingo

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Books / Re: The Complete Borders Implosion
« on: July 21, 2011, 08:34:18 PM »
Here is another note from a guy who used to work there.

Borders is also expensive. They don't discount their hardcover books. I can get a book for $18 at Barnes and Noble. The same book is $30 at Borders. I could also go to B&N website and it will tell me if a store has a book in, if I used the Borders website it would say "yeah probably".

I remember when Circuit City was going down. I read in the paper that they fired all of their best sales people. Circuit City paid for performance. These guys made the money. So they got fired.

Is Barnes and Noble the last chain book store? Or at least the last national chain? I read an article today wondering if B&N can survive. They have large stores, which means high rent. Yet, the store is loaded with people just browsing, buying 1 cup of coffee, and/or using free internet. They may need to find a way to get people to spend money there other than just buying books. Maybe expand their cafe so people go there for lunch.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: July 20, 2011, 04:15:54 PM »
Dance with dragons is getting mixed reviews on amazon. Alot of fans don't like it. I plan to re-read the whole series before I touch Dance. I read the first 3 books in 2000. By the time I got to Feast for Crows, I forgot so much, it wasn't worth it.

It seems like its a lot easier for an author to start a series that to move it along and finish it. People get excited at the start and then are often disappointed later on. It could be that as time goes by and you work out the details your original plans don't work, it could also be that you are getting older and your views and opinions change. I believe I saw somewhere that Brandon has a detailed outline of all 10 books of the Stormlight Archive and knows where he is going. I am sure this is subject to change over time, but this sounds like a first to me. Just figuring out how to organize your notes and outlines over such a long story has to be tough. I wonder how much Peter helps with this.

Books / Epic Fantasy Best Sellers
« on: July 18, 2011, 03:53:32 PM »
I am referring to non-urban epic fantasy where the author creates a new world. Out of curiosity can anyone help me name some of the top fantasy bestsellers of the last few years. I am just curious. I think Dance with Dragons is the 3rd Epic fantasy go number 1 in the last year (Towers of Midnight, Wise Mans Fear, Dance with Dragons)

Way of Kings was #7
Terry Brooks had one in the top 20, not sure if it made top 10.
Jim Butcher had one out that was high, but I am not sure if its his epic or urban fantasy.

any others? you can go back farther than that. Not sure if the new Tolkein Books go that high anymore.

This doesn't make the book better. just curious about it.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: July 18, 2011, 03:29:40 PM »
Long Prince Quartets series by Daniel Abraham. Just finished the 4th and final book. I don't think I would have liked this when I was younger (I am 37). Now that I am getting older and I have read alot of books, I really appreciate this book. It is pretty different from alot of epic fantasy. It basically follows to sort of friends for their whole lives. The books focus on regular people. The most interesting parts of the books are how he combines the regular day to day lives of the characters with larger issues going on in the world. Some of my favorites parts are when Maati is trying to have a relationship with his long lost son, Liats strange and selfish relationship with Maati (I kept thinking... Maati kick her to the curb in the 3rd book). Otah just being a regular guy who never did anything special to become emperor. Just did the best he could. I even understand the crazy girl who almost destroyed the world in the last book. I understood why she was so damaged (her whole family was murdered when she was a little girl).

I like the way Abraham presented characters who made ambiguous moral decision or had to since the world left them with no choice, but left the read to decide how they felt about it. He didn't judge. In the first book, the cities had what seemed to be a horrific government. You had to kill your own brothers to be king of the city. If you didn't they would kill you. As the books go on, you understand why they had to do it. The king receives control of an all powerful magical beast. If there is a war or competition for ruling, then these kings can attack each other with them. This destroyed earlier empires.

This was a very unique story. It is also adds an element that I think alot of fantasy does not. It has alot of cross over to popular fiction. Most fantasy is about action and adventure. These books are really more about regular people, who have a life to live and are just trying to get buy.

Currently Read: Towers of Midnight. I know I am slow. I have been reading these books since I was 16. I did not want to read it right away since there are only 2 left. When its done, its done.

Audio Books:
 Doing a couple of non-fiction books
The History of Warfare
Why the Weest Rules--For Now
Then back to fiction, going to Audio Way of Kings. I believe it is the same people who read the Wheel of Time and they are very good.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: July 15, 2011, 06:41:50 PM »
Reading Axis by Robert Charles Wilson. Also recently finished Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International and Scott Westerfeld's Pretties.

I did not like Axis at all. The first book in the series "Spin" is becoming one of my favorite science fiction books. Generally it takes a while for a book to truly settle in for me to decide how much I like it. I may find that I burn through a book and think it is entertaining, but find that it is not memorable and I don't remember much of anything about it a few years later (RA Salvatore Drizzt books, Riftwar books), but others settle in with me over time. Spin combines the elements of an epic movie where you meet some kids who are friends and following their friendship and life to later stages in life with a fascinating science fiction backdrop. Axis bored me. I did not like it and found the ending dissapointing. The third book in the series just came out. I am sure I'll read it, but now I am skeptical that I will like it. Wilson is critically acclaimed. He is Stephen King's favorite Sci-Fi writer, so I do plan to read more of his books.

just really dissapointed in Axis, after I was stunned by the first book Spin.

Movies and TV / Re: What are you watching?
« on: July 13, 2011, 06:37:51 PM »
Falling Skies: new alien invasion TV series. It is ok. Better than most. They are trying to make it gritty and edgy. However, the edginess is pretty light. You can only go so edgy on free TV. I do like how it takes place after an alien invasion which is a nice twist.

Survivors: There are only 12 episodes. It ran on the BBC for 2 years. Takes place after a disease wipes out almost everyone in Britain. It is edgy and done pretty well. There is no conclusion to it. It ends on a cliff hanger at the end of the 2nd season. You can get it off netflicks. They have it available for online streaming.

Game of Thrones was excellent. I read the book 11 years ago, but I think it was pretty close to the book.  This show si a hard R.

Alphas: Syfy channel. turned off the premiere after 40 minutes. It is terrible.

True Blood: Pretty descent fantasy show on HBO. I have no idea if its close to the actual books. This show is a hard R.

Books / Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« on: July 01, 2011, 03:40:29 PM »
Looks like there are a couple of near future political sci-fi books that just came out. They are closer in time that Julian Comstock, but seem to be in the same tone. I have not read them yet.

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks. I would not normally jump to read a novel by an actor, but its getting good reviews on Amazon.

The Profession: A Thriller by Stephen Pressfield. This takes place around 2040 and it projects the increase in power of multi-national corporations and wars over oil. Pressfield is one of my favorite authors. He mainly writes historical fiction. He uses a really unique first person removed technique. The first person character is telling the story about a more important person and is a part of the story.

I read his ancient greek stories and they are stunning. He wrote a book about the Battle of Thermopylae that brought ancient Sparta to life. His first person character was a slave in sparta who discussed famous people from history. The Spartans had a brtual society. If you saw the movie "300", this is the non-comic book, what really happened story. Just note, the Spartans were not running around in their underwear. They had a huge technological advantage in weapons, training, and fighting style.

My favorite book by Pressfield was Tides of War which ironically is his least popular book. It is a very complex story. It is about the Peloponesian War. This was the 25 year war between Athens and Sparta. He does a terrific job of showing the contrasting cultures of Sparta and Athens. Athens was a democracy and Sparta was a brtual warrior culture. However, women in Sparta had far more rights than in Athens (they were rarely allowed to leave the house). In Sparta women would humiliate men who did not train well. The main character in the story is the guy who George Lucas should have based Anakin Skywalker on (you have to read the book, he is very complicated).

He wrote a book called The Afghan Campaigh which is about Alexander the Greats attempt to conquor afghanistan and essentially did it to mirror our own issues in Afghanistan today.

I never read his most popular book (The Legend of Baggar Vance), it is supposed to be  much better than the movie. I have been told its not even really about golf. Its about over coming obstacles.

Sorry about rambling... he is a terrific author.

Books / Re: Review: Julian Comstock
« on: June 10, 2011, 03:52:03 PM »
I really liked Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. The one thing I didn't like about it was that he didn't really understand what it meant to manage a federal government science project. He made the same genious mistake you see in entertainment alot. One person is a genious, so they put him in management, but he has the manerisms and actions of the singular research scientist. I see these mannerisms since I have worked on large government projects (as a contractor). It's not a huge issue, but is common. Same thing when you take a smart scientist and he runs a big corporation. Doing research and running a business are each full time jobs and require different skills. The mannerisms and how people act are different.

That being said, it was a fantastic novel. I like his writing style and his characters plus the overall concept was fascinating.

It is the first book in a 3 book series. I did not like the second book at all. The characters were not as intersting and it seemed like only the beginning and ending mattered. Plus the ending was not really interesting. I am getting the impression that this is one of those things where the big vague idea you see in the first book is fascinating, then when he reveals the details later on, it loses its luster.

 I believe Stephen King said Wilson is his favorite science fiction author.

I hope to get a chance to read Julian Comstock sometime later this year.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: June 01, 2011, 06:54:46 PM »
Reading the first Long Prince Quartet Book. got halfway through and bought the next 3. Very interesting book. I see why so many people (including other fantasy writers) like it.

finished the 3 Ken Scholes books in his eventual 5 book series. Interesting world and ideas. It is post apacalyptic. So there are machines and magic. He reveals a little about the world at a time which is good. I like that he keeps the books to 400 pages, but I think he is trying to accomplish too much in those pages. The 3rd book ends with the rising up of a peasant hero (you don't see this until the 3rd book). Its a bit of a twist, but the same motiff. They are pretty good, but not great. The best part of the books is not the plot or the characters, but the tidbits you learn about the history of the world.

Movies and TV / Re: game of thrones series
« on: May 20, 2011, 03:47:03 PM »
this is a very good series and the ratings keep climbing every week. It has been so long since I read Game of Thrones I am not sure what changed. I have to go look. I think its pretty close. They are not sticking strictly to the viewpoints of the book. There was a discussing between Robert Baratheon and Cersei that I don't think was in the book, but is in the tone of the book.

One of the episodes dropped a ton of background detail, so not alot happened that episode. They have been good about giving pieces of information about the world in the show without just dropping it so the show does not bog down.

This is the kind of show that gets more interesting as you get to understand the characters. I think there is a good chance the ratings will continue to rise as the season progresses. They already approved Season 2. So there will be more.

Movies and TV / Re: The Hobbit Movie
« on: May 06, 2011, 02:53:33 PM »
I think there are 2 movies. The first will be the hobbit, the second will be an original movie that will bridge the gap between the hobbit and lord of the rings. I don't know how much Tolkein wrote about this, so alot of the content may be original.

Books / Re: Peter Orullian's first book
« on: May 06, 2011, 02:46:38 PM »
I don't remember the url to his website. just google his name. its on there. Parts of the map were a little blurry in the book.

Movies and TV / Re: The Hobbit Movie
« on: April 18, 2011, 03:10:21 PM »
I think filming has started on this. I think the first film is out christmas 2012.

Movies and TV / game of thrones series
« on: April 18, 2011, 03:06:37 PM »
So what did people think? It has been 10 years since I read the first 3 books, so I am not 100% sure if the first episode followed the books real closely. I think it did. I thought it was pretty good. Martins books take time to draw you in. They don't have a really exciting opening sequence that draws you right in. So hopefully HBO will get fans to stick with it long enough to get sucked in.

The girl they chose for the older Stark daughter does NOT look 13 at all. She is like 17-18 and looks it. It would probably be difficult to find a girl that young to play that kind of role (I can't remember if it is Sansa or Arya its been so long since I read the books I have them mixed up).

I thought the dothraki fight sequences at the wedding were typical TV dance fighting and was not impressed. It was obvious they were fake fighting.

In general I liked it. However, I do not know if I would be enamored with it if I was not a fantasy/sci-fi fan.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Im pissed about stormlight archive.
« on: April 14, 2011, 01:41:53 PM »
Lengths in a series are subject to change. As Brandon works out the story, lots of things he has outlined may change.

Your probably looking at 15-20 years for it to be finished. Since Brandon wants to write other things. He is not a 1 series author.

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