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Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
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You know, Tonyblack, have you ever read the Doctor Who novel (a two-parter) Interference, by Lawrence Miles? Or the related Faction Paradox spinoff? In both, they have the concept of the Remote, a group of engineered pseudo-human soldiers who were originally created as an army for Faction Paradox. They're basically a satire of how easily humans are led by the media, as not only are they directed to some degree by media receivers implanted into their skulls, but they reproduce by 'remembering' those who died and those memories are basically distilled into a pseudo-clone of the original (one Remote, called 'Compassion', was so-named ironically because her original self, Laura Tobin, used to sarcastically remark that her very name was 'compassion': in a twist of irony, not only does she become the Doctor's companion, she actually becomes a living TARDIS...it's complicated).

In a sort of encyclopaedia for the Faction Paradox spinoff, The Book of the War, it explains why the Remote have those receivers (to make them unpredictable when used to fight the Time Lords) and why it was a disaster (during one of their first battles, the Remote troops, inspired by movie-style charges, basically charged off into battle, Leeroy Jenkins-style, with predictable results). Ironically, while the Time Lords did their best to wipe out the Remote, one of their most devastating weapons wasn't killing the Remote...but rendering them impotent. How? By reality TV. No, really.
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
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461
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Cardiff, Wales
I haven't read those, but they sound interesting. The more I read Sci-Fi the more I see it predicting the future - and the present! I think of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Montag's wife and what she passes her time at home with, which reads a lot like social media. That's just one thing - but there are so many examples.
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,152
130
2,850
I haven't read those, but they sound interesting. The more I read Sci-Fi the more I see it predicting the future - and the present! I think of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Montag's wife and what she passes her time at home with, which reads a lot like social media. That's just one thing - but there are so many examples.
Well, Nigel Kneale anticipated reality TV with The Year of the Sex Olympics.

BTW, I'm pretty sure both books I brought up are out of print. My copies of Interference are ex-library, and my copy of Faction Paradox: The Book of the War, I bought secondhand on a whim in Brighton when I was in the UK over a decade ago. However, Lawrence Miles, while something of a controversial figure in Whovian fandom, is a good writer, and he and his contributers for The Book of the War clearly had a satirical bent. Anything to do with the Remote and similar groups has some snarky remark about the modern day.
 
Jul 27, 2008
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I haven't read those, but they sound interesting. The more I read Sci-Fi the more I see it predicting the future - and the present! I think of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Montag's wife and what she passes her time at home with, which reads a lot like social media. That's just one thing - but there are so many examples.
Tony you might have a look at Snowcrash quite a few have happened or are similar to. ie rafts of people crossing oceans and seas.
Snow Crash is a science fiction novel by American writer Neal Stephenson, published in 1992. Like many of Stephenson's novels, it covers history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics and philosophy.
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,152
130
2,850
I read that one years ago. There were three things in particular that stood out in my mind from that book: an ancient language used for hacking people's minds used by a cult; a gatling gun that fires DU rounds and is called 'Reason' (as in, people have to listen to Reason); and the fact that the Mafia owns a pizza franchise in that dystopian future...and are part of the good guys, so to speak... :roflmao:
 

pip

Sergeant-at-Arms
Sep 3, 2010
8,765
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KILDARE
Starting a short story collection called Full Throttle by Joe Hill , to have a bit of horror for October. Also started listening to the Aydiobook of War of the Worlds. Its read by David Tennant who has done a great job
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
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Melbourne, Victoria
I'm currently halfway through a history of Britain during the Anglo-Saxon age. (Now there is a headache -- trying to keep in mind all the rival kings etc.) Anyway, I just in the middle of the chapter on the Vikings -- 866 and all that -- and learning why the Vikings had so much success in England and not in Francia or Ireland ... ;)

If you're curious: the Franks were more united and had more resources. France does have major rivers (Seine, Loire) that allowed the Vikings to raid, and the Franks back had sub-kings like the English, but they all acted together.

In contrast, the English kingdoms sound like they were all at each other's throats. Mercia vs. Northumbria, Mercia vs. East Anglia, Wessex vs. Sussex and Kent -- no wonder the Vikings were successful. (I'm not even counting the Great Heathen Army and their successes, particularly creating the Danelaw).

It's an interesting read, but I'm having some trouble keeping the place-names and king names straight ... still, I'm trying. :)
 

Ignisis

Lance-Constable
Aug 8, 2020
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I am currently reading 'The Science of Discworld 1 - University of Warwick' I seem to have lost me head and I am searching for a discount one at Action but helas so I interchange my reading habbits with crochetting which is very meditative!

Dear lord Rath you come across as an interesting person :) Busy one you are!
 

pip

Sergeant-at-Arms
Sep 3, 2010
8,765
21
2,850
KILDARE
Started Agent to The Stars by John Sclazi today. An odd book about a Hollywood agent representing an alien race
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
30,351
461
3,525
Cardiff, Wales
I'm currently halfway through a history of Britain during the Anglo-Saxon age. (Now there is a headache -- trying to keep in mind all the rival kings etc.) Anyway, I just in the middle of the chapter on the Vikings -- 866 and all that -- and learning why the Vikings had so much success in England and not in Francia or Ireland ... ;)

If you're curious: the Franks were more united and had more resources. France does have major rivers (Seine, Loire) that allowed the Vikings to raid, and the Franks back had sub-kings like the English, but they all acted together.

In contrast, the English kingdoms sound like they were all at each other's throats. Mercia vs. Northumbria, Mercia vs. East Anglia, Wessex vs. Sussex and Kent -- no wonder the Vikings were successful. (I'm not even counting the Great Heathen Army and their successes, particularly creating the Danelaw).

It's an interesting read, but I'm having some trouble keeping the place-names and king names straight ... still, I'm trying. :)
You might enjoy the Saxon Series by Bernard Cornwell, set just before and after the reign of Alfred the Great. It is fiction, however Bernard has done a lot of research into the period and the setting generally feels right.
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
30,351
461
3,525
Cardiff, Wales
I am currently reading 'The Science of Discworld 1 - University of Warwick' I seem to have lost me head and I am searching for a discount one at Action but helas so I interchange my reading habbits with crochetting which is very meditative!

Dear lord Rath you come across as an interesting person :) Busy one you are!
I admit to having struggled with The Science Of Discworld books. It's not that I don't love science, but I just found myself wishing the science bits would finish and Terry's writing would begin.
 

Ignisis

Lance-Constable
Aug 8, 2020
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Lol Tony ^^ it is a tough read i dare say but it does show the vast knowledge mister Pratchett had.

I am actually reading 'Luft: Chemie, Physik, Biologie, Reinhyaltung, Recht' on the side. yes... in German I am that nuts and in this book I learned that some gasses are flamable and some are explodable and this last one is called phlogiston, which on turn is used by Mr. Pratchett ... darn uber if you ask me ^^
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,152
130
2,850
Started Agent to The Stars by John Sclazi today. An odd book about a Hollywood agent representing an alien race
I read that years ago. It wasn't too bad. If I recall correctly, half the problem is that the aliens are blob monsters that smell horrible, though they're actually a decent species...
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
12,247
856
3,400
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Melbourne, Victoria
*LOL* Tony. Yes, I remember the science of Discworld books -- I have all four -- and I sometimes found my eyes had skipped whole paragraphs of science in self-defense. I like the science, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I just didn't understand it. What's wrong with me? =\

As for phlogiston -- yep! :) I've heard of phlogiston too. It's the theory scientists had for why things burned and rusted. From the ever-reliable :)rolleyes:) wiki:

wikipedia said:
The phlogiston theory is a superseded scientific theory that postulated the existence of a fire-like element called phlogiston contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion.

The name comes from the Ancient Greek φλογιστόν phlogistón (burning up), from φλόξ phlóx (flame). The idea was first proposed in 1667 by Johann Joachim Becher and later put together more formally by Georg Ernst Stahl.

Phlogiston theory attempted to explain processes such as combustion and rusting, now collectively known as oxidation, and was abandoned before the end of the 18th century following experiments by Antoine Lavoisier and others.

Phlogiston theory led to experiments which ultimately concluded with the discovery of oxygen.
Speaking of which - Lavoisier is a name that may be unfamiliar to some laymen, but life today wouldn't be the same without him. He had a large influence on both the history of both chemistry and biology. He is widely considered in popular literature as the "father of modern chemistry".

He recognized and named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen (1783), helped construct the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature. He predicted the existence of silicon (1787) and was also the first to establish that sulfur was an element (1777) rather than a compound. He also discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same.

Unfortunately, at the height of the French Revolution, he was presented with trumped-up charges and guillotined. :(
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,152
130
2,850
I know of Lavoisier and how he discovered oxygen, or more specifically, the role it played in chemistry. But from what I read, those charges weren't wholly trumped up. He got his money by investing in a tax farm, part of the ridiculously corrupt taxation system of France at the time. So even if he wasn't actually corrupt, he was probably indifferent to the corruption. Not that he deserved having his head cut off, of course...

The irony is, I think he was in a competition for poetry or writing once early in his career, and do you know who one of his competitors was? Robespierre...

For those of you curious, I read about Lavoisier and his dispute with Joseph Priestly in the book Rivals, by Michael White. I think it's out of print these days, but it's worth tracking down in the library or secondhand at an Oxfam shop/Lifeline/opshop of choice. It's about scientific rivalries over the past few centuries, starting with Newton's dispute with Leibniz and going on from there.
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,152
130
2,850
Yep. That chapter lists many of them, Leibniz is just the main focus after a certain point, though Flamsteed and Hooke get quite a bit of page space anyway.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
12,247
856
3,400
45
Melbourne, Victoria
I pre-ordered "The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain". It's due to be published next Thursday -- and then, thanks to COVID slowing down everyone's postal system, I will get it (hopefully) a week before Christmas Day, i.e. 18 December. (Ha! I hope). ;)

I'm looking forward to getting it! =D In the meantime, there are some hilarious Regency tidbits on the author's twitter account. For instance:

Regency slang includes a variety of curious words. If you hear ‘blue ruin’ or ‘strip-me-naked’ the speaker is talking about gin. A ‘gullgroper’ is a money lender. ‘To lush some slop’ means ‘to drink tea’; & a ‘Slubberdegullion’ is ‘a dirty nasty fellow’.
Or ...

Two Regency prime ministers fight duels when in office. In 1798 William Pitt faces George Tierney MP over the defence of the realm. And in 1829 the duke of Wellington takes issue with the earl of Winchilsea concerning reforming anti-Catholic legislation. Boris, are you up for it?
:mrgreen:
 
Oct 13, 2008
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Devon
I have been reading the books about the Treecats on the planet Sphinx by David Weber & Jane Lindskold.
Three in the series, A Beautiful Friendship, by David Weber & the next two with Jane Lindskold, Fire Season & Treecat Wars. These 'cats' are the rightful owners of the planet & not animals & Stephanie & her friends, Family & the adults in charge are determined to prove they are 'People' & not animals. I'll not add any more to spoil three good reads. Aimed at young adults but a good story for old adults too,:) I really enjoyed the series & hoped there were more, but as each author has their own careers I don't think so.
 

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