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Top five – Books (fiction)

Image created by www.wordle.net

Image created by http://www.wordle.net


This weeks theme is books, and we are just focusing on fiction this week, we will have another thread on non-fiction in coming weeks.

My top five:

  1. Dune – Frank Herbert
  2. Gap series – Stephen Donaldson
  3. Good Omens – Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman
  4. Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
  5. Mordant’s Need series – Stephen Donaldson

As you see I have two Stephen Donaldson series in my list, but not Thomas Covenant – because I could not get over the character flaws in Thomas that occur at the beginning of the series, and so could never finish the series. Whereas I love all his other work.

Dune for me was probably the first book that I had to read without putting it down. 

And Good Omens is one that I read over and over and over – and it never fails to give me full belly laughs. Quite sadly, some friends and I have actually come up with a proposed cast list for the movie (which Terry Gilliam has been linked to but has never got off the ground).

Foucault’s Pendulum is a hard read but ultimately worth it – and is a far better story than the Da Vinci Code.

I have had to leave off books like: Hitchhicker’s, April Fools Day, New York Trilogy, Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy etc

(and what is it with me a trilogies?)

Over to you blogocrats.


118 Responses

  1. Gee, I have not read any fiction for over twenty five years…plenty of reference books on physics, science and history but I have come up with my five and the location where I read them.

    1. Lord of the Rings…Nimbin.

    2. Brave New World…Phuket.

    3. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…the horse stud.

    4. Shogun…the Himalayas.

    5. Dune…Singapore.

  2. scaper – that is so cool – “where I read them”.

    And I will put up the non-fiction thread next week, and it will be a struggle for me to narrow mine down to a top five as I have so many that I love.

  3. The wordle is missing sex…or does the word, toys cover that???

  4. The talented Mr ripley:
    The tenth insight
    The stand
    Anything to do with world war 1, 2

  5. Dune – Frank Herbert
    Dark Tower Series – Stephen King
    Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption – Stephen King (technically a short story)
    Count of Monte Christo – Dumas
    Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey

    Honourable Mentions
    Hitchikers’ Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
    The Kelly Gang – Peter Carey
    Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
    Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

  6. Lord of The Rings Trilogy
    Brave New World
    Hitchhikers Guide
    Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
    Of Mice and Men

    Honourable mention: Kafka, Camus, Russell, Orwell.
    Unsung Hero: Niccolo Machiavelli

    Most dishonourable mention: Ayn Rand, Peter Costello (yawn, still have not and will not ever read, no point), Adolf Hitler

  7. I gave up reading fiction a zillion years ago, with the last being James A Michener’s Carribean, which was superb. I then went into a phase were I read anything to do with Aboriginal Australia (another superb topic), and nowadays my books are confined to VBA and computer programs.

    Here’s a Blogocrat’s exclusive: I’ve turned into a nerd.

    Like aquanut, I’ll read anything to do with military history, as well as any anti-Howard books, of which there are many.

    Kokoda was a landmark read. It told me everything about my father that I never knew. I never knew what he had been through. Subsequently, I balled my eyes out.

  8. ‘bawled’ Miglo, ‘bawled’. You should be so lucky, lucky lucky lucky.

  9. Thankyou Oftenbark.

  10. My pleasure Miglo.

  11. hallelujah, am online!! albeit on dial up – frustrating to the extreme!!!

    anyway, despite dire predictions of doom, have reached safely and still getting over the culture shock (plus life with in laws!!)

    kids sp elder dghtr LOVING the attention of grandies and is rarely home from morn to eve…

    more later…

    oh, my top five.. in random order

    the seventh secret – irving wallace
    airport – arthur hailey
    the harrad experiment – forget the author

    and the 2 writers who have unfailingly made me the recipient of strange looks in public places

    terry pratchett and p g wodehouse.

    am currently re re re reading night watch…

  12. Miglo i agree, Kokoda made me feel like a boy reading about men.

  13. For me:

    Lord of the Rings (of course)
    James A. Michener (and so likewise Miglo), Centennial and The Source
    Bryce Courtney, The Power of One and Brother Fish
    Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (a very insightful book from the point of view of an Asperger’s)
    And my favorite: Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales. Avoid the translation (that’s no fun) and try reading it out aloud in the original English. You too can sound like a Yorkshireman ;-))

  14. Min, didn’t get through all of The Source. It was very powerful. I was blown away.

    I always wanted to write a book. Michener made me realise I wasn’t good enough.

  15. Aquanut @ 12. Well said.

  16. Me either Miglo, I don’t have the contentration span to complete writing an entire novel, plus not much imagination either.

  17. Min,

    I do, however, write great poetry. One day I might put some on a Word document and email to Blogocrats@yahoo.

  18. I would love to have that talent Miglo. Sadly not. Distinctions in law including constitutional law, but write a poem..not a hope.

  19. My favourites:

    1. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
    2. We’re all in the Gutter But Some of us are looking at the stars ( a collection of fiction and non-fiction stories from Kings Cross during the post war period through to late 80’s).
    3. Most of David Sedaris’s books but especially “Naked” and “when you are engulfed in flames”
    4. Anything by James Patterson
    5. Any of the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming

    Oh and Bangkok Haunts, which like scaper, I read while in Bankgok.

  20. Never did any reading in Bangkok…too busy living up to the name of the place…one does overindulge at a tender nineteen years of age.

  21. There are two Kokodas ( Paul Ham and Peter Fitzsimons) – which one?… and isn’t this thread about fiction – Kokoda is “absolutely” about non-fiction…?

    Both books of which (Sparta if your reading), I highly recommend -Paul Ham is one of our best military historians (he seems to understand “soldiers” of all ranks – and Peter Fitzsimons writes as a “distant admiring observer” (my italics) who tries to capture the moment…both good but PH, is, IMO more militarily precise…but they should be read in conjunction for a “whole” picture…

  22. TB, I read the Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimons. Although he’s not a great writer he still manages to spin a good yarn. I’m currently reading Ham’s Vietnam and I rate him much higher than Fitzsimons.

  23. 22. Miglo

    Agree, Miglo, I suggest (in my library and read) to you and others:

    The Great War – Les Carlyon
    Gallipoli – Les Carlyon
    Tobruck – Peter Fitzsimon
    Kokoda – PeterFitzsimon
    Kokoda – Paul Ham
    Vietnam The Australian War – Paul Ham – in particular Chapter 14 Nashos – p171 “The nashos were brighter, on average, than the voluntary recruits, and (sic) lent colour, irreverence an, in some cases a touch of glamour to the Australian Army.”

    and “…The nashos dared to ask questions, too…it made better infantry leaders of all we regulars…” (Just a personal bias…confirmed by an historian)

  24. Oops! Sorry, joni just realised I was way off thread and realised I had chastised others for the same…Miglo’s fault, he can deal with blame, I’ve read all his posts… 😉

  25. Naughty blogocrats…. those books are looking like non-fiction!!!!!

    geeze louise

  26. I read the book, the Happy Hooker when I was forteen…that does not qualify because it was educational material I suppose.

    It is buried in a time capsule at the Cranbrook sporting oval in Sydney…the reunion was a few months ago which I did not attend…I bet they all forgot.

  27. Rendezvous with Rama: Arthur C. Clarke
    Dune: Frank Herbert
    Catch 22: Joseph Heller
    It: Stephen King
    Hyperion: Dan Simmons

  28. Scaper, that must have been around the same time that I read Portnoy’s Complaint.

  29. Nasking @ 27.

    What! Only 5?

  30. Miglo, it could just be…at the risk of going any further off topic…the person at Cranbrook was a pretty hep cat as far as movies were concerned.

    We watched Easyrider and Clockwork Orange amongst other eye opening offerings.

  31. “What! Only 5?”

    leaves time enough for love…:)

  32. Nasking @ 31.

    Are you suggesting that the next week’s Top 5 should be the subject of lovers?

    If so, I’d better start some eliminating.

  33. Golden books, hustler there all the same

  34. Got a full face mask.Talk about luxury, it has voice system,valve system for ear pressure, unbreakable glass and a built in tourch and laser(wow dose this thing play pac-man too).
    It was bought for me from the usa navy diver assoc for the work i did overseas months after the tsunumi to recover as many people as possible.
    This is a big thing for a person like myself to be noticed by the best in the ocean.
    I should feel like a man for a week after this. Arrr

  35. Oops this was ment for weekend thread.

  36. Golden Books LOL. Next somebody will be coming up with Wide Range Readers, which had exciting tales of Loch and Shan, Dick and Dora and Nip and Fluff.

  37. PS – For those bloggers born after 1854, Loch and Shan were cave people. They discovered fire.

  38. You fiction, I read the bible once

  39. I strated reading the Bible once. Too much begatting.

  40. I don’t differentiate between fiction and non fiction. Too much overlap, for example how can you tell whether David Sedaris is writing fiction or non fiction, it is simply good writing.

    My top dozen – anything by –

    1. Hunter S Thompson
    2. Bill Bryson
    3. PJ O’Rourke
    4. Carl Haasen
    5. David Sedaris
    6. Clive James
    7. Kurt Vonegut
    8. Ben Elton
    9. Gore Vidal
    10. Shane Maloney
    11. Roddy Doyle
    12. Damon Runyon

  41. No need for anyone to point out that the range of my literature tastes reflects a particular narrowness.

  42. Miglo I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover twice.

  43. Adrian, why twice?

  44. A few years apart and I just wanted to make sure I was interpreting some things the same. Big flaw with the Bible and supposedly God’s word through ghost writers, is that I would have thought if a god was going to author a book for the guidance of mankind it would have made sure it was definitive and not subject to such a wide variation of interpretation. I can read the same passage a dozen times and get a dozen different meanings or interpretations from that.

  45. Adrian, that makes sense. And I would guess that our own interpretations would reflect where we were in life at the time etc etc.

    I thought that you were having a go at me for mocking the Bible. I indeed was, but I apologise if you were offended.

  46. The Dice Man

    The Naked & The Dead

    Salem’s Lot

    Endless Night….(any of Richard Laymon;s sick, but engaging, trash)

    Battlefield Earth…but NOTHING else by the supreme charlatan L.Ron Hubbard.

    The list could become very long if I continue…

  47. The Dice Man…Luke Reinhart(?)

    The Naked & The Dead…Norman Mailer(?)

    Endless Night…or any of Richard Laymon’s sick, yet engaging, trash.

    Battlefield Earth…but NONE of the other “work” by supreme charlatan & cult founder L.Ron Hubbard.

    Salem’s Lot…I like most of Stephen King’s earlier stuff, definitely not a fan of his last 20 years or so though.

    The list could get really long if I keep going & too many great books are missing already…

  48. Toiletboss

    Salem’s Lot…I like most of Stephen King’s earlier stuff, definitely not a fan of his last 20 years or so though.

    A lot of his older stuff is excellent, esp the Bachman novels. I first read Firestarter and the Salems’ Lot about 18 years ago … have been hooked ever since – re-read salems this year and it was even better than I remembered.
    As for his new stuff – I like it although some of it is harder to get into – struggled to read Lissey’s story for eg. But Cell and his most recent one – Duma Key were both great reads, Duma Key especially. I think his actually writing is improving – the stories are still excellent but the language is more emotive and elicits better imagery (the passage where Roland buries Jake in ‘The Dark Tower’ is particularly brilliant). His different methods of telling the story (eg Delores Clareborn which is told in 1st person and conveys only her words to the detective in the interview) are also interesting. However I still feel that too many of his books rush the ending – there is an excellent character development and lead up to the climax but as soon as the climax has occured, it’s as if his writing suffers from the male sex phenomena of simply rolling over an falling asleep (thats it, I’m done sorta thing) – it really frustrates me that such a good story somehow ends up feeling a little -short(?)
    and having just written that I’m promising myself to give my fiance more cuddles in the future

    As an aside, I’m glad to see that no-one has included any Dan Brown books in their lists which, IMO, have good stories but are incredibly badly written. Most books have a good story in them but it is quality of writing that sets them apart. This probably makes them accessible to most people but his use of language is crap and I hope to hell that they don’t teach his books in school to my kids (if and when I have any) because I fear my kids would pick up my loathing for his work)

  49. I haven’t read the bible at all.

    I’ve tried on a number of ocasions, but there are just way too many characters. And all these weird relationships and ongoing commentary – Son of Jobe, brother in law of someone else.

    “And he saw that it was good.” Big deal. Who cares?

    And all this “in the beginning God creating the world in seven days” (or was it six with a day off), I mean that’s total bollocks isn’t it?

    It took me a week to paint the hallway, never mind create a fricken universe!


  50. But reb, did He stop for frequent drink breaks?

  51. “Drink breaks?” More like lines of speed.

    Who could get that much accomplished in such little time…

  52. Only on Saturday night apparently…only five more days to go.

  53. 49. reb | December 22, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    A little thematic something to put it all in context.

    Hmmm…in the Beginning, there was The Word…and many such words begat a book, and many such books beget an Akashic library, or a cheesy art shelf! 😉

  54. Here be mine (with many major omissions)…

    “A Scanner Darkly” Phillip K. Dick
    “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Mark Twain
    “Dangerous Visions” Edited by Harlan Ellison
    “American Tabloid” James Ellroy
    “Lord Valentine’s Castle” Robert Silverberg

  55. Dave you do know that Stephen King was completely out of his mind in a lot of the books he wrote and couldn’t remember completing them let alone working out a good ending.

    It’s why it took so long to write his Dark Tower series.

    I’m a Stephen King nut and have everything he has written, most very dog eared and becoming tattered.

    Otherwise I read just about anything someone recommends and have made it my goal to read as much of the ABC First Tuesday Book Club stuff as I can. I’ve read two of Marieke Hardy’s recommendations, one I liked the other I didn’t. I use their discussion forum as a guide.

    I have found the older I get the more non-fiction I read.

  56. 1.Dancers at the End of Time: Michael Moorcock
    Have read this so many times, and still am amazed each time. He is best when he sticks to pulp fiction in my opinion.

    2.River God: Wilbur Smith
    So many great books from this guy, but this one really stuck in my mind.

    3.Mordant’s Need series: Stephen Donaldson
    Yes, he has many great works, but this one appeared to be the most fun he has had.

    4.Battlefield Earth: L. Ron Hubbard
    How a movie can ruin a perfectly good book. And yes, not a fan of any other.

    5.Lord of the Rings Trilogy: JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson
    How a movie can make a book. The story is one of the best I have read, but I did not like the way the book was written, particularly the way so much time is spent in blocks of one characters journey. I prefer to have it broken up a bit more. I had read this years ago, and found it hard going. After seeing the movies, which blew me away, I re-read it, but still found it quite laborious.

  57. “How a movie can make a book. ”

    In your opinion.

    The movies are good but I still prefer the books. I just re-read them and The Hobbit last week.

  58. Yes Pollytickedoff, only in my opinion, for what it is worth 🙂

  59. “Yes Pollytickedoff, only in my opinion, for what it is worth ”

    Not having a go at you Tom, just highlighting that anything re personal tastes is only a matter of opinion. Neither right nor wrong, just different. 🙂

  60. Adrian,
    The dead sea scrolls are a great read. Made to bible become easy to understand.

  61. made THE bible easy to understand

  62. 56. Tom R |

    Agree, re Lord of the Rings – very hard going IMO – never finished the first one and I grew up on the “classics” – Last of the Mohicans, Moby Dick, 10,000 Leagues, David Copperfield, Robin Hood, The Black Knight, The Black arrow, Black Beauty, The Coral Island, The Three Musketeers, Kidnapped, Tale of Two Cities – hidden under the blankets, with a big square torch – sporting a bulbous magnifyer, a hot water bottle and the wind whistling around the house …those were the days…

  63. Tom R…. ah, another I see that loved Mordant’s Need.

  64. TB, you’re not talking about books. You’re talking about literature. Pure, classical literature.

  65. 64. Miglo

    They’re fiction, M! All of ’em!

    Well, alright Robin Hood wasn’t, ’cause he was a Yorkshireman and I’ve seen his grave but all the others are fiction …

    …oh! – I see you read ’em too!

  66. joni at 63

    Yes, and it seemed so different from the Thomas Covenant books, which seemed so depressing to me. Mordants was so much fun in comparison.

    And another series that I have re-read numerous times is Bio of a Space Tyrant by Piers Anthony (his Cluster series was also great reading)

  67. Cool bananas Tom R – I will try and have a look.

    Did you read The Gap series? All throughout the series my allegiance changed as I sympathised with different characters.

  68. Yes Joni, I did read the Gap series, I did not become quite so attached to the characters as you did, but it was a rollicking ride. I guess if anyone, I was barracking for the pirate whom I think was called Angus, although why I do not know, as he was an abhorrent individual. But he certainly added spice to the story (which is probably the reason I like him 🙂 ).

  69. So lots of contributors here prefer science fiction??? I thought the people that contribute to this blog were reasonably intelligent!! Plenty here often tell me I’m wrong, so I now have some understanding of their odd perspective and fantasyland.

    By the way, just to prevent any serious fallout and offense – that’s an attempt at humour.

  70. Tom,

    At least we read science fiction that may be rooted in a possible reality, unlike the fantasy that Shanahan and Akerman continue to right write.

  71. Tom R

    I’m with you on the Wilbur Smith Books – some great yarns among them – Hungry as the Sea is probably my all time favorite of his.

  72. Adrian,

    I think the only Stephen King book I haven’t read is “On writing”. Mine are pretty dog eared as well, although probably not as much as my Wilbur Smith’s – I’ve started buying the Hardcovers so they last a bit longer. I’d love to get my hands on Hardcovers of the first 4 Dark Tower Novels to make the full set.

  73. Tom,

    Sci Fi and fantasy are just different means of telling conventional stories without the bounds of real world constraints. The best of the lot is Dune which pulls together religion, politics and ecology – You have to read all of the series and the recent prequeals and sequals written by Anderson and Herbert (Frank’s son) – they flesh out the politics, religion and science and make the whole Dune novel so much more complex. Dune will always Sh!t all over LOTR IMO because while Tolkein created the world (middle earth) and the tribal politics, he didn”t get to the depth of the politics that Dune does nor even looks at religion or ecology. And like a few others here, I struggled to read LOTR the first time (probably because the start is so slow), no such problems with Dune or any of the other books in the series.

  74. “rooted in a possible reality” seems to describe my current state! Particularly the rooted bit.

    Shanahan and Akerman are amateurs. Everyone should be reading the hilarious, cynical right wing view of the world as expressed by former hippy and foreign affairs correspondent for Rolling Stone – PJ O’Rourke.

    Whether or not you agree with him, the writing is fantastic.

    A bit like JK Galbraith, he was an intelligent, powerful and entertaining writer first and a noteworthy economist second.

    It’s not that PJ O’Rourke’s writing is more thoroughly researched, it is simply always entertaining to read an attack on prevailing thinking by someone with a sense of humour.

  75. So lots of contributors here prefer science fiction??? I thought the people that contribute to this blog were reasonably intelligent!! (Tom).

    Not being a reader of science fiction Tom, I humbly accept your compliment.

    I am, however, a passionate reader on the subjects on which many sci-fi stories are based, ie, astronomy, archaeology, pre-history etc.

    Having a good grasp of the universe – created, incidentally, in about the same time that Reb painted his hallway – convinces me that sci-fi will only ever be just that: fiction.

  76. Tom

    Absolutely – PJ is always a great read.

  77. Dave, I’ve seen all the weighty tomes of science fiction. Reading about the creation of an alternative world is not for me. It seems a bit like reading a novel about Batman or Star Wars.

    I’m afraid I can’t take science fiction seriously. That’s because I’m “rooted” and in my “alternative reality”.

    No worries Miglo, you obviously have more taste than I’ve credited you with in the past. I also enjoy a bit of reading about astronomy, archaeology, pre-history etc. The pre Columbian civilisations – Mayans, Aztecs, Incas are particularly fascinating. Though I stopped reading the Chariots of the Gods stuff when I was about 12.

  78. Dave55, if you like sci-fi with politics and strategy, based on Japanese Medieval Warlord culture, may I suggest Jannie Wurts trilogy:

    1. Daughter of the Empire
    2. Mistress of the Empire
    3. servant of the Empire

    BTW – got all the Dune books (including his son’s follow ons), big fan…

    …no-one has mentioned Isaac Asimov, or Arthur C Clarke and for fantasy/horror no-one surpasses HP Lovecraft…

  79. Could it be, Tom, that you are actually an interesting person? It’s a hard thought to grapple with.

    Your subjects of interest, however, implore me to concede this one small compliment.

    I’ve a copy of Chariots of the Gods on dvd. I play the intro only – love the opening music.

  80. Miglo

    I think that is a bit harsh… all of the blogocrats are interesting people who all have valid opinions. Now if Briannie was here – that would be a different kettle of lunatic.

  81. Joni,

    I did give Tom a compliment. Was it too subtle for you?

  82. TB

    The Politics aspect is reasonably well covered by a number of authors – It’s the combination with ecology that I find unique about the Dune books. It comes more to the fore in the prequal books but the whole transplanting of the Sandworms shows a level of detail and complexity that few writers bother with.

    I’ll check out the Wurts books though.

    You’re right about Asimov and Clarke, and don’t forget Jules Verne who was simply amazing in his ability to write about technologies 50 years or more ahead of their invention.

  83. 82. Dave55

    Re Dune Frank H laid a great foundation…

    A lot like Asimovs Foundation & Empire series, come to think of it…and for Tom, Stars Wars is based on the old Flash Gordon stories (check any out on Youtube), the stories Dave55, I and others are discussing have quite a lot more sopistication than Obi Wan Kanobi – don’t misunderstand I’m a big SW fan too – just peed off that they’ve abandoned the final trilogy – always thought a trilogy of a trilogy was a clever concept…

    …and yes Dave55, Jules Verne – way ahead of the pack…

  84. Miglo, I find it best not to concede even small compliments. They can be habit forming.

    Mind you, anyone that prefers the fascination of past real civilisations to spending their time reading about invented ones, qualifies as thoughtful and probably intelligent.

  85. 84. Tom of Melbourne

    You must be the exception then Tom? He he 😆

  86. Ah living in the past instead of looking towards the future and the fantastic possibilities . Must say that doesn’t surprise me, so reminds me of a certain leader.

  87. Adrian, Tom and I are talking about advanced civilisations that will be marvelled for eternity. This clearly excludes Howard.

  88. Rather enjoyed the Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley.

  89. Miglo, you’re showing genuine good taste and judgement.

    We should have one of those competitions to write the most outrageous introduction for a science fiction story eg – “Lord Fontainroy, atop his fire breathing, time travelling unicorn, lead his defeated warriors across the scorchingly hot, parched land that covered the lonely, distant planet of Sorbent”. Etc, etc, etc.

  90. My contribution:

    “Howard after a year of high paying speeches in the US returned to lead the Liberals from the wilderness of opposition”.

  91. joni@90

    I’ll buy that for a dollar.

  92. Tom R@56
    “4.Battlefield Earth: L. Ron Hubbard
    How a movie can ruin a perfectly good book. And yes, not a fan of any other.”

    Yeah, totally agree. I read Battlefield Earth when I was about 10y.o. & obviously knew nothing of Scientology at the time, along with many other “adult” concepts I might add. I’ve reread it since, still a good tale.
    Just the magnitude of the story (a VERY long book) captivated me…& who can fail to be impressed by imaginatively titled characters such as “Roof Arsebogger” (for anyone who hasn’t read it [nearly everyone I presume] that is a REAL character name from the book, not a Toilet invention of mine) or “Rogedeter Snowleater”. LOL.

    Apart from the obvious farce of Travolta being cast in the movie to pay homage to his dead Cult Commander, L.Ron, I thought the movie was a steaming pile of dog haemorrhoids primarily because it failed to flesh out the enormity of the book. To do it justice you would have needed to make it a trilogy…with NO Scientologist drones playing lead roles.

  93. 92. Toiletboss

    They had the same problem with Dune, HD – too much info for just a couple of hours “celluloid”…

    Battlefield E is in my library…and I have a confession to make I’m a big fan of the movie Starship Troopers – its so over the top its almost real…

    Wasn’t William Shatner (AKA Admiral James Tiberious Kirk) involved with the Amtrak Wars series?

  94. 88. Adrian of Nowra

    Yes, I got right into the Amtrak Wars, and then it just stopped, at number 6 or 7, where it looked like it was truly building into a great ending

    Do you know if it ever did end?

    Or what ever happened to the series?

    92. Toiletboss

    Yea, it really looked more like a group of people who knew nothing about the story, but everything about the author (suckers). One of the most disappointing efforts I have seen. And yet, when I first read the book, I had imagined that it would have made such a great movie.

    C’est La Vie (And Now the Waltz)

  95. 78. TB Queensland

    That Jannie Wurts trilogy was fantastic. I think it was actually co-authored by Raymond E. Feist, which led me on to reading Magician (blew me away) and onto the Riftwar series, which is also tied back in loosely to Daughter of the Empire again. Loved them all.

    71. Dave55

    Wilbur Smith is such a great writer, he can just create a vision of exactly how things were (in his mind, anyway) of his stories settings. I generally don’t like these type of novels, but he has a way of bringing the world to life, instead of making it some kind of historical thome. I particularly like his ancient civilisation stories, as they are like a fantasy novel, but they could be real (in fact, probably were)

  96. “Battlefield E is in my library…and I have a confession to make I’m a big fan of the movie Starship Troopers – its so over the top its almost real…”TB

    I looooove Starship Troopers! based on a Robert Heinlein book I think?
    I watched it again on my new HDTV the other day, awesome carnage…the ultraviolence compels me! How sweet it is to behold the arachnids dismembering hapless human scum, hehe.

    I noticed Starship Troopers#3 at the video shop last week & note that “Jonny Rico” has made a return (apparently there was a S.T.#2 without him, which I’ve not seen) so I’m gonna watch it over my Xmas break on Bluray. I stand ready to be disappointed as I’m sure it’s probably a gimmicky sequel but hope to be wrong. As long as those ruthless bugs disembowel plenty of Earth Trash I’ll probably be satisfied.

    Also a big fan of Giger’s Aliens. Although a bit overdone, I thought the recent AVP Requiem was quite good; for similar reasons, the beasties annihilate a whole town of US stereotypes without mercy (although the lack of mercy shown by the US admin in nuking the remaining townsfolk is equally remorseless & a worthy spectacle).

  97. Starship Troopers, in hindsight, also has some interesting underlying political nuances regarding the approach to military service & citizenship etc., but let’s face it, the gore & action make it the great watch that it is.
    A Verhoeven film I reckon, love the gritty way he did stuff like that & Robocop, Total Recall etc. The guy aint afraid to splash around a few buckets-o-blood!

  98. I’m surprised no-one has nominated History of the Future. It was fairly big around 15 years ago for those types that got their rocks off over inter-galactic fairy tales.

  99. 95. Tom R Yes! and yes again Tom read ’em all. I like Sarah Douglass stories to…

    97. Toiletboss …has some interesting underlying political nuances regarding the approach to military service & citizenship…

    …nicely picked up…HD

    “…its so over the top its almost real…” – I was a Nasho in 1970-71, HD but not an Australian Citizen at the time….

  100. 96. Toiletboss

    Yes, I saw the second troopers, and it really went of on a different tangent, was more of a space slasher/horror movie than anything else.

    Number 3 was a pleasant return to the normal carnage 🙂

  101. It was a six book series and some compared the abrupt ending to the way the Preacher dies in the Dune series.

    This is what Patrick Tilley wrote on the criticism:

    Thank you for taking the time to write to me about your reaction to the Amtrak Wars series. I’m sorry you were disappointed by the ending of Earth Thunder but can assure you it wasn’t “rushed” in the writing and I agonised long and hard over the fate of Steve and Roz. To be fair, it was signalled as far back as Books 1 and 2 but I know many people feel a keen sense of loss – “Why did they have to die?” they ask. In a way it’s a compliment to me for having created characters readers actually care about. In fact I’ve had so many protests I may have to revive them as Conan Doyle was forced to do with Sherlock Holmes! Sphere Books, (and many readers) want more volumes so perhaps the story will continue – if I can make it good enough. And yes, I’m working on other books.

    I really do appreciate you getting in touch. Spread the word!

    Best wishes, Patrick Tilley.

    Also there was a brilliant large hardback illustrated companion book to the series (I have it along with the books 1 to 6) which contains beautiful illustrations and fill in data on the tribes and lands as long as some pre-history.

  102. 101. Adrian of Nowra

    Thanks for that Adrian

    I had agonised over the ending myself, but I had wondered if perhaps he had passed away or something.

    Sorry, but the ‘ending’ sort of ruined it for me.

  103. Lot’s have said that Tom, but it didn’t overly stuff it for me as I really enjoyed the journey, and you have to admit it’s a great and grand journey.

    I’ve heard of readers stopping at Book 5 after finding out about the ending.

  104. Toiletboss

    Starship Troopers is great – you have to listen to the Verhoven Comentary on the DVD though – Brilliant (and shows that the political commentary was very intended). The commentary is probably the only example I know where the disclaimer at the start of DVDs about the commentary not necessarily being the views of the Distribution Company makes sense.

    As for ST 3 (didn’t see 2), it has an interesting religios bent to it in the same way the first movie played up the nationalism and citizenship aspect (with the elite being exempt if they buy their way out). Worth a watch but don’t expect much – it has the obligatory topless scene as well which is nice for us straighties 😉

  105. Tom R
    The Courtney Series gives a wonderful insight into colonial Africa and you’re right- the imagery is excellent.

    I must say that I went a bit off WS after Rage, possibly because he got it so wrong, still, it was a captivating story.

  106. Thanx for the feedback on ST3 people.

  107. Is anyone here really suggesting that the funny SF spoof Starship Troopers has a political message??

    It is a send up of rally the population WW2 propaganda films, supplemented with most amusing blood and gore.

    It is about as political as any Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone film.

  108. 105. Dave55

    Yes, I am not really up on South African history, most of my knowledge comes from Wilbur Smith novels, so I try to remember that these are first and foremost stories, and events surrounding the characters are merely the settings for the action. However, I would still say that my perception of the history will always be formulated around these stories.

    Not ideal, but at least I do have an exposure to African history which I would not have had otherwise, and, as long as I keep telling myself they are stories first, that is better than not knowing at all.

    But it is danger that authors who write based in the real world, with real events, face, and I think that Wilbur Smith handles it better than most. Mainly, I think, because his story is so dominant, and you get the sense that the events are written for the story, rather than the story being based on these events

  109. Tom of Melborne,

    It is a send up of rally the population WW2 propaganda films

    Um – I think that was the political undertones we were referring to – what’s the point of satire if it isn’t to dis something?!? The commentary on the DVD also makes this quite apparent.

    ST3 clearly satirises mainstream politics and ideas of what a God is- in fact this aspect (and the T&A scene) is the best thing about the whole movie. I Haven’t seen ST2 so I can’t comment on it.

    And who says Arnie and Stalone movies don’t have a political aspect. Sly certainly though his last Rambo movie did even if it was an abject failure 😉

  110. Tom R @108

    Agree – and yep, most of my ideas about Africa are based on those novels as well. I’m hoping to get over there for a month or so next year. My wife-to-be’s (only 3 1/2 weeks to go) father is Sauthafrican and his family have a vinyard in the Paarl area so we will get a bit of an insiders look at the country rather than the usual tourist route I hope.

  111. Dave – I had presumed you were referring to satarisation of a more contemporary war!!

  112. Tom of Melbourne,

    If you look deeply into Starship Troopers it is revealed who killed JFK as well as the location of the lost city of Atlantis. Elvis also makes a cameo appearance.

    And those flying saucers were actually real flying saucers.

  113. Tom of Melb

    Nope – and at any rate, the first movie was made in 1997 (released in Aus in early 98) so any comparrisons to the wars in Iraq/ Afghanistan would be complete nonsense.


    So yoou noticed that as well … I thought the Elvis cameo was subtle but well done. Did you see nessie?

  114. Dave55.

    I missed Nessie, but caught a glimpse of bigfoot.

  115. “It is a send up of rally the population WW2 propaganda films, supplemented with most amusing blood and gore.”Tommmm

    Yep, cool huh?

    As I said I love it for the amusing blood & gore, watching plastic looking people getting their comeupance in horrible fashion appeals to my nihilism gland.
    That said, there is absolutely no doubt that Heinlein’s book intended political overtones…

    “Through Rico’s eyes, Heinlein examines moral and philosophical aspects of suffrage, civic virtue, the necessities of war and capital punishment, and the nature of juvenile delinquency.[3]”

    Only as serious as one chooses to take it. I like the slaughter.


  116. I like the slaughter.

    Well stick around for the next Showdown. A murder of crows.

  117. miglo@116

    You wish!!!

    I’m not gonna get too cocky at this stage, it remains to be seen how things will stack up this season.
    I don’t reckon I’d be overly confident of soggy Port murdering too many things though.

  118. 117. Toiletboss

    I don’t reckon I’d be overly confident of soggy Port murdering too many things though.

    Except opportunities perhaps 🙂

    Car’n the Crows

    (Yep, I’m another one Miglo)

    Merry Christmas Everyone

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