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Three war forecasts (click) courtesy of financial sense.

Actually, reminded me of two of my favourite books by Neal Stephenson:

Snow Crash

and

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

I'll give these a go when I have the time. I read Cryptonomicon quite a few years ago and found it to be excellent. Anyone else recomend any decent contemporary fiction (or fact for that matter) on what our future may hold for us? Anything that gets me away from the herds "This is how the world works" status quo mentality, to something more accurately recognising the state of flux would be greatly appreciated.

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Guest Bart of Darkness

I stumbled on this quote from Ray Bradbury quite recently:

The current science fiction writers are a bunch of jerks. As for cyberpunk, it's crap -- you can't read it. (Brown Daily Herald, March 24, 1995.)

What's your take on that Durch? Has RB gone down the "old fart" path or does he have a point?

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Also recommend all Iain M. Banks' 'Culture' novels.

I second that, but also suggest that it includes anything by Banks, with or without the middle M...well perhaps not Song of Stone or Canal Dreams...

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I second that, but also suggest that it includes anything by Banks, with or without the middle M...well perhaps not Song of Stone or Canal Dreams...

The wasp factory. and only that. Everthing else he has done is shite. Very immature writer imo.

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I second that, but also suggest that it includes anything by Banks, with or without the middle M...well perhaps not Song of Stone or Canal Dreams...

The authoress "Rosie M Banks" was a character in many PG Wodehouse books. She wrote books.

Haven't found any to read yet.

Nor have I managed to find Whiffle's "Care of the Pig". Essential reading I'm told.

Blandings Castle and it's array of perfectly formed characters. The perfect escape from reality....

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Three war forecasts (click) courtesy of financial sense.

Actually, reminded me of two of my favourite books by Neal Stephenson:

That's probably because it is a story. In the opening we are presented with a scene a chaos (in Brazil). We are invited to draw conclusions from this situation (need for stronger state, elimination of apathy). We are then encouraged to apply these conclusions to a completely diferent situation (Iran). We get the possible resloution to that supposedly similar problem (war in Iran) We close out with the suggestion of a new rediscovered traquility suggesting that the war will bring about peace.

It's a beautifully crafted peace of propganda, lots of it going about these days.

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http://dieoff.org/page67.htm

this is quite interesting and was written in 1994, when i first read it i thought it was far fetched. i'm not so sure now.

oh dear now i'm starting to feel apocolyptic! things must be bad!

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Guest mattsta1964

Not anyone else, but I'm reading Vernor Vinge's newest book, Rainbow's End - I would recommend every book he has ever written. Genius foresight.

I'm going to read Accelerando by Stross which everyone recommends to me, which I found free on the web, but I hope some people might buy the book to reward his generosity. I'm certainly buying his next.

Old-but-great mind-benders are Blood Music by Greg Bear and Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.

EDIT: An afterthought, but by no means least, everything written by Greg Egan. A brilliant mind.

Finally, Stories of your Life by Ted Chiang, especially the story "Understand" (found free on the web).

One of my favourite writers, who seems to have a unique and very amusing take on the folly of mankind is Kurt Vonnegut

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Please list any great books that have affected you. No need for them to be related to HPC.

Hardly original I know, but IMHO 1984 has to be one of the best books of all time. It's the ultimate expression of polital cynicism and gets truer by the day.

If I may:

Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'

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'Zodiac' by Neal Stephenson has a quality militiant eco nut

'This Other Eden' by Ben Elton has a great solution to global warming. 'Gridlock' by same author if into cars.

'Sick Puppy' by Carl Hiaasen makes you wish you had no impulse control, funny.

'Times Arrow' by Martin Amis makes your head spin

'Nymphomation' by Jeff Noon - The Lottery in the future (a bit txt msg)

Most Alistair Reynolds books are accomplished sci-fi. William Gibson for cyberpunk. Ian M. Banks' culture is the way the world should be. Peter F Hamilton's space operas continue from where Banks' culture left off, with a rather horrific component - Essential for anyone who likes big sci-fi.

My possible favourite: 'Only Forward' by Michael Marshall Smith (possibly the best story in the world if you like cats, otherwise merely brilliant). 'Spares' by the same author if interested in cloning

'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' by Richard Bach should be required reading for everyone.

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If you like cyberpunk then you should read the original:

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Written in the 50s it's fresher than most of the five minutes into the future stuff written today. But don't bother with any of his other books unless you like your sci-fi 50s pulpy. I introduced to a book group full of jane austen reading publishing types. One said if she'd read it when she was 14 it would have changed the direction of her life.

Edited by greencat

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If you like cyberpunk then you should read the original:

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Thanks for that. Have ordered it.

All these lists are great. I find that any book recommendation that catches my eye, I eventually read. In fact, any recommendation that sinks in, in any way, I eventually read.

One book you should seriously consider reading is Bukminster Fuller's 'Critical Path' - For me, its perhaps the most important book I've ever read. Bucky's compelling vision of how the world came to be the way it is, and how we need to preserve Spaceship Earth is a must read. It also gives some insights how the leap to the stars will probably happen.

After Critical Path, Bucky became disillusioned with politicians and wrote the 'GRUNCH of Giants', published shortly before his death. It's quite conspiracy theorist; but this theoretician was both a genius and highly respected by the establishment - he was awarded the Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan in 1981.

GRUNCH is engaged in the only-by-instrumentsreached-and-operated, entirely invisible chemical, metallurgical, electronic, and cybernetic realms of reality. GRUNCH's giants average thirty-four years of age, most having grown out of what Eisenhower called the postWorld War II "military-industrial complex." They are not the same as the pre-World War II international copper or tin cartels. The grunch of giants consists of the corporately interlocked owners of a vast invisible empire, which includes airwaves and satellites; plus a vast visible empire, which includes all the only eighteen-year-old and younger skyscraper cluster cities around the world, as well as the factories and research laboratories remotely ringing the old cities and all the Oriental industrial deployment, such as in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It controls the financial credit system of the noncommunist world together with all the financial means of initiating any world-magnitude mass-production and -distribution ventures. By making pregraduation employment contracts with almost all promising university science students, it monopolizes all the special theoretical know-how to exploit its vast inventory of already acquired invisible know-how technology.

GRUNCH stands for GROSS UNIVERSE CASH HEIST and is the sequel to Critical Path; it really needs to be read in context, but the entire text of GRUNCH is online here: http://bfi.org/node/406

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Durch is on the money with Vernor Vinge. Just wish he'd write more than one book per decade!

Durch..seconded on Iain M Banks. Read them NOW! Also check out his first novel Wasp Factory, started at 19 and l think published at 21. Dark and hilarious, he writes non sci-fi under the NDP Iain Banks (no M, that wiley fella)

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I stumbled on this quote from Ray Bradbury quite recently:

What's your take on that Durch? Has RB gone down the "old fart" path or does he have a point?

Well, Snow Crash is a quite brilliant novel. Pisses on Farenheit 451, which I found exceptionally tedious.

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Allen Carr's Easy Way To Control Alcohol - Allen Carr

&

BirdSing - Sebastian Faulks

Birdsong was one of those books which I thought I wouldn't enjoy (crime thrillers being my thing), but I always used to pick this up in the bookshop look at the back cover see the reviews think about it but end up puting it down and buy a Rebus, John Harvey etc. Eventually bought it and though it took a little while to get into I ended up loving this book and the ending - thoroughly recommended.

I have tried a few times some sci-fi/fantasy but perhaps I picked wrongly but I've had trouble finishing my picks.

Lord of the Rings - too big and the film is more appealing

Tom Holt novel which had a talking car who was a dragon / serpent ?? only managed 2 chapters

Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan - got half way through it but seemed plotless and lost interest.

Have been tempted by the DiscWorld series (must be something in it considering how many are sold) but I would like some advice on what one to start on.

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Lord of the Rings - too big and the film is more appealing

Tom Holt novel which had a talking car who was a dragon / serpent ?? only managed 2 chapters

Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan - got half way through it but seemed plotless and lost interest.

Have been tempted by the DiscWorld series (must be something in it considering how many are sold) but I would like some advice on what one to start on.

Try watching the first LOTR movie, but read the second and third books.

The first book is terribly tedious, and unfortunately puts so many people off.

The second and third books are absolutely brilliant, and they read like an action thriller.

As for DiscWorld, I'd start by reading Mort.

I'm not a great fan though, I saw Terry Pratchet at a lecture discussing DW, I wasn't impressed.

Probably better for kids...

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One of my favourite writers, who seems to have a unique and very amusing take on the folly of mankind is Kurt Vonnegut

Amen. Slaughterhouse 5 is a classic not only a Science Fiction classic. If you like science fiction anything by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick or Douglas Adams. Even the Salmon of Doubt is worth reading. Reminded me what we have lost.

If you have not read Philip Pullmans His Dark Materials trilogy yet then do it now. Destined to be a classic if ever there was. I re-read all my Isaac Assimov books recently and enjoyed them a lot.

Ian (with and without the M) Banks is always good for giggle to as is Terry Pratchett. Always a treat when he brings out a new book.

I would not attempt to defend any of the above as being great writers. Some of them are really bad writers in fact. But what does that have to do with enjoyment.

Edited by gordonbrown

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  • 336 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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