Author Topic: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian  (Read 151761 times)

Prospernia

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1380 on: 03 May 2024, 21:10:14 »
Reading a book about Gypsies; it turns out, they pretty much sprang up in Europe at the 15th-century.  They're considered refugees from the collapse of the feudal-system and their genetic make-up was not necessarily from Egypt or India, but most were European.
« Last Edit: 03 May 2024, 21:13:05 by Prospernia »

elf25s

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1381 on: 03 May 2024, 21:21:51 »
Reading a book about Gypsies; it turns out, they pretty much sprang up in Europe at the 15th-century.  They're considered refugees from the collapse of the feudal-system and their genetic make-up was not necessarily from Egypt or India, but most were European.
actually they are descendants of groups that ghenghis khan  displaced when he started his empire a lot of them initially came from central asia and their lines got pretty diluted by the time they reached europe around late 13th century
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1382 on: 03 May 2024, 21:36:57 »
And they mixed with local European populations off and on throughout the centuries.
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Zematus737

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1383 on: 04 May 2024, 10:08:14 »
actually they are descendants of groups that ghenghis khan  displaced when he started his empire a lot of them initially came from central asia and their lines got pretty diluted by the time they reached europe around late 13th century

I have read that the Khans were actually descended from Scythian lords who were the originators of the feudal system.  It was the Persians who borrowed this to form satrapies.  And that the Persians themselves were considered to have homogenized to these systems being that they were neighbors and RELATIVES of the Scythian royal Aryan bloodlines.  See Beckwith's, The Scythian Empire.

Prospernia

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1384 on: 04 May 2024, 20:04:43 »
actually they are descendants of groups that ghenghis khan  displaced when he started his empire a lot of them initially came from central asia and their lines got pretty diluted by the time they reached europe around late 13th century

More likely, a group was, and another was from India, etc.  People in Medieval-times tended to lump groups together; if you were an outsider, no matter where you were from, you're a Gypsy.  Like, if you were sick, you were a Leper, regardless if you actually had leporsy or not.

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1385 on: 04 May 2024, 21:08:01 »
More likely, a group was, and another was from India, etc.  People in Medieval-times tended to lump groups together; if you were an outsider, no matter where you were from, you're a Gypsy.

Actually, the people made a fairly homogeneous cultural group as they spread around Europe, keeping similar customs even among the ones who migrated all the way to Ireland and Wales as well as keeping their own language.
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Prospernia

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1386 on: 05 May 2024, 09:57:25 »
Actually, the people made a fairly homogeneous cultural group as they spread around Europe, keeping similar customs even among the ones who migrated all the way to Ireland and Wales as well as keeping their own language.

Given the intense-persecutions in the 16th and 17th, centuries, that group may have been the only ones that survived.

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1387 on: 05 May 2024, 20:43:07 »
Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1388 on: 06 May 2024, 07:14:20 »
Still iterating through the first humble bundle of epubs, from Thunder Rift to Endgame, I'm now wrapping up Stackpole's Twilight of the Clans pt. 2 "Grave Covenant" which might be the one with smallest amount of 'Mech action so far :thinking:
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1389 on: 06 May 2024, 09:14:58 »
It and Prince of Havoc were both pretty bad in that regard.
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S2pidiT

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1390 on: 07 May 2024, 16:58:08 »
Read Jaguar's Leap from the new BT bundle, and now back to the old with Threads of Ambition.

Triptych

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1391 on: 12 May 2024, 14:10:31 »
I've been on a PKD binge these past few months:

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick (1977) I finally managed to snag a new print edition of this book, and it's typical PKD at his best and worst: a tremendous goldmine of ideas, yet almost undone by opaque writing. It's set in the near future when America lost the drug war. Bob Arctor is a narc whos tasked with finding the supplier of a new drug called Substance D, a powerful opiate that can split the mind in half and destroy it. Arctor is an unreliable narrator because he becomes addicted to the drug, and he ends up becoming two people: one being a leader of a small group of junkies whos paranoid about police being out to get him, and another being a narc who spies on his other self.

The book is partly autobiographical since PKD opened his house to a group of junkies and stopped writing for a few years after his first divorce when his wife left him. The writing is also dense and stilted, and I had to reread a number of passages in order to fully grasp what was going on. Nevertheless, its a mindbender of a novel, and was even made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. Rating 8/10

The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick. I think my bookstore has me figured out. They know I buy a PKD book all the time, so they always stock another one that I havent read yet, and so I end up buying it. Damn them!

This one is a post apocalyptic tale about a group of people whove been living underground in a fallout community shelter for over a decade, building robots to send out onto the surface to keep fighting WW3, but... things might not be what they seem. If this sounds like the plot for a ton of Hollywood movies and TV shows like Fallout and Silo, thats because it is... only PKD did it first!

The first chapter, in which someone is dictating words to an AI computer thats eerily reminiscent of ChatGPT blew my mind away. To think that PKD thought this up back in the early 1960s is just mind-boggling. Sadly though, it kinda goes downhill after that. In the end, its not his best book and the stodgy writing once again makes it a tough slog, but I think its still worth anyones time purely because of the awesome ideas he thought of well before everyone else copied them into cliches. Rating 7/10

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick- The one time I read this was when I was 12, and had discovered my uncle's stash of sci-fi books at grandma's house. I was a huge fan of Bladerunner, and I expected the book to be the same thing. Boy I was wrong.

Reading it again after all these years, I think I can understand it better now. The movie only touches on the events happening in the book, and makes it sort of like a noir detective thriller. But the book itself is far, far more. There's just so many things happening. Yes, the protagonist is a bounty hunter who hunts androids, but thats where the similarities with the movies end.

PKD's world building is phenomenal. There's empathy devices that can change someone's mood at the touch of a button, there's a new age religion called Mercerism that one can experience a Jesus-like messiah via virtual reality, and most of all, real animals have become status symbols, because almost all species went extinct due to a nuclear war, so almost everyone's pet has been supplanted with fake ones: hence the book's title.

It's all about what is real and what is fake. The protagonist kills fake things, but things are not like what they seem anymore. If you havent read it yet, and are a sci-fi fan, youve got to read it. Trust me, its that good. Rating 9/10

Zematus737

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1392 on: 13 May 2024, 12:10:43 »
I've been on a PKD binge these past few months:

The book store will never carry his Exegesis, while some of his lesser known works like the tripple stigmata of palmer eldritch or Valis will be harder to come by.  Try your county library and save a buck.  When my family grew more accustomed to using the request features and how accessible the online library sites are, it becomes very easy to get a book from a neighboring stock brought in.  To say nothing of the amount of money you save if your children are also devouring books.

As much as I loved PKD as a teenager and in my early 20's, he did a lot of harm to the Science Fiction community with an elitist type mindset for American authors in creating a group mind that should or shouldn't approve who is acknowledged or not by "the best" in the genre.  And that goes a long way for a person who is just plainly an author and story weaver.  He's a product of his time with space flight and "martian canals" being discovered and the heavy psychotropic scene exploding.  In the end, he was never honest with the vision he was given and this caused as much consternation in him personally that he became a facsimile of many of his protagonists.  He was very much like HG Wells.

I'm stuck myself on Warhammer fiction, wishing that the library here had them in stock.  Halfway through the Horus Heresy series and impressed by the level of quality fiction found in these books.  Certainly a step up from where the fiction in this universe started.

Books I myself killed lately: Secret Societies: A Discussion of their character and claims, by Edward Beecher; The Atonement of Fire, by David Annandale; Perturabo: Hammer of Olympia, by Guy Haley; Ghost of Nuceria, by Ian St. Martin; Utopia, by St. Thomas More; Aesop's Fables (was reading two fables to my children 3-4 days a week); Chronicles of the Future Paul A Dienach; Valedor, by Guy Haley; All That Remains, James Swallow; Aurelian, Aaron Dembski-Bowden (one of my favorite 40k authors, right behind Dan Abnett); Dark Vengeance Collection, by CZ Dunn (if you want a flavor of what I felt 40k was before it became great); Valdor: Birth of the Imperium, by Chris Wraight (not a bad place to start for foundational background for the Horus Heresy series); Blades of the Traitor, Various. 

Working on The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer and Pope Francis' 2013 apostolic exhortation evangelii gaudium.  Talk about two contrasting works!  Oh boy.  I'm finding it impossible to read them together.

Prospernia

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1393 on: 15 May 2024, 18:08:25 »
I live in the same neighborhood PKD lived in; his condo is a block away.  The post-office he used is still here but the Trader-Joe's is a Mexican-market now. (I used to go to that TJs with my grandma when I was a kid).

Triptych

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1394 on: 16 May 2024, 11:02:21 »
The book store will never carry his Exegesis, while some of his lesser known works like the tripple stigmata of palmer eldritch or Valis will be harder to come by.  Try your county library and save a buck.  When my family grew more accustomed to using the request features and how accessible the online library sites are, it becomes very easy to get a book from a neighboring stock brought in.  To say nothing of the amount of money you save if your children are also devouring books.

I live full time overseas as an expat, and books are an easy, minimal expense.

Quote
As much as I loved PKD as a teenager and in my early 20's, he did a lot of harm to the Science Fiction community with an elitist type mindset for American authors in creating a group mind that should or shouldn't approve who is acknowledged or not by "the best" in the genre.  And that goes a long way for a person who is just plainly an author and story weaver.  He's a product of his time with space flight and "martian canals" being discovered and the heavy psychotropic scene exploding.  In the end, he was never honest with the vision he was given and this caused as much consternation in him personally that he became a facsimile of many of his protagonists.  He was very much like HG Wells.
I disagree. PKD wasnt a planned futurist like Wells was. The former had mental issues (no doubt exacerbated by his drug taking), and he wrote about his fears and paranoia. Its somewhat coincidental that his anxieties with technology, and the stuff he wrote about them has actually come true, much like George Orwell and his warnings of an all-powerful surveillance state in 1984 also became real.

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1395 on: 16 May 2024, 12:52:37 »
A excerpt from his Exegesis: 'My novels, for example. They are said by readers to depict the same world again and again, a recognizable world. Where is that world? In my head? Is it what I see in my own life and inadvertently transfer into my novels and to the reader? At least I’m consistent, since it is all one novel. I have my own special world. I guess they are in my head, in which case they are a good clue to my identity and to what is happening inside me: they are brain prints. This brings me to my frightening premise. I seem to be living in my own novels more and more. I can’t figure out why. Am I losing touch with reality?'

These are his own words.  As for being a futurist, the book is not so much about apprehension of the future as it is about struggling to interpret an abnormal experience that revealed to him the health condition of his daughter through a vision.  Like HG Wells, Dick was also militantly atheist and mocked religion in many of his works.  In this, and in my opinion, they are the same.  Except that it is worse for Dick, as he had an authentic experience that he did his best to say was a localized unconscious self inflection of presentiment or inspiration.  Rather than just accept the gift for what it was, he did his utter most to write what is possibly his largest labor, to disavow that it could have been received from a higher, separate, intellect.  As separate as God can be from the work of His hands is another matter for discussion entirely.  Carl Jung (if you read his Red Book, the translations of which have made an enormous impact on the world) made the same mistakes and attributed inspiration to a universal shared unconsciousness.  It was a cheap move and it was very sad to see how he misinterpreted almost every "dream" he had experienced.  Just as sad that he (Jung) did not have the guts to admit he was experimenting himself with psychedelics to achieve these altered states.

Triptych

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1396 on: 16 May 2024, 13:08:28 »
Claiming that both Wells and PKD are the same because they're both atheists (PKD was more of an agnostic) is just silly, and I'll leave it at that.
« Last Edit: 16 May 2024, 13:13:06 by Triptych »

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1397 on: 16 May 2024, 15:03:29 »
Religious discussions are one of the fastest ways to get moderators swarming on a thread.  So let's not.
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1398 on: 16 May 2024, 19:53:47 »
Just finished reading "A City on Mars" by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
Subtitle: Can we settle space, should we settle space, and have we really thought this through?"

Great for if you want to take your most idealistic dreams of near-term space settlement and throw a huge bucket of cold water on them. (also if you want an overview of the real challenges currently facing space settlement)
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1399 on: 18 May 2024, 16:57:46 »
I've just started back into BT fiction after a few months of other things.

I started with a re-read of the Warrior Trilogy. En Guarde felt somehow lacking until I was about halfway through, but I think that was really just getting used to the change of style from my previous reads.

I followed the Warrior Trilogy with Wolves on the Border, which is still IMO one of the best BT novels ever written, and am now making a start on Heir to the Dragon, which I have not read before and for some reason had assumed was a Dark Age book. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm enjoying it so far.

Thanks to the recent Humble Bundles I think my BT eBook collection is pretty close to complete so I might try to read my way through the rest in publication order and fill in all of the blanks, since my paperback collection is all second hand and very patchy.
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elf25s

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1400 on: 18 May 2024, 22:31:53 »
just finished a book by our very own member Triptych he sent me finally had chance to finish it. absolutely love it remind me of few world builders like foundation and chung kuo but with a far better pacing
not sure if i can post the title and not get in trouble myself and author but ask Triptych about the book and his other stuff in pm worth reading tbh it was a long rime since i read something re freshing
Triptych thanks for good read and now i will be looking to see more of your stuff
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Triptych

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1401 on: 19 May 2024, 01:27:23 »
just finished a book by our very own member Triptych he sent me finally had chance to finish it. absolutely love it remind me of few world builders like foundation and chung kuo but with a far better pacing
not sure if i can post the title and not get in trouble myself and author but ask Triptych about the book and his other stuff in pm worth reading tbh it was a long rime since i read something re freshing
Triptych thanks for good read and now i will be looking to see more of your stuff
Glad you liked it. I'm okay with you telling the title, though you might run afoul with the mods because it might be soliciting lol.

elf25s

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1402 on: 19 May 2024, 08:12:59 »
Glad you liked it. I'm okay with you telling the title, though you might run afoul with the mods because it might be soliciting lol.
exactly....and i dont want to get you in trouble either....still want to share  good fun to read story
still have to say toy put a lot into the world building some try to make it over complicated and loose the plot asimov avoided it by just giving bare bones like in foundation and it worked to make it timeless no matter when you read it...wingrove just made it as it went along in series of chung kuo you sort of got it just right in the middle.
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1403 on: 19 May 2024, 11:16:40 »
I followed the Warrior Trilogy with Wolves on the Border, which is still IMO one of the best BT novels ever written, and am now making a start on Heir to the Dragon, which I have not read before and for some reason had assumed was a Dark Age book. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm enjoying it so far.
When I started playing BT in '86, the group I was with (86-92) rotated through various RPGs, and eventually 1 guy started a 1st Ed. MW RPG. We had to write up some "Background" for our characters, which was difficult as I had NONE of the few books available at the time. Somehow I read about the Kentares Massacre though, and House Kurita's "Death to Mercenaries" edict, which was important to US since we were creating a new Merc unit.  :grin:  Seems like we started in 3027?  Anyway, I HATED House Kurita.   :cussing:

I cooled a little towards them after reading the short story in the original Shrapnel, I think about Theodore Kurita?  Then Wolves on the Border and Heir to the Dragon served to strip my Hate away.  :grin:  (I've since been able to get ALL FOUR of my novels by Charrette autographed by him!  :smilie_happy_thumbup: )

Still not "Fans" of them, but I'm "OK" with them at least.  :smilie_happy_thumbup:


At least they're not House Liao!   :tongue:   :grin:
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1404 on: 20 May 2024, 07:30:19 »
At least they're not House Liao!   :tongue:   :grin:
I just finished The Capellan Solution books, and it definitely felt like the bad guy wins. I'm reading Dagger Point now, continuing to make my way through the bundles... *checks spreadsheet* 76 to go, including Shrapnels. I haven't decided if I'll pick up some of the pre-ilClan novels that weren't included in the bundles (Blood of Heroes, Star Lord, The Nellus Academy Incident, etc.).

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1405 on: 21 May 2024, 10:29:06 »
Claiming that both Wells and PKD are the same because they're both atheists (PKD was more of an agnostic) is just silly, and I'll leave it at that.

Since my last post was moderated I'll try to approach this in a new way.  To reduce my observation to the point that they both were just atheist would be to undermine the gravity of why I find their (Wells and Dick) anti-Christian behavior troublesome.  No doubt many people admired Gene Roddenberry for his futurism also and for the same reasons.  What many people do not know is that Dick and Roddenberry were deep in the occult and tapped seance rituals for many of their material, such as the crystalline entity, positronic brains, the varying races and their unique behavior, etc.  Some of these events were recorded and the transcripts of them exist out there for anyone to confirm.  Most innocent ahteists are not exactly sacrificing and communing with demons and I meant in no way by my comment to undermine anyone who was not religious by it.  I apologize if this was so and I resent any comment that would misrepresent it as so.  Now, HG Wells was most certainly a member of masonic type lodges in his days.  That's no secret.  I just wanted to clear that up with the distinction in what I feel is a world of difference.

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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1406 on: 21 May 2024, 14:01:00 »
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1407 on: 22 May 2024, 13:49:57 »
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: Giles Milton

It's a history of the British development of a department for carrying out clandestine and covert operations during World War 2.  A fairly interesting read, though I'm uncertain how much it's overselling the various operations were in Allied success in WW2.
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1408 on: 24 May 2024, 09:21:16 »
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: Giles Milton

It's a history of the British development of a department for carrying out clandestine and covert operations during World War 2.  A fairly interesting read, though I'm uncertain how much it's overselling the various operations were in Allied success in WW2.

Okay, more than halfway through the book now and I can definitely tell that it's overselling some of the stuff.  It spent several pages talking about the development of the PIAT and portrayed it as simply a wonderfully effective anti-tank weapon for infantry while ignoring the weapon's downsides.
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Re: What are we Reading Now: Conan the Librarian
« Reply #1409 on: 08 June 2024, 07:19:52 »
Recently reread Neuromancer.

Now trying to decide whether to reread Count Zero, read Dune Messiah for the first time, or start the Expanse books after watching the Amazon series.
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