Book Thread 2022

Neal Stephenson marks 30 years since Snow Crash came out (which must mean The Big U and Zodiac came out… ugh… even longer ago) and is extremely coy about something. Either he’s working on a fascinating new project or he’s dealing with a very personal issue.

https://twitter.com/nealstephenson/status/1534225527141064706?t=EawicQHyxZvtRkGDnL7mqg&s=19

https://twitter.com/nealstephenson/status/1534225528269307904?t=NKKY2x1tlkQQdY1dnjIEVQ&s=19

So I guess I hope he finds success in whatever the hell he’s laying between the lines. And maybe I should squeeze in another reread of Snow Crash.

Dreadgod, Book 11 of the Cradle series will be released July 5th.

Huzzah!!

It’s planned to be 12 books total correct?

That would be a spoiler! It’s best not to know how many books, so it could end or continue at the end of any given book.

It will be interesting to see if @Adam_B is right and the last book’s developments really are bad developments for the series.

Oh, it’s a Blockchain/Bitcoinlike/AR/VR thing.

Never mind.

I too finished this recently (off your recommendation)! Overall loved it and mostly agree with your points.

However!

These characters are horny as fuck. Not in the sense of explicit sex-scenes (mostly), but lord a’mighty huge swathes of their internal narration would work as Sir Mix-A-Lot songs. Just constantly talking about who and how and why and how frequently they want to bone whomever else.

This is not what I come to my epic fantasy for, to be real honest.

On top of that, it’s pretty transparent how the author went down a big ol’ list-o-queerness checking boxes. Here’s your gay woman, here’s your trans man, here’s your trans woman, here’s your bi couple, here’s your pan-poly-trans situation, here’s your asexual dude, here’s your kinky pan dude, just on down the list.

This is not necessarily problematic as the kids say, but it’s pretty obvious.

I get that the author came into this with the clear intention to write a sex-positive, queer-affirming Epic Fantasy with Maps. And he did! And it’s quite a skillful narrative, and a good series of books.

I just kinda don’t care about all that and found it distracting more than anything else (and a little eye-rolling at times, like okay dude I GET IT MOVE ON).

Then again, maybe that part is Not For Me and that’s okay. And hell, I bet some queer or just curious teenagers are going to read this and feel affirmed and seen in a way that matters to them, and that’s great because all people should be able to have those good feels.

Anyway, my lawn needs constant vigilance, is what I’m trying to say.

Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. Haven’t read the Crimson Empire trilogy but have felt the same way about several other books and short stories.

I kinda felt that way with Abercrombie’s new series. The first book had more sex in it than all his other books combined. The previous books had sex but it was an aside, in A Little Hatred there is literally sex or a discussion of it in almost every chapter for half the book. Now I noticed and was glad that the second book didn’t have all that. I have nothing against sex, but I want plot and interesting characters more. And just them having sex doesn’t make for either.

I am working my way through the first Dragonlance novel. It’s been eons since I read the series, but it holds up better than I thought it would.

I just finished this up. I live in the general area, but reading through this still had me going, “Man, West Virginia is fucked up!”

I realize that it is a genre where some people are there for the sex, but my worst example of that ever was Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, which was my first urban fantasy exposure. It goes at least like three or four books without any sex at all, like… barely a little bit of kissing or such maybe. And then by book 12 or so occasionally she remembers to inject a little bit of plot between lengthy and very kinky sex scenes (an infamous one involves a wereswan in his animal form. I won’t elaborate further). And when people complained she dismissed them as being prudes who didn’t like kink. No, lady, I just want you to write the goddamn mystery horror shit that was where this series started, not just mash all your characters’ genitals together over and over.

I stuck around much further into the series than I should have hoping it might pick back up.

Yeah! I really really liked the first ~6 novels – they’re really well-executed mystery/horror adventures, like you said. Then at some point – Narcissus In Chains is the book I remember barely making it through and then bailing on the series – it’s just all boners all the time.

The thing that really annoys me about it is how Hamilton uses jazz-hands magic gobbledygook to sidestep any responsibility or consent issues to get to the humpin’. Oh, Anita can’t control herself because THE MAGIC MADE HER DO IT so here’s ten pages of wereleopard cock.

I mean, you wanna be horny, go be horny, no worries. But if you want to be treated like an adult, actually engage with the adult side of the bonin’.

No kidding. I just read about the murders. This got me:

One of the things that is so wild about this case is the sheer volume of likely suspects; I listed four of them above, but there were something like 30 viable suspects once police started investigating the disappearance as a crime.

There were also numerous cases of decapitations and/or dismemberments in the area. I mentioned some of them in the summary of William Bernard Hacker as a suspect, but there were also two other active serial killers in the area who dismembered and/or decapitated their victims (William Dean Wickline aka “The Butcher” and the still-unidentified “Mad Butcher of Fayette County”). And apparently pretty much everyone owned–or had access to–a machete. The number of machetes just casually owned, borrowed, and found by people in the area at the time is fairly bizarre.

This is definitely the part that got me. I read it yesterday and they are listing out all of these unsolved decapitations happening in this specific area and I’m just shaking my head going, “What the fuck?!” Then the dude gets sent to prison for murder and --surprise!-- the decapitations stop. He gets out, and guess what?

Looks like Scott Lynch is feeling better, and is writing more Gentlemen Bastards stuff, per his Twitter thread. Not the next novel yet, but those are still in the works.

I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora and am glad he’s finding success with his anxiety treatments.

But that would require her to tell stories and have character arcs and stuff, and that would get in the way of swan penis.

There’s also a bunch of stuff on Archive.org.

New Adventures of Nero Wolfe - Single Episodes:
https://archive.org/details/OTRR_New_Adventures_of_Nero_Wolfe_Singles

“Nero Wolfe” tag search:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22Nero+Wolfe%22

I’ll just counter a little bit and try to suggest that these books aren’t polemical. It’s true there’s kind of a checklist thing going on, but because no one really cares in the world they live in, it’s never made a big deal of. They’re not throwing off social straightjackets or coming out of the closet; they just like who they like and it’s not a thing. And romance leads to sex (or vice versa), as is often typical. And sure, the characters are all lusty, but honestly no more than most of the real people I hang out with, including myself. And their constant second-guessing about it and dancing around mutual attraction also feels pretty realistic.

That said, the bulk of the series is cool battle scenes against cool monsters with devils and witches and dark magic and zombies and pirates and bugs and shit.

I really enjoyed the Age of Madness trilogy but yeah, there’s a surprising amount of sex (uncharacteristic for the author) in that first book. It does set up some important relationships for later, though…

All totally true, and how I made it through with a few eye rolls instead of bouncing off the series ;)

I also think you’re largely right about it being fairly realistic, but again that’s just not what I’m here for. Narration by its nature picks and chooses what to highlight in a stream of events, how could it not? I would have preferred the authorial gaze spent more time on the stuff I find interesting, is all.