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comment by Devac
Devac  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are you Reading?

Adding my own two cents:

Fifteen Hours by Mitchel Scanlon - a story of a guardsman on his first deployment. It's 40k, so you know it's a tale of merrymaking and sunshine. I was afraid people oversold this book, but it turned out to be pretty dang good. TL;DR: a Vietnam war movie with an arc from FNGs to body bags, but with laser guns and space-orcs.

Chivalry and Courtesy: Medieval Manners for a Modern World by Danièle Cybulskie - it's the same author who wrote How to Live Like a Monk -- mentioned in the last thread -- who this time takes on manners, grooming, and upbringing of children. It's... hm. I didn't find it to be as good, but probably because I didn't learn all that much new stuff from it? Wholeheartedly recommend it, the substance is there, it was just a tad too introductory to someone who read some of the sources beforehand.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. You know what? It's the same problem as with Chivalry and Courtesy: I'd love this book 10-ish years ago, but now it felt like marathoning 12 straight hours of something like SciShow on youtube (neither a channel recommendation nor lifestyle idea). There's a lot of trivia on history of science that I'll probably struggle to recall in three months, and a more than a couple things that are no longer correct, but I don't regret picking it up or recommending if that's your jam or didn't do well in the science classes.

De Generibus Dicendi (On the types/kinds of speeches) by 'Iacobus Gorski' (Jakub Górski, or Jacob Mountain-like if you're into silly translations) - It's one of the first Loeb-inspired (Latin text on the left, Polish on the right) books published here, and a real treat. It's an overview of ancient and contemporary (XVI century) rhetoric, and a bit of a instructor's handbook on the topic.

I've also tried to go through Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, but it's been a fucking slog even in audiobook form.

OftenBen  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fifteen Hours is so much of what's great about 40k writing. Can't say enough good things about it.

Also I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I have always enjoyed Brave New World. Sorry you're slogging with it. I only recently found that my opinion on George RR Martins style has changed enough for me to do ASOIAF in audiobook format.

Devac  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh, I didn't mean to underplay Fifteen Hours. My approach was cautious, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Kinda makes me wish I had time and folks to play Only War with, but that's gotta wait. I'd be also interested in your takes on Horus Heresy books and 40k in general. Got any other IG recommendations?

I dropped reading GoT around the middle of book 1, in the chapter where old-ass lecher betroths his whichever daughter to one of the Starks where we get name-drops of no fewer than thirty characters and I knew this is just author trying to waste my time by putting in hooks that'll never pay off. It annoyed me enough to ignore the show by association, but maybe it'd be fair to give audiobook a go.

OftenBen  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When I say I enjoy the ASOIAF conspiracy theories on youtube as much or more than the actual main story I am pretty serious. The world is rich and deep and fans starved of new content have wrote themselves years worth of filler and fun speculation.

I definitely don't think you're undervaluing Fifteen Hours.

The Horus Heresy and Siege is entirely heavy on Space Marine and Primarch perspectives. The writers are aiming for greek myth down to demi gods and culture heros mixed with historical figures. As we have gotten closer to the end there has been a lot more inclusion of the baseline human or Mortal perspectives. There is a limited throughline from the very beginning of a few very important mortal figures that have carried into the conclusion of the heresy, and those storylines reaching maturation has been overall pretty cool.

Specifically, certain aspects of the Imperium of 40k culturally are directly determined by how the Heresy found its final conclusion. I can point to an immediate small example that on Terra in 'contemporary' 40k specifically there is a population level terror of Adeptus Astartes that was not present in 30k. That bias exists because an entire Legion of traitor Astartes spent a few weeks-a few months turning the entire population of a medium sized country into snortable, injectable, boofable drugs. The process being excruciating and extended for the victims. So a lot of what I find enjoyable about 30k is it gives the historical explanations of many different minutia of the Imperium's culture and functioning.

The second example I would point to would be the formation of the Black Templars, specifically with the ascension of the first Emperor's Champion, Sigismund. As someone who has love for Dorn and his sons, you would appreciate the absolute LOVE shown to the Fists during the entirety of the Siege. I don't want to spoil too much, but in my mind the tension between the Fists focus on the material world and only taking into account the hard truths of things and the open acts of divine intervention that have protected their leaders and line brothers alike is SO. COOL.

The Siege is worth reading alone even if you don't feel like slogging through the entire giant heresy.

Devac  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
kleinbl00  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's fascinating to me that you find Huxley a slog. Is it the language? I don't consider it a great book but I've probably coverIIcover'd that thing three or four times just because teachers have a hard time arguing with anyone's interpretations, so it's a perfect lazy student's fallback. I once re-read it and vomited out a 500 word essay (longhand, in pen) in the six hours it took to make it home from Colorado in the back of a van.

I've never played Warhammer. I played Battletech and my cursory spot-check found their novels to be largely ghastly. That said, what ones I tried clearly owed the whole of their existence to The Forever War, which is worth being familiar with.

Devac  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Huxley is interesting, with a lot of ideas thrown from the get go, and it's more likely my current workload and family bullshit at the distance preventing me from enjoying the story. I rarely don't give a book multiple chances, so we'll see. Right now, it's flatter than my color perception, but the language isn't a problem.

re 40k: I usually recommend people start with Sandy MItchell's Ciaphas Cain books, who's pretty much Blackadder given a role of a commissar (political/morale officer) and a gun to execute morale problems. Comedy of errors/accidental hero is a good framing for grimdark.