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Old 06-01-2015, 10:34   #681
bronso
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Originally Posted by Ratfink View Post
the humour was pretty adolescent. It was like reading someone who really thinks they're funny only for much to fall flat.
You keep saying that, but maybe it just wasn't your sense of humor? I just opened the book to a random page (p. 79 in my copy):
I'll saturate the ground with most of the water I have. Then, I'll deactivate the atmospheric regulator, so it doesn't pull water out of the air. It'll be humid as hell, and water will condense on every surface. That'll keep the potatoes well watered while I'm away.
A bigger problem is CO2. The potatoes need to breathe. I know what you're thinking. "Mark, old chap! You produce carbon dioxide! It's all part of the majestic circle of nature!"
The problem is: Where will I put it? Sure, I exhale CO2 with every breath, but I don't have any way to store it.
Nothing about this reads as adolescent or like "an intelligent 13-year-old" to me. It's informal, chatty, and he makes a little joke. You know, like a person might if he's trying to keep it light. Personally I think it works; you're free to disagree, of course, but if we accept that Mark is naturally upbeat and a joker (as the NASA spokesperson says he is), it seems like the way he might realistically talk or write.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:52   #682
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Originally Posted by bronso View Post
You keep saying that, but maybe it just wasn't your sense of humor? I just opened the book to a random page (p. 79 in my copy):
I'll saturate the ground with most of the water I have. Then, I'll deactivate the atmospheric regulator, so it doesn't pull water out of the air. It'll be humid as hell, and water will condense on every surface. That'll keep the potatoes well watered while I'm away.
A bigger problem is CO2. The potatoes need to breathe. I know what you're thinking. "Mark, old chap! You produce carbon dioxide! It's all part of the majestic circle of nature!"
The problem is: Where will I put it? Sure, I exhale CO2 with every breath, but I don't have any way to store it.
Nothing about this reads as adolescent or like "an intelligent 13-year-old" to me. It's informal, chatty, and he makes a little joke. You know, like a person might if he's trying to keep it light. Personally I think it works; you're free to disagree, of course, but if we accept that Mark is naturally upbeat and a joker (as the NASA spokesperson says he is), it seems like the way he might realistically talk or write.
Im with you on this
Had the main character been uptight and serious, well I doubt id have made it past the first chapter

Why does someone who has the ability to be an astronaut have to be up tight and serious, certainly someone who thinks that the end really is nigh and has just his own company for rest of life.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:36   #683
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Where do I say that he has to be uptight? How about where he's facing near death and he makes a joke about being Iron Man; and when the character trying to save him makes a comment to him, he corrects them again on calling him Iron Man. Sorry, don't buy it.

And don't get me started on his "yay" comments.

As for the ending: he has to make a point about how humanity will rally around in a crisis and are actually all fluffy bunnies really - does that need to be said? Of course people are naturally altruistic, it didn't need spelling out in the mawkish manner he manages to do so. It's pure syrup.

Also, how come an intelligent NASA trained astronaut - who knows his chemical and mathematical formulas inside out and is able to do everything from creating his own water and oxygen to his own bio garden - doesn't know that the 'L' in LCD stands for 'Liquid'?

It's not terrible but he could very well be to sci-fi what Dan Brown is to historical fiction. Heavy on the facts, but can't write people for ****.

Last edited by Ratfink; 07-01-2015 at 09:09.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:41   #684
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Started Wayward (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 2) the other night and it's good. Far better than the first book.

It should make a pretty interesting series.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:07   #685
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It's not terrible but he could very well be to sci-fi what Dan Brown is to historical fiction. Heavy on the facts, but can't write people for ****.
25% in and I agree with this - it's an interesting story, but the writing is pretty poor. "and then I did this, and then I did that" kind of thing over and over.

EDIT - Just got to the bit about ASCII tables and priority inversion in thread management - now this is more like it!
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:29   #686
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Just started A Little History of the World by Ernst Gombrich. A few chapters in and it's very good so far.
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:19   #687
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Half way through The Martian (thanks to the folks here for the recommendation) - it is a gripping read, and I like the style of his own narrative, but the bits set on Earth are definitely low rent in terms of writing style - veering dangerously close to a pulp fiction level of quality.

I noticed this especially as I've just finished John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River, a virtuoso piece of story telling and elegantly crafted prose.
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Old 16-01-2015, 20:04   #688
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Half way through The Martian (thanks to the folks here for the recommendation) - it is a gripping read, and I like the style of his own narrative, but the bits set on Earth are definitely low rent in terms of writing style - veering dangerously close to a pulp fiction level of quality.
Finished "The Martian" today - I think that you've hit the nail on the head here in that Watney's narrative is actually very well scripted, it's just the other bits that feel poorly-written. Learning that Pythagoras was a dick and why Vogel is a super-villain were among several laugh out loud moments.

It definitely won me over by the end of the book and I think that it will make a terrific film.
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Old 17-01-2015, 02:42   #689
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I'm reading the Matt Drake series by David Leadbeater on my Kindle, I've completed the first 4 and I'm a 3rd of the way through book 5. Worth a spin if you like some pulp action adventure and treasure hunting.

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Old 21-01-2015, 21:19   #690
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Moriarty - Anthony Horowitz - found it slow and lazy, a shame as I enjoyed House of Silk immensely.

The Missing and The Dead - Stuart Macbride - Just exceptional.
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Old 22-01-2015, 09:20   #691
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...[The Martian] definitely won me over by the end of the book and I think that it will make a terrific film.

Now onto something completely different - Etruscan Places by DH Lawrence.
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Old 22-01-2015, 09:59   #692
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Just finished The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

I'm now on something a little lighter, How I won the yellow jumper by Ned Boulting, which is truly excellent.
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Old 10-02-2015, 17:53   #693
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Thanks to recommendations on here I've recently finished The Martian and Ready Player One, and really enjoyed both (and Raftink is wrong about The Martian!).

Started The Girl With All The Gifts today.....
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Old 10-02-2015, 19:31   #694
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(and Raftink is wrong about The Martian!).
No I'm not. If you like poor writing, that's up to you.
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Old 10-02-2015, 19:38   #695
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Started the first of The Last Policeman trilogy yesterday...almost finished it already and it's excellent. Highly recommended.
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:49   #696
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I really enjoyed Etruscan Places - beautifully written and really intriguing.

Now onto J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country, in a lovely 1999 Folio edition. Shaping up to be a lot more than just a country idyll.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:06   #697
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Currently reading The Eyre Affair, the book for next month at my local scifi/fantasy book club.

It's awful, I get the feeling it's supposed to be funny but if it is I just don't get it at all.

Can't wait to get it finished so I can read something good!
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Old 11-02-2015, 17:28   #698
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Revisiting William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy at the moment. Neuromancer down and onto Count Zero now.
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Old 11-02-2015, 20:57   #699
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Just started Nick Cutters 'The Troop'...

Next on the pile....something from Clive Barker, probably 'The Great And Secret Show'.
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:02   #700
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I'm halfway through Perfidia - a great read and classic James Ellroy, with some characters in it from other books.
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