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Author Topic: What are you currently reading ?  (Read 572209 times)
T13A
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« Reply #3525 on: 02 November 2020, 10:37:21 AM »

Hi

Just finished 'Cannae, Hannibal's Greatest Victory' by Adrian Goldsworthy. Excellent concise telling of what he thinks happened. Also a good reminder of what we actually don't know about happened and even how little we know about the organization and tactics of the Roman army at the time. It got me thinking about things I thought I knew or assumed I knew for certain over nearly 60 years of wargaming and how wargaming may have influenced those things.

Cheers Paul
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kipt
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« Reply #3526 on: 05 November 2020, 03:02:51 PM »

Finished :The Waterloo Archive; Volume II: German Sources". edited by Gareth Glover.

Liked this one more than the first British book.  More tactical detail.
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Leman
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« Reply #3527 on: 05 November 2020, 03:15:39 PM »

Terrific book by Mark Adkin called The Charge, about the Battle of Balaclava and the characters involved. Very detailed look at the battle, with extensive use of sketches, to give the commanders' perspective of what could actually be seen, maps and b/w photographs, both contemporary and what can be seen today. My only quibble is that the writing and numbers on some of the maps and sketches could most kindly be described as tiny.
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sean66
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« Reply #3528 on: 06 November 2020, 05:43:38 AM »

Just started Fangs of the lone wolf by Dodge Billingsley.
its about the Chechen tactics in the Russian-Chechen war 1994-2009.
only a few pages in so far.
Regards
Sean
« Last Edit: 06 November 2020, 05:48:57 AM by sean66 » Logged

Steve J
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« Reply #3529 on: 09 November 2020, 11:47:32 AM »

Bismarck's First War by Michael Embree. All about the 2nd Schleswig-Holstein War. Only just started but looks to be very detailed, but the build up stuff is interesting for plenty of 'what if's?'
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Big Insect
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« Reply #3530 on: 09 November 2020, 08:35:48 PM »

Just finished a sci-fi paper-back - "A Memory called Empire".
This was billed as a "space opera" along the lines of Ian M Banks* but was more of a local village panto IMHO.

The core premise was of a large space-going empire but with a humanoid Aztec (one for Ian there) or Mezo-American cultural theme- you know the sort of thing - a heroine called Twelve Azaleas etc. and a whole tech structure based on glyphs and on poetic metaphor. Interesting idea but it was overwhelming and probably took up c.60% of the actual written story and distracted from what was an interesting but almost wholly predictable plot line and end game.
Me thinks that the author was so taken up with her clever idea (all the Meso-Americanness of it all) that the actual story-line got secondary treatment.

Not one I will re-read - so it went straight into the Heart Foundation Charity recycling box.

* I should just avoid anything that gets a comparison from the critics as being like Bank's 'Culture' novels ... they usually fail to get even close.
Bank's was a master and very little comes close. Neil Asher is ok but is (IMHO) becoming a bit formulaic and Alistair Reynolds has totally lost the plot.
His Chasm City and Revelation Space books were astonishing - but the new Cyber-Punk space pirate series leaves me stone cold I am afraid.
China Melville is also another good writer - books like 'The Kraken' and The City & The City are mind-blowing.

Maybe I just read so much sci-fi - as a relaxant - that I am becoming overly fussy  Wink

Back to my The Future of War book, which is still proving to be very challenging in a good sense.

cheers
Mark
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Dragoon
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« Reply #3531 on: 12 November 2020, 12:33:15 AM »

Iím re-reading Charles Grants book on Fontenoy the dust jacket picture is the famous painting of the French Guardes Francaise drawn up in line after inviting the British Guarde to fire first.
Inside there is a good outline of the political situation in the first half of the 18th Century and the reason for the War of the Austrian Succession.
The troop movements up to the day of the battle and the battle itself.
Well worth reading for anyone interested in the Lace Wars and the European theatre.

Unfortunately there are no purpose made figures for this period with the large turn backs and lace on the wrist showing below the cuffs.
However the use of a little extra paint on the turn backs will be ok in 10mm figures. Take a look at the French Indian Wars pictures of both British and French infantry an warlord games web site..
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Regards

Mike L
hammurabi70
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« Reply #3532 on: 13 November 2020, 12:32:30 AM »


* I should just avoid anything that gets a comparison from the critics as being like Bank's 'Culture' novels ... they usually fail to get even close.
Bank's was a master and very little comes close. Neil Asher is ok but is (IMHO) becoming a bit formulaic and Alistair Reynolds has totally lost the plot.
His Chasm City and Revelation Space books were astonishing - but the new Cyber-Punk space pirate series leaves me stone cold I am afraid.
China Melville is also another good writer - books like 'The Kraken' and The City & The City are mind-blowing.


Do you think these can be considered successors to Banks?  Banks and Pratchett were the only fiction authors I have read for years, although I ought to add Cornwall at some point too.  As both are dead I read no fiction at all.
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Big Insect
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« Reply #3533 on: 13 November 2020, 11:25:27 AM »

Do you think these can be considered successors to Banks?  Banks and Pratchett were the only fiction authors I have read for years, although I ought to add Cornwall at some point too.  As both are dead I read no fiction at all.

Yes - in many ways the early Alistair Reynolds books are a potential Banks substitute:
It is worth trying to read them in the order of publications - starting off with 'Revolution Space' and 'Chasm City' especially.
But as I say the Cyber-punk Space Pirate later books are really not my cup of tea.

Asher is much more militaristic - he has the same focus on AI that the Culture novels have, and some great science, weaponry and tech but is much more about a massive series of interstellar wars. Asher is also very good at creating 'new' Aliens and his plots, although not that straight forward, are worth the time getting to grips with. 'Prador Moon' is a good starting read.

China Melville is a mix of fantasy and sci-fi - I started off with 'Perdido Street Station' and 'The Iron Council' - but 'The Kraken' is my all out favourite. 'The City & The City' got made into a BBC TV series (it was 'ok') but the book is a lot more subtle and complex.

How you replace Pratchett is a very difficult challenge.
TBF I think he was unique - the combination of comic observation, folk, legend and myth is something I have not yet found a substitute for. Lords & Ladies is my all time Pratchett favourite.

The Richard Morgan - 'Altered Carbon, Broken Angles and Woken Furies' books are also a very entertaining read - well thought out and an interesting concept.
The Netflix series are 'ok' but are only very loosely based upon the books and don't do the books justice at all.

I also tried the Alex Garland 'Annihilation' trilogy of books - this is a case where the film (another Netflix offering) is IMHO far better than the book.
The initial book is a great idea - the 2nd & 3rd are stretching the concept too far IMHO.

The David Brin 'Uplift' series is another interesting sci-fi read - 'Uplift Wars' is particularly good - but again it is worth reading these in-sequence - his idea of taking a current scientific/moral dilemma (genetic manipulation or 'uplift') and working it to its extreme is good - he is a 'proper' scientist rather than a pure creative author and that is a positive.

the 'Nova Swing' novel by M. John Harrison and the 2 other accompanying books are also a good read - more along the lines of Reynolds, but there is a 'nod' to Banks and even 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury (a sci-fi classic) in there. I enjoyed these.

However, with Banks, Reynolds and Melville I can reach for them again and re-read them - even if there is a gap of a year or 6 months and I almost always find something new in them. With many of the others I've read recently I find they are inadequate imitations.

I hope that helps .... I'd be interested to get your feedback on any of the recommendations you follow up on and read.

Cheers
Mark

« Last Edit: 13 November 2020, 11:28:01 AM by Big Insect » Logged
mmcv
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« Reply #3534 on: 13 November 2020, 03:06:50 PM »

I always loved Banks stuff. And agree that Pratchett is completely unique - I'd say I reread at least a few every year. I've got most of them on audiobook now and often stick them on. Currently working through a few of the Rincewind ones which while not always my favourite are still entertaining. There is the Long Earth series which is co-written by TP, though I suspect his involvement was more at the inception stage as it was based on a short story of his, rather than a complete co-authorship such as Good Omens.

I tried a few of the early Alistair Reynolds maybe a decade or more ago and just didn't find they gripped my interest as much as I'd hoped. They weren't bad by any stretch, just not quite what I was looking.

China Melville is interesting, I read Perdido Street Station as a teenager and really enjoyed its unusual story. I've always intended to read more, but just haven't seemed to have got around to it.

I would recommend Peter F. Hamilton if you haven't tried him before, he's in that similar grand space opera scope that Banks is. The Commonwealth Saga is particularly good, though I enjoyed his earlier Nights Dawn Trilogy too. The Void Trilogy (after the Commonwealth) is good too, it's set in the Commonwealth universe but has more of a fantasy blend (in the Jack Vance high technology magic sense).

I've not read much science fiction this year for some reason, but in the past couple of years, I remember enjoying Chris Beckett's Eden Trilogy, Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos, Orson Scott Card's Ender Series, and Greg Egans Diaspora. I used to read a lot of monthly SF on kindle, Asimov's, Clarkesworld and the like for short story SF, always lots of potentially interesting concepts in those that don't necessarily translate to full novels.
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #3535 on: 13 November 2020, 05:42:37 PM »

Try Neal Asher
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Last Hussar
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« Reply #3536 on: 14 November 2020, 12:47:54 AM »

OMG, people talking about normal books. Shocked Shocked
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I have neither the time or the crayons to explain why you are wrong.
Big Insect
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« Reply #3537 on: 14 November 2020, 08:29:36 PM »

OMG, people talking about normal books. Shocked Shocked

Sorry Last Hussar  Embarrassed
I must have book on lace frogging on mid C17th Austrian reserve Hussars breeches somewhere on my shelves that needs reading  Wink
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mollinary
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« Reply #3538 on: 14 November 2020, 08:55:13 PM »

Sorry Last Hussar  Embarrassed
I must have book on lace frogging on mid C17th Austrian reserve Hussars breeches somewhere on my shelves that needs reading  Wink

I doubt it, any fule kno that they werenít introduced until after the siege of Vienna in 1683!
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #3539 on: 14 November 2020, 09:09:07 PM »

 Rolling on the floor Rolling on the floor Rolling on the floor Applause Applause Thumbs up
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