Author Topic: The Literature Thread  (Read 2689 times)


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The Literature Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2005, 11:13:30 pm »
One of my favorite books is Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a story about three kingdoms fighting to rule China, its a very interesting book.


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The Literature Thread
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2005, 12:57:53 am »
I wish I had time to

Anyway, I think I'll try to do this by author:

Isaac Asimov
My favorite author, Asimov had hundreds of books (both fiction and nonfiction) to his name. I love how he can make just about any topic interesing, even for the less scientifically minded. His books are character-driven, with great results. Although the Foundation series is my favorite, Asimov is better known for penning the Three Laws of Robotics. I was glad to see that the movie I, Robot was worthy of the book.

Orson Scott Card
The Ender's Game series is another of my favorites. The story focuses on Ender, a child prodigy being groomed at Battle School with other children to be future generals in a coming war with an alien race. Card is great at connecting the reader to his complex characters, even the superhuman ones. His books are real page turners too.

Carl Sagan
Contact the movie is good, but Contact the book is amazing. It is a great character study and a great depiction of the different sides of the science vs. religion debate. And I am hoping to get to Cosmos sometime soon.

But alas, the only books I have time to read right now are textbooks.  :(


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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2005, 03:11:25 am »
I'll start off by naming the tie-in pieces, and then moving to independent literature.


Star Wars

The Thrawn Trilogy, Timothy Zahn
This put Star Wars on the map again, way back in 1991.  If not for this, there'd be no prequels.  It introduced Mara Jade, who rules hardcore enough for her to eventually marry Luke.  It also had Thrawn, who was pretty awesome in his own right; he definitely wasn't the despot that the Emperor was, but he almost castrated the New Republic.  Compared to some of the later novels, it wasn't that deep, but its scope was very impressive, and it laid the foundation for basically all of what was to come, including large parts of the prequels, most notably the name of the capital planet.  Zahn came up with the name Coruscant, which was far better than Lucas' original name (Had Abaddon); because of Zahn's influence, Lucas changed it to Coruscant for the prequels.

The Hand of Thrawn Duology, Timothy Zahn
Seem repetitive?  It's not, really.  It's Zahn's personal and well-written literary bitchslap to all the other authors who totally fucked up the characters.  It features an Endor-sized battle at the end, the high adventure element of the movies, spying, and a lot of reflection, most of which is done by Luke and Mara.  It also contains the long-awaited peace accord between Alliance and Empire, twenty years after the Battle of Yavin.

Traitor, Matt Stover
This book is awesome, no buts about it.  It was written by Matt Stover, who's become one of my favorite authors.  The entire book centers around Jacen Solo, who I hated with a passion prior to reading this.  Basically, he gets tortured and mind-fucked by a Jedi of the Old Republic, Vergere, who ended up with the Yuuzhan Vong and teaches a Force doctrine that's like someone mixed objectivism, moral relativism, some scotch, and a nuclear warhead.  It's hella philosophical, and it contains a lot of violence, humor, and UTTERLY DISTURBING SHIT.  Even the cameo by the previously killed Anakin Solo is funny.  Bear in mind that I was practically still in tears because they killed him, and then out of nowhere comes a giant LOL-hammer to smash me in the nuts.  It even got me to like Jacen.  If only the other authors had taken a cue from Stover.  Hell, even KJA's rendition of him was better than some of the NJO authors' versions.

The Unifying Force, James Luceno
My favorite book in the Star Wars pantheon, and quite possibly my favorite period.  It's the conclusion of the NJO, and features some uber-god Force antics, except unlike DBZ, this shit is actually awesome.  It has not one, but two massive space battles in its pages, as well as the resolution to a lot of moral questions that had been raised by the series.  It also finally gave a true farewell to Chewie and Anakin Solo.  Oh yeah, and it had Kyle Katarn in it.  Major props to Luceno for that.  He managed to wrap up basically every plot strand in a nice, neat, and highly explosive package, and even managed to rectify some of the NJO's longstanding flaws that fans had been complaining about; some of this merely involved doing a better job of writing the characters.  One example of this is his excellent rendition of Mara.  His writing for the space battles also cleared up a lot of technical issues, and part of the ultimate ending involved a living planet.  This book came out in 2003.  Guess what was in the plot development stages at the time?  Advent Children.  I'm pretty sure they stole it from this, but hell, I'm not complaining.

Shatterpoint, Matt Stover
This novel set in the Clone Wars features Mace Windu.  It's brutal, intense, gory, and deeply reflective.  This was also written by Matt Stover, whose message equated to "war is hell."  He did a convincing job of conveying that, especially in this scene where this random twelve-year old kid gets sliced in half.

Republic Commando: Hard Contact, Karen Traviss
This isn't just a Star Wars novel, it's a videogame tie-in, so it's a tie-in twice over.  And guess what?  It RULES.  The author takes military tactics VERY seriously, as did the game developers.  She got involved with the development of the Mandalorian language, Mando'a, which was used for the game and has been used in other Mandalorian-related materials.  She even went to the trouble of referencing KOTOR's Canderous Ordo.  The upcoming sequel, Triple Zero, is going to feature the squads both from the game and from the first novel, as well as the instructors and a descendant of Canderous'.  Plus, it's going to be urban warfare on Coruscant.  Could it GET any more promising?

The Unseen Queen, Troy Denning
I actually haven't read this yet, nor do I know anything about the series it's part of, aside from one thing: Jacen finally has a kid.  I fear for the universe, but at the same time, it's now a proven fact that he isn't gay.  It involves some very old Star Wars issues, some of which were crafted from the NJO era and some of which have been standing since its origin.

Other Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Lord of the Rings Saga, J.R.R. Tolkien
I'm including The Silmarillion with this, even though it's technically wrong to do so; they take place in the same universe, so blah.  It was basically the first truly lasting modern epic.  Notice that I use "modern" rather than contemporary; Star Wars takes the latter title.  The only real issue I have with it is that I prefer to rely on my own effort rather than faith, though I'm pretty convinced that something's watching out for me, considering all the shit I've done that should have gotten me in trouble.  I'm also unsure who to give credit for the Battle of Hoth scenario to.  Jackson's visual depiction of the Battle of Pelennor Fields was clearly inspired by the Battle of Hoth, but on the other hand, Lord of the Rings came first.  So who gets the credit?

The Once and Future King, T.H. White
OK, so I'm using this as a catchall for the Arthurian legend, but hell, it was pretty damned good, and basically the only required school reading that I ever liked.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling
I'm only giving props to this because it stopped me from eating about 50 other clarinetists last year, but it was pretty good.  Though I don't find it cocaine-like as I do Star Wars, I can understand why a lot of people do.

The Odyssey, Homer
You've got to give props to the originals, much as the original Zelda often appears in "best n games" lists, but the fact is that this story is pretty good on its own merits.  It's the origin of basically every staple of fantasy known to mankind: great beasts, gods, weird x-zones that fuck with your senses, and scantily clad chicks for no damned reason.

The Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft
You'd be remiss if you didn't mention this, but especially on a Chrono forum; Cthulhu was much of Lavos' inspiration.  It was freaking scary as hell, moreso than most of Edgar Allan Poe's stuff, at least to me.  Cthulhu also served as the basis for Eternal Darkness' Ancients.  They even admit this in the game with various veiled and open references to Lovecraft's works; often, when one examines bookcases in eras after Lovecraft's life, his works are present in great volume.

The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
That said, this was awesome.  It's a poem, but its fantastical elements cannot go unnoticed.  Neither can its penchant for being made fun of.  "Quoth the server, 404" indeed.

Babylon 5: Clark's Law, Jim Mortimore
Admittedly, a lot of the B5 novels have sucked atrociously, but this was a fantastic exception.  Its character depictions were true to the show, and the original characters were highly engaging.  Its central moral dilemma resonated with issues that people face today, including abortion, capital punishment, religion, cultural differences, and imperialism.  It was gritty and had plenty of balls, and featured the wasting of planets and new perspectives on events related in the show.  Some of the stuff doesn't adhere to canon, but it's good nonetheless, and arguably even better than what's featured on the show.

Babylon 5: The Passing of the Techno-mages, Jeanne Cavelos
This novel trilogy deals with the techno-mages, some of the most enigmatic beings in the B5 universe.  They use highly exotic biotechnology to simulate the effects of classical magic.  Basically, they can do everything you'd see in any given Final Fantasy, from firestorms to lightning bolts to levitation to Ultima-esque spells that ruin people's shit.  One such spell figures centrally in its storyline.  On a large enough scale, their tech could own nearly anything.  The main character is Galen, the techno-mage character featured in the short-lived yet (IMO) underrated B5 spinoff Crusade.  The techno-mages use a master-apprentice training situation similar to that of the Jedi, and Galen's master is depicted as being Elric, the first techno-mage ever to appear on the show, back during its second season.  The trilogy's storyline was like Star Wars' NJO, in that it was the first to do something truly unconventional within its environs.  But, as it was written by one author instead of many, its characterizations are more consistent.  Interestingly, the author that wrote this also wrote The Science of Star Wars, which was a step on the way to Curtis Saxton's Technical Commentaries.


Maddox's book
Well, he made it, so I'm preemptively putting it on my favorites list, because it's guaranteed to rule.

When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, George Carlin
George Carlin just rules.  End of discussion.

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Yeah, it's essentially an excuse to promote her philosophy, but at least her philosophy's a decent one.

The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss
Classic book of science fiction analysis.  It doesn't get much better than this.

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
This set the standard for all pop-science books.  My favorite quote from it is where his publisher told him that for every equation he puts in, half his readers are scared off like little pussies.  Absolutely priceless.

The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
This is like A Brief History of Time: The Next Generation.  Even though I have some beefs with string theory that I don't think have been explained well enough, the book does a good job of explaining it.  Oh yeah, and its cover art utterly kicks ass.

America: The Book, Jon Stewart
This book is evil enough that my mom told me I was going to hell for reading it.  Yeah, it's that good.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens
I guess I'm one of the few people in my class that appreciated this book, but my class was full of faggoty buttfucking pussies.  Mark Twain was EXTREME!

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2005, 06:13:25 am »
Oooh, the Terry Pratchet books! Has anybody read the Science of Discworld? Is the ultimate


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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2005, 08:32:14 am »
Hell's Angels by (the late great) Dr. Hunter S. Thompson - More awesome real life experiences of Hunter documenting the American underworld/subcultures. Drugs, bikes, and people gettin' stomped. It's a very interesting read.

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas also by HST - Pretty much the movie only the ending's kind of different and, of course, there's more in it...Goodness! :D

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - One of the best fiction narrators in the biz. Read it because it's fun to read. Car dealer goes crazy and regular Vonnegut madness.

Slaughter House Five also by KVJ - Yeah, just as good as Breakfast of Champions...only w/crazy time travel elements...and, i'm great at explaining books!

The Talisman by Stephen King - Probably my favorite stand-alone King book and one of my favorite books. It's the story of a kid's adventure between two worlds in an effort to save his dying mother and the dying queen in an alternate, parallel world. It's the story of a boy who grows and becomes more than just a boy.

The Dark Tower Series (1-7) also by SK - My favorite series of SK books (ok, it's the only series of books of his I've read, but, w/e). The gunslinger goes throughout all of the worlds in an attempt to reach the Tower, the nexus of all time & space. He sacrifices everything and in the end, learns from his past mistakes. Or does he? dun dun dun! Read it if you like books at all.

The Hobbit by Tolkien - So much better than the LotR that I can't even believe it didn't get a movie first...or now...or w/e...>_>


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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2005, 09:37:00 pm »
Gordan Korman writes pretty good books. But my favorite author is James Patterson, my favorite book is maximum Ride. I t is a book about children who were tested on when babies and so they can fly. It is either Fantasy or Science Ficton.


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« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2005, 01:52:37 am »
Wow... too many to name...

Catch-22 - Reminded me a lot of M*A*S*H (the movie and/or tv show).  Funny, but was hard to follow on occassion.

The Phantom of the Opera - not many people actually read the book; they just watch the play/musical/movie instead.  However, the book is an incredible read, and this stands out as one of the few books I've ever cried at.

The Ender's Game Quartet - excellent series of science fiction books that's more than just action.  It's a philosophical thriller rather than an action story, and is all the stronger for it.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" - all five books of this are awesome.  Now, I wil say that the first couple are better, but it remains funny until the end.

Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove - Really great book of alternate history based on one turn of events: The Spanish Armada was not defeated by the British Navy, and successfully invaded and conquered England.  It focuses on Shakespeare and his part in a plot to reinstate Elizabeth as Queen of England.  Sounds far-fetched, but is a great read nonetheless.

Articles of the Federation - most people wouldn't consider a Star Trek political drama to be a good book, but it was an awesome book.  Too bad it came after a 9 book TNG series, at least part of which was required for the book.

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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2005, 06:36:00 am »
A few books I read for English class:
You Dont Know Me by David Klass
Deadly, Unna? by Phillip Gwynne
Fortress by Gabrielle Lord

and another book recommended by Zaper:
The Outsider by S.E. Hinton


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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2005, 07:34:38 am »
How the fuck has nobody mentioned either Terry Brooks OR Robert Jordan, the kings of modern fantasy? Wow.

Well, Terry Brooks' Shannara (arguably the best fantasy fiction ever), Landover and Word and Void books are all absolutely fantastic. Supposedly Shannara and the Word and Void series are linked, but not in explicit ways...yet. At least not inside the books. Brooks is constantly updating all of these series. Gotta love him. Also, Landover is scheduled to have a movie released based on the first book, made by several people who made the Mummy movies (great, unless the script writers also come over...o_O)

As for the books, the Shannara series are classic fantasy, except for the fact that's its based in our own world after a possible nuclear war. Picking up the pieces the humans, finding the hidden Elvish race, and developing races of their own through different happenstances (gnomes and dwarves, specifically), and finding arcaiec, demonic books that teach magic, begin living in the world of Shannara. The story-telling is unbelievable, the characters are lovable and unforgettable, and every single book is an "OH MY GOD" can't put it down til it's done fast read. Harry Potter's got nothing on this shit.

Landover is toned down a bit, based on the modern world where a lawyer from Chicago finds an ad for a magical kingdom being sold. He buys it and ends up going through a tunnel that leads him to another world based in the medieval age. He finds himself as king of the whole planet, and takes on the responsibilities as such. The first two books are rather slow and harder to love, but the last three are incredibly fun and engaging.

Word and Void is...oh god, breathtaking. Dark, and based in the modern world, it's about a girl who has strange powers that are in her bloodline. The demonic world is breaking through its barrier set upon it long ago by the Elves (welll, assuming it's the same world as Shannara, which Brooks has basically said it is), and she and a warrior of the Word do their 'thang' and fight against it. Insane, fast-paced books that can't compare.

Robert Jordan writes the all-famous Wheel of Time series. Now if you're a fantasy fan and haven't touched these books, what the fuck are you waiting for? These books go so deep and detailed, they could challenge the Chrono series for depth and wonder; at least as far as his world, places, history and characters go. Wheel of Time is sheerly amazing, and has as much effect on me at times as the Chrono games have. The story is...ack, too deep and complex to explain. You wanna enter a whole new world and meet realistic people, who think and feel according to their individual emotions and thoughts? Pick up Wheel of Time. Don't be daunted by the length of each book (some surpassing 1000 pages), they read rather quickly, and you'll be enjoying yourself so much, you'll wish it never ended. Unfortunetely, he's only got one book left in the series, but it's looking to be huge. If you like fantasy, read these damn books. Dammit!

Also good are Redwall by Brian Jacques. If you saw the cartoon, forget everything you saw, and ditch all those impressions you had. Story-wise it isn't vastly different, but the Redwall saga needs to be read for full effect. Brian Jacques is a gifted storyteller, and though each book is rather predictable and you'll notice a trend of you-read-one-you-read-'em-all, they're all fun to read. Great, fast reads. Oh, and if you DIDN'T see the show (lucky you...), it's about animals. Now DON'T let that turn you off, because Brian does a great job of really making each species stand for something on their own. His characterization is phenomenal, and you'll have fun picturing everything in your head.


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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2005, 05:20:49 pm »
Quote from: Naz
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! Who doesn't love the works of DNA?

All the books are awesome. Much love for Douglas Adams. So much fun reading them.


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« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2005, 04:41:49 pm »
Some of my favorite literature, in no specific order;

Alexander Trilogy  by Valerio Manfredi

Aeneid  Virgil

Metamorphoses  Ovid

Illiad/Odyssey  Homer

Dragonlance Chronicles/Dragonlance Legends  Margaret Weis, Tracey Hickman

Soulforge  Margaret Weis

Faust  Goethe

Prometheus Bound  Aeschylus


Poetic Edda  Snorri Sturlesson

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  James Joyce

Divine Comedy  Dante


Musashi  Eiji Yoshikawa

And by the way CronoVolta, Mars Volta Rocks!

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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2005, 02:30:02 am »
Mars Volta do rock. They are the greatest experimental band the past 10 years.