Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 192589 times)

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #225 on: May 05, 2016, 09:50:24 AM »
In another gods vs demons myth, it is explained that the gods are good because good (as an abstract concept which possess consciousness and intent) sensed their goodness and went over to them entirely, abandoning the demons to evil, which sensed the evil in the demons and similarly abandoned the gods (the gods are good because they're good, the demons are evil because they're evil), and at the end of this myth, the gods (who never lie because they're good) defeat the demons by deceiving them!

Interesting! That reminds me of the standard D&D cosmology, which also has an odd combination of a polytheistic pantheon with abstract realist cosmological concepts of Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos, expressed mostly through the alignment system). Are the good gods good because they are aligned with Goodness? Are the evil gods evil because they're full of Evilness? There's some weird tensions in that idea.

Yeah, it's quite clear in the example myths that "good vs evil" actually means "us vs them": We (Hindus) are good because we follow the true religion which the gods follow; they (Buddhists, Jainists, etc.) are evil because they follow the false religions that the demons follow.  And in D&D, many players and even writers similarly treat alignments more like team affiliations than matters of ethics or morality.  Those stories about players of "Lawful Good" Paladins arguing that exterminating an orc village --down to murdering babies in their cribs-- is a righteous act? they're real.
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Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #226 on: May 05, 2016, 10:49:28 AM »
Reminds me that I need to get back to reading the webcomic Kill 6 billion Demons.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #227 on: May 05, 2016, 02:08:23 PM »
Although I don't know when I'll get to them, here's my latest purchases from my favourite used book store:


Book Haul by Bryan Rombough, on Flickr
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The Lost Carol

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #228 on: May 12, 2016, 10:18:11 PM »
Paging Dan; and anyone else interested in Anima: (From the DTRPG newsletter:)

Quote
In particular, look for the current 30% off sale from Fantasy Flight Games on their Anima: Beyond Fantasy RPG game line because once the sale is over, on May 16, the Anima RPG will be shut down and discontinued. Sadly, it will no longer be available at all, anywhere. This is, literally, your last chance.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6/Fantasy-Flight-Games/subcategory/36_5590?src=newsletter5.12.16_scottsdesk
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PirateLawyer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #229 on: May 13, 2016, 05:00:28 PM »
Guy Gavriel Kay has a new book, The Children of Earth and Sky. Highly recommended.

Next up is Tim Powers' latest, Medusa's Web.



Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #230 on: May 25, 2016, 01:47:39 PM »
Just finished Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein took me a surprising amount of time. probably because I'd already listened to the audio book before.

Speaking of, I'm currently listening to Powers' Declare and it really does clarify how Unknown Armies works.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #231 on: May 26, 2016, 09:23:35 AM »

Latest Batch of Books by Bryan Rombough, on Flickr

Wondering when I'll find the time to read them.  With my current backlog, maybe sometime in 2018?
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The Lost Carol

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #232 on: May 27, 2016, 07:23:07 PM »
While I'm on vacation, I've been reading Road Trip, by Ross Payton.

For reasons.

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #233 on: May 28, 2016, 04:16:40 PM »
While I'm on vacation, I've been reading Road Trip, by Ross Payton.

For reasons.

http://www.technicaldifficultiespod.com

yaaaayyyyyy

RadioactiveBeer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #234 on: May 28, 2016, 04:54:03 PM »
I'm currently picking bits out of Great Parliamentary Scandals: Four Centuries of Calumny, Smear and Innuendo by Matthew Parris. It's a sort of history of British political cock-ups, from 1621 to the early 1990's and written by a former MP, so while a lot of it is very much just restating the press reports of the time there are some interesting moments during the 70's and 80's (when Parris was in the government) of "and then so and so said to me over dinner that..." that shine a light on the inner logic and workings of the political class of the time.

I picked it up after I got Bookhounds of London, to have a look for plot hooks (what might turn up at auction that powerful people might prefer not to be purchased by player characters). It's pretty interesting material for political intrigue games.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #235 on: May 28, 2016, 06:15:15 PM »
Finished Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, a 'future history' from 1931 a little while ago.  It was one of the earliest future history novels, and it's scope is quite enormous, spanning from (1931's) near future to the extinction of the "18th Race of Man" billions of years in the future.  There are a number of interesting elements - Martians invade Earth thousands of years from now, travelling across space by harnessing the solar wind.  A race of genetically-engineered superbrains are created in an attempt to create a technocratic utopia, they instead telepathically enslave the human race.  Various disasters force the human race to relocate first to Venus, then to Neptune (the surface of Neptune) and along the way, humanity develops telepathy and eventually a sort of 'supermind' and the ability to view (and eventually, communicate with) the minds of humans from the distant past.

Most of it is written in a rather dry, academic manner, which can be a bit of a slog.  Although I found the dry, detached writing preferable to some episodes early in the narrative where the actions and dialog of individual characters were described.  Some of that was just terrible.

And as with any decades-old science fiction, it's rather fascinating to see how much of Stapledon's vision of the future was mired in his "present" of 1931.

Some examples:
  • Oil is just a flash in the pan, coal will be humanity's primary source of energy for thousands of years.
  • Poison gas will remain a common weapon of war for centuries.
  • Eugenics: from the 20th century on, the "First Men" will decline in intellect as modern medicine ensures that "inferior" specimens aren't weeded out.
  • Casual anti-semitism: Hundreds of years from now, all the races will have mixed to the extent that there are no racial differences; except for the Jews, the Jews will continue to segregate themselves from the rest of the human race.
  • And the least said about the fate of those "sports" from the general population who display strong racial features, the better.
  • Casual racism: After the human race is nearly wiped out, two groups settle in different parts of the world to rebuild.  One, starting from a settlement in a temperate part of the world, produces a civilized race of large brained supermen.  While the other, starting from a settlement in a tropical climate, produces an uncivilized race of "baboon-like" subhumans.
  • Colonialism: At one point in the future, a species of monkey evolves into a sentient race, indigenous to South America & Africa.  When the large brained supermen from Europe begin exploiting the natural resources of the sentient monkey's homelands, the monkeys are "greedy" when they demand a portion of this natural wealth be left with them.
  • No attempt is made to travel to the moon or anywhere else in the solar system until it is discovered that an impending disaster will render the Earth uninhabitable.
  • More Colonialism: On Venus, the human's terraforming activities threaten the indigenous sentient Venusians with extinction.  The Venusians respond with deadly force, and after some ethical hemming and hawing, the human settlers decide to exterminate the Venusians.  This is depicted as regrettable, but necessary.  After all, since the Venusians attacked first (trying to render their planet uninhabitable doesn't count) they're clearly unreasonable.  And besides, they were an inferior species and doomed to extinction anyway.
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trinite

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #236 on: May 30, 2016, 01:39:55 AM »
Doing some additional development on my Gettysburg National Cemetery Civil War Cthulhu scenario (title: "We Cannot Hallow This Ground" -- coming to the RPPR studios this Saturday!), I've picked up more books on the subject. The highlight so far is The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Boritt, who's the head of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College and an absolute ace on the subject. I'm picking up a crazy level of detail that I'm figuring out how to work in. I'm leaning into the full Hite/Glancy mode of scenario design...
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Twisting H

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #237 on: June 03, 2016, 10:22:39 AM »
Hey Ross, this looks right up your alley.

Mentioned on Ken and Robin talk about stuff.

A Burglar's Guide to the City

http://www.latimes.com/books/reviews/la-ca-jc-burglars-guide-20160403-story.html

Quote
Manaugh argues that burglary is built into the fabric of cities and is an inevitable outgrowth of having architecture in the first place.


https://www.amazon.com/Burglars-Guide-City-Geoff-Manaugh-ebook/dp/B00V35U0TM?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&redirect=true&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect

Quote
Encompassing nearly 2,000 years of heists and tunnel jobs, break-ins and escapes, A Burglar's Guide to the City offers an unexpected blueprint to the criminal possibilities in the world all around us. You'll never see the city the same way again.

At the core of A Burglar's Guide to the City is an unexpected and thrilling insight: how any building transforms when seen through the eyes of someone hoping to break into it. Studying architecture the way a burglar would, Geoff Manaugh takes readers through walls, down elevator shafts, into panic rooms, up to the buried vaults of banks, and out across the rooftops of an unsuspecting city.

With the help of FBI Special Agents, reformed bank robbers, private security consultants, the L.A.P.D. Air Support Division, and architects past and present, the book dissects the built environment from both sides of the law. Whether picking padlocks or climbing the walls of high-rise apartments, finding gaps in a museum's surveillance routine or discussing home invasions in ancient Rome, A Burglar's Guide to the City has the tools, the tales, and the x-ray vision you need to see architecture as nothing more than an obstacle that can be outwitted and undercut.

Full of real-life heists-both spectacular and absurd-A Burglar's Guide to the City ensures readers will never enter a bank again without imagining how to loot the vault or walk down the street without planning the perfect getaway.

Adam_Autist

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #238 on: June 03, 2016, 02:57:39 PM »
Continuing my gear up for Unknown Armies I read Stolze's Godwalker. Loved it.

Next up is Jamie Delano's Lepus/ Dizzy

Tim

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #239 on: June 06, 2016, 12:40:57 PM »
In prep for a Bookhounds of London game I am planning on running (first session is this Sunday and man am I behind) I am reading The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. I would not qualify it as great but it is a fun read, sort of a beach book for the library set. I am going to have to go and watch The Ninth Gate again after I am done. I don't remember it being great so it will be interesting to see how it stands up after reading the source material.