What are you reading?

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
YES!

I liked it quite a bit. The entire trilogy is completely worth reading. (I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but the journey was so good I can overlook that.)

So, the trilogy is usually referred to as "The Three Body Problem Trilogy", but I actually think of it as "The Dark Forest Trilogy". Not to throw out spoilers, but for me, the first book turns out to be just an intro, and the real sci-fi meat of the series starts hitting in the second book.
Cool. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one now.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Oh, and Ready Player Two is coming out soon. Already placed a hold on that one as well.
Just finished it.

I liked the first one better. The first seemed more organic and less contrived. I also got a lot more of the references right off the bat (or they were more interesting to me).
I mean, I liked the Dungeons & Dragons, Voltron, Spielberg, and all the video game references a LOT more than Prince and John Hughes movies. Who wouldn't?
The first part of Ready Player Two seemed to be choppy, dropping in various situations, restrictions, etc., to set up the rest of the book. The latter 3/5 to 1/2 of the book was more similar to the first book and somewhat more enjoyable, but still not up to that level.

The twist at the end was pretty good, though!
 

Tetsujin

The Game Thread Dude
Just finished it.

I liked the first one better. The first seemed more organic and less contrived. I also got a lot more of the references right off the bat (or they were more interesting to me).
I mean, I liked the Dungeons & Dragons, Voltron, Spielberg, and all the video game references a LOT more than Prince and John Hughes movies. Who wouldn't?
The first part of Ready Player Two seemed to be choppy, dropping in various situations, restrictions, etc., to set up the rest of the book. The latter 3/5 to 1/2 of the book was more similar to the first book and somewhat more enjoyable, but still not up to that level.

The twist at the end was pretty good, though!
It seemed well written enough but it largely seemed like the only reason this book exists is because the author saw Spielberg make a boatload of money with Ready Player OneAnd decided he wanted another cut.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Cool. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one now.
Read, I guess, the "prequel" book of Ball Lightning - reads somewhat similarly to The Three Body Problem (and given the same author, that is obviously expected), but being a standalone book it "wraps up" this story. The exposition at the end was excessive, but the mystery of ball lightning was very interestingly explained (in a totally made-up way) that made the book a bit of a page-turner to see what was going to come of it. And there are some subtle ties to his other works.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Read, I guess, the "prequel" book of Ball Lightning - reads somewhat similarly to The Three Body Problem (and given the same author, that is obviously expected), but being a standalone book it "wraps up" this story. The exposition at the end was excessive, but the mystery of ball lightning was very interestingly explained (in a totally made-up way) that made the book a bit of a page-turner to see what was going to come of it. And there are some subtle ties to his other works.
I'm on a roll - just finished Supernova Era by the same author tonight (and borrowed The Dark Forest to start digging into). Supernova Era is easily the most accessible book of his I've read and progresses quickly to the story. It is a standalone, with no ties to the other books he has written. The book is about a cosmic event (supernova) that kills off all those above the age of 13 on Earth in less than a year and basically follows the next 3± years about how the adults tried to prepare the children of various nations to run their countries and the inevitable conflict that follows when the adults are gone and the children run the world.

The book is a bit of a Lord of the Flies parallel in that respect, but also has some elements reminding me of plot points or issues in Ender's Game and Ready Player One.

Avoiding spoilers -> I guess the main "conflict" in the book was somewhat....strange to me, as was the conclusion of the story. The author tries to lay out reasons why these events might be plausible, but I find that many of the 13 year-olds in the book are way too precocious and the conflicts and challenges a bit far out. I guess some of it could be driven by the adults passing information on to the remaining children before they died, but it still seems pretty out there. There is also something that pops up early in the story to help the Chinese children manage to get through the early time immediately after the adults are gone, but then this plot point mysteriously disappears from the story. I thought it would play a larger role throughout and am kind of baffled why it was dropped.

In any case - this was a much quicker read for me than the other two books of his I've read and if you want to try something by this author to get a feel for his writing style and approach (China-focused sci-fi, heavy on the sci at times), this might be a good place to start.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Cool. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one now.
Just finished The Dark Forest and have the final book of the trilogy on reserve, but it will probably be a few months until it is available.

I liked it better than The Three Body Problem - like @Capt. Factorial said, the first book essentially just sets up what follows and this story is definitely more interesting and entertaining. The first half of The Dark Forest is still too long/tedious though, at least for my tastes. Get to the point, man! You don't need to spend 10 pages on what can be covered in 2.

Also, I still find some of his writing/plot points a bit obtuse or strange, but maybe more of this will pull together in the final book? His writing is definitely unique in my experience and I enjoy it for the strange ideas he comes up with, if nothing else.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
I've been accumulating a few books from Amazon on the Kindle (one of the Prime freebies every month I pick up when something actually looks interesting) and I just polished off one of them - Interference by Brad Parks. A pretty easy read, it is a decently-written thriller that has a few twists and turns along the way and just enough quantum theory that non-science people shouldn't be turned off but adds to the plot of the book. Some parts were a little predictable, but for the most part it kept you guessing as to what is really going on.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Just finished How to Become a Federal Criminal by Mike Chase - a lighthearted read about some of the funny federal laws that are on the books. This is the guy who does @CrimeADay on Twitter, who is a very entertaining follow. Funny jokes and entertaining sketches/diagrams are sprinkled throughout.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Just finished The Last Resort by Susi Holliday and I wasn't impressed. It was one of those Amazon Prime monthly freebies I tried. The story has some interesting parts, but the plot is kind of all over the place and the "baddie" character is just kind of out there and unrealistic (to say the least, not spoil anything in case someone else ends up reading it). Not recommended.
 
The last two books I read are The Shephard's Life and English Pastoral, both by James Rebanks. They are about life on Rebanks' small farm in England. Both are pretty similar, but book two gets into some of the challenges of modern farming and the application of economics to farm life. Really enjoyed them.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Just finished The Dark Forest and have the final book of the trilogy on reserve, but it will probably be a few months until it is available.

I liked it better than The Three Body Problem - like @Capt. Factorial said, the first book essentially just sets up what follows and this story is definitely more interesting and entertaining. The first half of The Dark Forest is still too long/tedious though, at least for my tastes. Get to the point, man! You don't need to spend 10 pages on what can be covered in 2.

Also, I still find some of his writing/plot points a bit obtuse or strange, but maybe more of this will pull together in the final book? His writing is definitely unique in my experience and I enjoy it for the strange ideas he comes up with, if nothing else.
So I just finished the trilogy, having read Death's End. I have a hard time putting my impression of the author and his works into words. His sci-fi approach is unlike any other I have read and that alone is interesting and new. His scope and breadth of topics and ability to weave micro and macro together is unlike anything else I have come across. And the scope of this trilogy is truly vast.

But....I don't find his writing style to be as compelling. He seems to gloss over things that seem like they should be more important or interesting. He delves into technical detail on things that I'm not sure deserve it. And the book is long and sometimes fairly mundane.

His ideas are fresh and different. I'm glad I read it. But I'm pretty sure that unlike Dune, or Ender's Game, or The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, or other series, this isn't one I'll likely read again.
 
I just finished reading a collection of Shadowrun stories(I'll grab the name if anyone interested). All through them there were simialr names, places, etc. I thought it was just a coincidence and the fact they were writing about the same world. After finishing the last story I think they are actually all telling the same story from a different time/perspectives. I am going to re-read it agian.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
After finishing the last story I think they are actually all telling the same story from a different time/perspectives. I am going to re-read it agian.
That reminds me of the Ender's Game series of books by Orson Scott Card, in case you haven't read it. He actually tells the same story from the POV of a couple of different characters in that series.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Well, I see I forgot to add Foundation's Fear (Gregory Benford) a while back, and now I just finished Foundation and Chaos (Greg Bear). These are the first two books of a trilogy written in the Foundation universe, but by other selected authors by the Asimov estate. While I don't find them quite as compelling as the books by Asimov, they attempt to fill in gaps in or details of the story told in the overall series. I wouldn't bother with them unless you read the Asimov books and are interested enough after that to delve into a few details a bit more. Not bad, but not critical reading by any means.
 

Tetsujin

The Game Thread Dude
I’ve spent most of my downtime during my surprise extended stay in the states reading Viet Thanh Ngugen’s The Sympathizer.
While it certainly does suffer from debut novel syndrome at times, the book reads like a Hemingway book if Hemingway were a Vietnamese American and not an alcoholic womanizer.
 
How the internet happened: from Netscape to the iPhone.

We’re pivoting to the crypto phase of the internet. Best way to predict what’s coming is to see what came before it.
 
Fixed it for you. ;)

There is definitely a segment of that in the sh*tcoin portion of the space. But the technology and especially the defi ecosystem is something that all financial institutions will be adopting. My opinion, there will be different things that come out of it--currency, commodities, securities, app stores, next gen exchanges (especially in the auto market maker innovation), collectibles...

Has been a life changing play (less in cryptos and more in the crypto infrastructure) for me over the last year and think the upside is still crazy if you play in the right space.