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All about books!


I haven´t read anything by George R.R. Martin before so The Sandkings was a nice surprise. I guess the best way to tell it is him is the naming of the characters. Some of those names sure have to have come from the mind who thought up “Tyrone Lannister” and such.
It´s a tale about a god complex, treatment of animals and I guess also responsiblity over children and them growing up when you think about it.

It´s set on a distant planet colonised by humans in the future, I guess (looks like he has more stories set in that universe) and is about a very cruel guy who buys the titular Sandkings (intelligent bug like creatures who have a tendency to worship humans) to keep in a big tank in his home for fun. At first he wants them to have war among each other for his sake but eventually ends up feeding them friends of his. But when they break out and grow at a rapid pace chaos ensues.


Could this be the same universe as in Tuf Voyaging? I quite liked that one.


Yes, that seems to be one of those.

It also seems that Sandkings was the first episode of the 90s Outer Limits, though it seems to differ greatly from the story.


Having had a couple of weeks without any interesting books on hand (I already had to resort to reading one I got as a present), I stumbled across this little bit about Jack Vance (in German, sorry):

Having liked his prose and wild imagination in the Dying Earth stories, I ordered a couple more of his books. Too bad they’re only available used …

I’ve also got an appetite for some good ol’ Sword & Sorcery stuff, along the lines of Dragonlance, perhaps. Any recommendations?


I was very disappointed to find that there were at least five minutes of English in there. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Nah, it’s cool. I didn’t know Vance wasn’t popular in Germany.)


The bit where they interviewed his son. Yeah, I’d totally forgotten about that.

I can’t remember I ever heard of him until two or three years ago. And that wasn’t on a German forum. Though most of his work has been translated and was available in Germany at some point in the past. They’re out of print now, but so are many of the originals.


The Function of Dream Sleep by the late great Harlan Ellison deals with the idea of dreams being there not to remember but to forget. That is all I can tell, check it out for yourself if you can!


The Ice Man by Haruki Murakami reads like a melancholic fairy tale. In essence it seems to be about being uprooted in foreign places in someone elses circle of friends in a relationship. There is also a theme about the past and a standstill in the present that the titular ice man seems to stand allegoric for. Brief but touching.


I feel like I want to get into using audio books, but I also feel like this is cheating somehow


It’s not. It doesn’t necessarily work for me, but definitely give it a go. :wink:


Well, it is (somehow), because the voice is producing other pictures in your head.


I don’t know about audio books, I’ve never had the willing to buy them. But I love to listen to readings of famous books on the radio.


I like listening to audiobooks during my commute, because it saves lugging a book around and is also more immersive. I’m a bit slow though - I’ve been concurrently listening to The Hitchhiker’s Guide and another one about sleep for a while (though they are pretty big).

I bought them as one-offs on Audible, which I think is a nice app. I like that it starts playing 30 seconds prior to where you left off - really useful.


Admitedly I haven´t read much at all by Stephen King past 1993 and the collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes so luckily The Man in the Black Suit was new to me, even if it wasn´t that special.

It´s about a boy who has a chance encounter with the devil he barely escapes from but is haunted by for the rest of his life. The portrayal of the devil as a man in a business suit seems to be informed by his recent incarnation as shop owner Leeland Gaunt in Needful Things.

The most typical King-ish element is linking the supernatural with the very real horror since the devil scares the boy with telling him his mother died by the sting of a bee which in reality had taken the life of his brother years earlier (the story is set in a rural place in the 1800nds so death by bee sting would have been a very real thing).

This was the second to last story I had been looking for with any curiousity. All that is left now is something by Neil Gaiman apart from that all the other authors in this collection are unfamilliar to me so I´m still in for surprises positive or negative. Only one and a half decades (half of the 90s and the naughts) left!


My favorite Stephen King novel is Lisey’s Story, probably followed by From a Buick 8.

I also definitely enjoyed that one.


Feeders and Eaters is a story by Neil Gaiman that was selected for The Weird collection. With him being an obvious cat lover (as comes through in almost all of his stories) this story features a surprising intense sequence of cat cruelty. But it is a real nasty tale in general, I certainly didn´t expect it to go down such a gory route!

In general I must say though, that the more recent the stories in this anthology are the less interesting I find them. I´m at around 2002/2003 now (it goes up to one story that was published in 2010) and it seems to me that in general writers had a more direct approach to story telling in the earlier years, especially in the 30s and 40s. Starting from the 70s on there is a great tendency to put very simple plots into a very abstract language. Sure it seems poetic and all, but what is told with it doesn´t often seem worth it. Not everyone can be a Ray Bradbury that´s for sure.

Still I´m going to finish this (about 15 stories left) and then I´ll get back with my overall impression.


On the subject of Stephen King and Audiobooks, I recently finished 11-22-63 in audiobook form, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the reading style of the narrator, and was especially pleased to listen to the afterward read by the author himself at the end. A gripping story, based on significant research King did into the assassination of Kennedy.


I loved that book :slightly_smiling_face: At the time I was starting to go off King a bit but this one was such a good concept and gripping, like you say. I couldn’t put it down.

I did not enjoy the series!


Wasn´t that a show, with James Franco or something?


Yes sorry, that’s what I meant.