Discussion:
Ask EU: Iain Banks
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Sid Nuncius
2019-05-10 09:04:53 UTC
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I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with
or without the M). Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?

[1]Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
--
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)
Kate B
2019-05-10 09:20:50 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with
or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
--
Kate B
London
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2019-05-10 10:05:19 UTC
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Post by Kate B
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
I haven't either - but I don't consider that something to be ashamed of!

I was rather put off by the marketing (presentation) when he first
appeared in SF.
Post by Kate B
Post by Sid Nuncius
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so
kind as to recommend a good one to start with?
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
I'll try to remember that, thanks.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Correct me if I'm wrong ... everybody else does.
Vicky Ayech
2019-05-10 10:56:43 UTC
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 11:05:19 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
Post by Kate B
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
I haven't either - but I don't consider that something to be ashamed of!
I was rather put off by the marketing (presentation) when he first
appeared in SF.
Post by Kate B
Post by Sid Nuncius
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so
kind as to recommend a good one to start with?
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
I'll try to remember that, thanks.
I read one but didn't like it. I think it was SF. An alternate world
anyway. A river?
Serena Blanchflower
2019-05-10 10:48:25 UTC
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Post by Kate B
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
Thanks for that. As another person who's never read any of his books,
that looks interesting and I've just ordered The Crow Road from the library.
--
Best wishes, Serena
The only thing we have in common is that we are all different
Penny
2019-05-10 11:03:51 UTC
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 11:48:25 +0100, Serena Blanchflower
Post by Serena Blanchflower
Post by Kate B
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
Thanks for that. As another person who's never read any of his books,
that looks interesting and I've just ordered The Crow Road from the library.
I've not read any either but I watched The Crow Road on't tellie.
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2019-05-10 20:57:37 UTC
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Post by Penny
On Fri, 10 May 2019 11:48:25 +0100, Serena Blanchflower
Post by Serena Blanchflower
Post by Kate B
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
Thanks for that. As another person who's never read any of his books,
that looks interesting and I've just ordered The Crow Road from the library.
I've not read any either but I watched The Crow Road on't tellie.
How was it? (For you? [fnarr ...])
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

To keep leaf vegetables clean and crisp, cook lightly, then plunge into iced
water (the vegetables, that is). - manual for a Russell Hobbs electric steamer
Penny
2019-05-10 22:39:59 UTC
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 21:57:37 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
Post by Penny
On Fri, 10 May 2019 11:48:25 +0100, Serena Blanchflower
Post by Serena Blanchflower
Post by Kate B
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
Thanks for that. As another person who's never read any of his books,
that looks interesting and I've just ordered The Crow Road from the library.
I've not read any either but I watched The Crow Road on't tellie.
How was it? (For you? [fnarr ...])
Episodic and I watched them all so it must have had something about it
which appealed. Too long ago now to remember the actual plot.
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
Sid Nuncius
2019-05-10 17:00:32 UTC
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Post by Kate B
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
Ooh, what a treat you have in store! For Scotland and family stuff, odd
but not SF-odd and deeply engaging, try The Crow Road. For SF, always
good to start with Consider Phlebas.
Thanks, Kate.
--
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)
Clive Arthur
2019-05-10 12:33:46 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with
or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
The Wasp Factory. His first novel and the first of his I read.

Cheers
--
Clive
Sid Nuncius
2019-05-10 16:59:55 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
The Wasp Factory.  His first novel and the first of his I read.
Thanks, Clive. Noted.
--
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)
the Omrud
2019-05-19 14:49:05 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so
kind as to recommend a good one to start with?
The Wasp Factory.  His first novel and the first of his I read.
Thanks, Clive.  Noted.
Yes, read it, but be warned that it is truly unpleasant.
--
David
Jane Vernon
2019-05-20 06:36:53 UTC
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Post by the Omrud
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to
start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so
kind as to recommend a good one to start with?
The Wasp Factory.  His first novel and the first of his I read.
Thanks, Clive.  Noted.
Yes, read it, but be warned that it is truly unpleasant.
This underlines for me just how dark my dark humour is. I loved The
Wasp Factory.
--
Jane
The Potter in the Purple socks - to reply, please remove PURPLE
BTME

http://www.clothandclay.co.uk/umra/cookbook.htm - Umrats' recipes
Dumrat
2019-05-20 06:43:20 UTC
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Post by the Omrud
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or without
the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as to
recommend a good one to start with?
The Wasp Factory.  His first novel and the first of his I read.
Thanks, Clive.  Noted.
Yes, read it, but be warned that it is truly unpleasant.
This underlines for me just how dark my dark humour is.  I loved The Wasp Factory.
Have you seen "After Life", on Netflix? Dark humour at its best, in my opinion. Written,
acted, and possibly directed by Ricky Gervais. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it,
since I only ever watched a minute or so of "The Office" before switching it off as that
is not a sort of humour which appeals to me and I had a low opinion of RG as a result.
--
Salaam Alaykum,
Anne, Exceptionally Traditionally-built Dumrat
Jane Vernon
2019-05-20 08:47:24 UTC
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Post by Dumrat
Post by the Omrud
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to
start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so
kind as to recommend a good one to start with?
The Wasp Factory.  His first novel and the first of his I read.
Thanks, Clive.  Noted.
Yes, read it, but be warned that it is truly unpleasant.
This underlines for me just how dark my dark humour is.  I loved The Wasp Factory.
Have you seen "After Life", on Netflix? Dark humour at its best, in my
opinion. Written, acted, and possibly directed by Ricky Gervais. I was
surprised how much I enjoyed it, since I only ever watched a minute or
so of "The Office" before switching it off as that is not a sort of
humour which appeals to me and I had a low opinion of RG as a result.
Oh, absolutely loved After Life. The Office, not so much because I
found it painfully real and didn't like Ricky Gervais' character.
--
Jane
The Potter in the Purple socks - to reply, please remove PURPLE
BTME

http://www.clothandclay.co.uk/umra/cookbook.htm - Umrats' recipes
Fred
2019-05-20 16:02:10 UTC
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Post by Jane Vernon
Oh, absolutely loved After Life. The Office, not so much because I
found it painfully real and didn't like Ricky Gervais' character.
And I didn't 'get' The Office as I'd never worked in one and couldn't connect with it.
Fred
Post by Jane Vernon
http://www.clothandclay.co.uk/umra/cookbook.htm - Umrats' recipes
Penny
2019-05-10 13:23:28 UTC
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 10:04:53 +0100, Sid Nuncius
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
Must admit, when I read this I was thinking Ian McEwan, it being shortly
before the final part of "Machines like me" - I haven't read any of his
either and might ask a similar question.
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
John Ashby
2019-05-13 19:12:14 UTC
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Post by Penny
On Fri, 10 May 2019 10:04:53 +0100, Sid Nuncius
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
Must admit, when I read this I was thinking Ian McEwan, it being shortly
before the final part of "Machines like me" - I haven't read any of his
either and might ask a similar question.
Nobody seems to have picked this up.

Atonement, The Child in Time and Enduring Love would be my recommendations.

john
Penny
2019-05-14 07:48:42 UTC
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On Mon, 13 May 2019 20:12:14 +0100, John Ashby <***@yahoo.com>
scrawled in the dust...
Post by John Ashby
Post by Penny
On Fri, 10 May 2019 10:04:53 +0100, Sid Nuncius
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
Must admit, when I read this I was thinking Ian McEwan, it being shortly
before the final part of "Machines like me" - I haven't read any of his
either and might ask a similar question.
Nobody seems to have picked this up.
Atonement, The Child in Time and Enduring Love would be my recommendations.
Thanks John, I'll see what the library has to offer when I've finished my
current loan.
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
Vicky Ayech
2019-05-14 10:11:46 UTC
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Post by Penny
scrawled in the dust...
Post by John Ashby
Post by Penny
On Fri, 10 May 2019 10:04:53 +0100, Sid Nuncius
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
Must admit, when I read this I was thinking Ian McEwan, it being shortly
before the final part of "Machines like me" - I haven't read any of his
either and might ask a similar question.
Nobody seems to have picked this up.
Atonement, The Child in Time and Enduring Love would be my recommendations.
Thanks John, I'll see what the library has to offer when I've finished my
current loan.
I had a look at Enduring Love on Amazon, the first pages. He took an
irritatingly long time to get to the balloon with stuff beforehand
that might have made me give up before I got anywhere. And the free
intro stopped at an exciting part but i don't care enough to buy it.
LFS
2019-05-14 09:16:55 UTC
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Post by John Ashby
Post by Penny
On Fri, 10 May 2019 10:04:53 +0100, Sid Nuncius
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
Must admit, when I read this I was thinking Ian McEwan, it being shortly
before the final part of "Machines like me" - I haven't read any of his
either and might ask a similar question.
Nobody seems to have picked this up.
Atonement, The Child in Time and Enduring Love would be my recommendations.
I agree. His more recent books have been disappointing IMO. I listened
to "Machines like me" and decided not to bother reading it.
--
Laura (emulate St George for email)
Fenny
2019-05-10 22:45:48 UTC
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 10:04:53 +0100, Sid Nuncius
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with
or without the M).
Neither have I and I'm really not at all ashamed of it!
--
Fenny
Mike Ruddock
2019-05-11 07:49:26 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with
or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
I read The Wasp Factory soon after it was published. It has a coup de
theatre which must be almost unique in fiction.

The Crow Road is more routine, but good non the less. The opening
sentence is marvellous.

Whit is very interesting and well worth reading.

I found The Business very heart-warming.

I haven't read any of the Iain M Banks books.

Mike Ruddock
a l l y
2019-05-11 20:47:37 UTC
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I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M). Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.

Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to me
like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out of the
way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and centred
around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So long since I
read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the old rail bridge
was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal Dreams" in which a woman
will put up just about anything until her 'cello is threatened.

The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that you
ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked silly
questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time or space,
real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply, "The Culture.")

By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!

I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....

ally


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J. P. Gilliver (John)
2019-05-11 20:57:22 UTC
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In message <***@mid.individual.net>, a l l y
<***@sitTHEDOGuponseats.co.uk> writes:
[]
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking
forward to his next book, and now there will be no more ....
I wouldn't despair totally; if Asimov is anything to go by, a few more
will appear after death. And as for Tolkien ...
Post by a l l y
ally
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--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

You'll need to have this fish in your ear. (First series, fit the first.)
a l l y
2019-05-11 21:26:26 UTC
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[]
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward
to his next book, and now there will be no more ....
I wouldn't despair totally; if Asimov is anything to go by, a few more will
appear after death. And as for Tolkien ...
I don't think he had anything else in the pipeline. We sort of knew when to
expect the next one, as we'd hear something about it in advance. He was
still writing his final, non-SF novel in his final weeks on this earth.

ally


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Vicky Ayech
2019-05-12 08:22:30 UTC
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On Sat, 11 May 2019 22:26:26 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
[]
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward
to his next book, and now there will be no more ....
I wouldn't despair totally; if Asimov is anything to go by, a few more will
appear after death. And as for Tolkien ...
I don't think he had anything else in the pipeline. We sort of knew when to
expect the next one, as we'd hear something about it in advance. He was
still writing his final, non-SF novel in his final weeks on this earth.
ally
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And then there were some Pratchetts at the end or just after. They
were not quite as goode. We wondered whether he drafted outlines and
his secretary completed them.
Sid Nuncius
2019-05-12 08:30:52 UTC
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Post by Vicky Ayech
And then there were some Pratchetts at the end or just after. They
were not quite as goode. We wondered whether he drafted outlines and
his secretary completed them.
Yes - I just found Raising Steam terribly sad. Whether it was largely
by someone else or by TP himself when badly affected by illness, it just
lacked all of that wit, insight and zing which made his books so good.

The Shepherd's Crown wasn't bad, but certainly not one of his best, IMO.
--
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)
Penny
2019-05-11 22:03:54 UTC
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On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:57:22 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
And as for Tolkien ...
I was quite surprised to hear Christopher was still around. He seemed quite
old to me when I met him, but I was in my early 20s at the time. He does
seem to have made a living by sorting through his father's papers and
publishing bits from time to time but that was the job his father left him.

Personally I'd like to see Tolkien's doodles published. We got to see a lot
of them in the studio when The Silmarillion was being prepared for
publication, many of them drawn around Times Crossword grids (the
crosswords themselves completed in lower case).
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
a l l y
2019-05-11 22:38:48 UTC
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Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:57:22 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
And as for Tolkien ...
I was quite surprised to hear Christopher was still around. He seemed quite
old to me when I met him, but I was in my early 20s at the time. He does
seem to have made a living by sorting through his father's papers and
publishing bits from time to time but that was the job his father left him.
Personally I'd like to see Tolkien's doodles published. We got to see a lot
of them in the studio when The Silmarillion was being prepared for
publication, many of them drawn around Times Crossword grids (the
crosswords themselves completed in lower case).
I would love to see those!

ally


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Vicky Ayech
2019-05-12 08:24:53 UTC
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Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:57:22 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
And as for Tolkien ...
I was quite surprised to hear Christopher was still around. He seemed quite
old to me when I met him, but I was in my early 20s at the time. He does
seem to have made a living by sorting through his father's papers and
publishing bits from time to time but that was the job his father left him.
Personally I'd like to see Tolkien's doodles published. We got to see a lot
of them in the studio when The Silmarillion was being prepared for
publication, many of them drawn around Times Crossword grids (the
crosswords themselves completed in lower case).
Anne McCaffrey's son did some books near the end of her life as joint
author with her and then went on to some in her world of Pern alone.
The joint ones just about worked and the solo not really.
Nick Odell
2019-05-12 11:03:48 UTC
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Post by Vicky Ayech
Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:57:22 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
And as for Tolkien ...
I was quite surprised to hear Christopher was still around. He seemed quite
old to me when I met him, but I was in my early 20s at the time. He does
seem to have made a living by sorting through his father's papers and
publishing bits from time to time but that was the job his father left him.
Personally I'd like to see Tolkien's doodles published. We got to see a lot
of them in the studio when The Silmarillion was being prepared for
publication, many of them drawn around Times Crossword grids (the
crosswords themselves completed in lower case).
Anne McCaffrey's son did some books near the end of her life as joint
author with her and then went on to some in her world of Pern alone.
The joint ones just about worked and the solo not really.
The publisher of a series of regional ghost tales and folk tales insists
that their authors must live in the locality they are writing about. I
think that's got more to do with promotional stunts in bookshops than
anything else and - let's face it, Barnsley Bookshops ain't gonna sella
lorra Birmingham ghost stories, are they, so you want to have the
authors near at hand.

Returning to and reversing the theme of writer's children, an art
historian and curator of my acquaintance who now lives and works out
west had had quite a nice little sideline in researching,
embellishing[1] and then writing the ghost and folk tales of the several
localities around her which dried up when she ran out of local
localities. But said scribe was born and brought up out east where her
mother still lives. Mother, now in her seventies, has embarked on a
brand new literary career as the purported author of ghost and folk
takes of the east but her writing style is uncannily like that of her
daughter...

Nick
[1]These are not academic works, they are potboilers
Penny
2019-05-11 21:53:52 UTC
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On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
I hate it when that happens :(
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
Vicky Ayech
2019-05-12 08:23:01 UTC
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Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
I hate it when that happens :(
Yes I want someone to find 30 more good Georgette Heyer Regency books.
Sid Nuncius
2019-05-12 05:14:30 UTC
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Post by a l l y
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist"
which contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real
all his SF ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's
where you'll learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of
his stories are set in The Culture.
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to
me like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out
of the way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and
centred around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So
long since I read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the
old rail bridge was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal
Dreams" in which a woman will put up just about anything until her
'cello is threatened.
The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that
you ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked
silly questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time
or space, real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply,
"The Culture.")
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely  inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books.
You have been warned!
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward
to his next book, and now there will be no more ....
Many thanks, Ally; that's really helpful. And I know what you mean
about a favourite author's death; I felt the same about Patrick O'Brien,
for example.
--
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)
BrritSki
2019-05-12 10:18:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by a l l y
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking
forward to his next book, and now there will be no more ....
Many thanks, Ally; that's really helpful.  And I know what you mean
about a favourite author's death; I felt the same about Patrick O'Brien,
for example.
<languid wave> especially as the unfinished one was published partly
typeset and partly in the author's longhand which for me was
impenetrable. :(
Sam Plusnet
2019-05-12 21:08:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Many thanks, Ally; that's really helpful.  And I know what you mean
about a favourite author's death; I felt the same about Patrick O'Brien,
for example.
Ditto, although having just (gotten around to) reading the Biog of
O'Brian by Dean King I'm not at all sure I would have liked the man.

p.s. the biog was damaged for me by the obvious Americanisms in a book
about an Englishman living in England which acted like caltrops when you
fell on them without warning.

e.g. "uprooted the family once again, moving to a rowhouse at 276
Willesden Lane, in Willesden Green"
--
Sam Plusnet
Vicky Ayech
2019-05-12 08:21:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M). Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to me
like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out of the
way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and centred
around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So long since I
read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the old rail bridge
was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal Dreams" in which a woman
will put up just about anything until her 'cello is threatened.
The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that you
ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked silly
questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time or space,
real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply, "The Culture.")
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
Oh dear. Your enthusiastic descriptions made me want to go and try him
again but that last bit...not so sure. I find I am rather avoiding
very unpleasant things now. I have begun a few and stopped and even
stopped a Stargate one. B loves Stephen King but any of his I've read
are not exactly comfort reading.
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
ally
---
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2019-05-12 10:13:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
[]
Post by Penny
Post by a l l y
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
Oh dear. Your enthusiastic descriptions made me want to go and try him
again but that last bit...not so sure. I find I am rather avoiding
very unpleasant things now. I have begun a few and stopped and even
Me too. I'm afraid it's confirmed my reluctance to start.
Post by Penny
stopped a Stargate one. B loves Stephen King but any of his I've read
are not exactly comfort reading.
Same here. The one (maybe more but I can only think of one [and can't
name it] was gripping, but not nice. As I approach my third age (yes, I
know I'm one of the younger UMRAts, but that's relative!), I am tending
to seek comfort more.
Post by Penny
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
ally
I was the same (not sure I can say most, as I'm not sure when I started
or when he died) with Asimov. Though I think his demise came not long
before I stopped reading more or less anyway.
Post by Penny
Post by a l l y
---
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
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I _think_ that message can be turned off - I can tell you how for AVG,
but I don't have Avast.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

If you're on [Radio] 5Live you get people writing in saying that you've got
your football facts wrong, but on Radio 4 they pull you up on your Portuguese
pronunciation. Nick Robinson, RT 2016/6/25-7/1
Mike Headon
2019-05-13 10:44:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M). Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to me
like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out of the
way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and centred
around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So long since I
read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the old rail bridge
was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal Dreams" in which a woman
will put up just about anything until her 'cello is threatened.
The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that you
ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked silly
questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time or space,
real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply, "The Culture.")
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
Oh dear. Your enthusiastic descriptions made me want to go and try him
again but that last bit...not so sure. I find I am rather avoiding
very unpleasant things now. I have begun a few and stopped and even
stopped a Stargate one. B loves Stephen King but any of his I've read
are not exactly comfort reading.
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
ally
---
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus
Yes, I read "Consider Phlebas" but no more. The sadism was not my cup of
tea - I'll stick to "Game of Thrones"!
--
Mike Headon
R69S R850R
IIIc IIIg FT FTn FT2 EOS450D
e-mail: mike dot headon at enn tee ell world dot com
Dumrat
2019-05-13 17:52:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
Oh dear. Your enthusiastic descriptions made me want to go and try him
again but that last bit...not so sure. I find I am rather avoiding
very unpleasant things now. I have begun a few and stopped and even
stopped a Stargate one. B loves Stephen King but any of his I've read
are not exactly comfort reading.
I know just what you mean, Vicky! The older I get, the more I need comfort reading!* I
used to revel in Minette Walters' books, but about 15 to 20 years ago, after the dorter
was born, I found they were too graphic and uncomfortably close to the unpleasant reality
of life in some places, so I stopped almost mid-sentence! Now, I deliberately choose froth
and have terrible trouble engaging my brain for thought-provoking stuff.** For example,
for my birthday last year, I was given "The Power" by Naomi Alderman, which in theory I
should like, apparently, because of its feminist perspective. I didn't attempt it because
I was told there was a rather graphic rape scene. (I have since found out that it is also
sci-fi, which is possibly my least favourite form of fiction. Unless "The Handmaid's Tale"
(which I love and I read when it first came out, but have not watched) counts as sci-fi?)

*Let's be honest, the most highbrow I ever got was when I was a student, when I read
Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn purely for pleasure (also an early sign of my ability to
procrastinate, as I remember being engrossed in "The Gulag Archipelago" and "One Day in
the Life of Ivan" whilst supposedly studying for my unrelated Finals!).
**Of course, that could merely be a sign of my incipient dementia. Which is definitely
"bubbling under" (pace Alan "Fluff" Freeman).
--
Salaam Alaykum,
Anne, Exceptionally Traditionally-built Dumrat
LFS
2019-05-14 09:28:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dumrat
Post by Penny
On Sat, 11 May 2019 21:47:37 +0100, "a l l y"
Post by a l l y
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely  inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
Oh dear. Your enthusiastic descriptions made me want to go and try him
again but that last bit...not so sure. I find I am rather avoiding
very unpleasant things now. I have begun a few and stopped and even
stopped a Stargate one.  B loves Stephen King but any of his I've read
are not exactly comfort reading.
I know just what you mean, Vicky! The older I get, the more I need
comfort reading!* I used to revel in Minette Walters' books, but about
15 to 20 years ago, after the dorter was born, I found they were too
graphic and uncomfortably close to the unpleasant reality of life in
some places, so I stopped almost mid-sentence! Now, I deliberately
choose froth and have terrible trouble engaging my brain for
thought-provoking stuff.** For example, for my birthday last year, I was
given "The Power" by Naomi Alderman, which in theory I should like,
apparently, because of its feminist perspective. I didn't attempt it
because I was told there was a rather graphic rape scene. (I have since
found out that it is also sci-fi, which is possibly my least favourite
form of fiction. Unless "The Handmaid's Tale" (which I love and I read
when it first came out, but have not watched) counts as sci-fi?)
*Let's be honest, the most highbrow I ever got was when I was a student,
when I read Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn purely for pleasure (also an
early sign of my ability to procrastinate, as I remember being engrossed
in "The Gulag Archipelago" and "One Day in the Life of Ivan" whilst
supposedly studying for my unrelated Finals!).
**Of course, that could merely be a sign of my incipient dementia. Which
is definitely "bubbling under" (pace Alan "Fluff" Freeman).
I read a lot of crime novels and don't mind the graphic bits but there's
other good stuff out there. Sarah Perry and C J Sansom if you like
historical fiction, Tessa Hadley, Amanda Craig and Sarah Moss for the
more domestic but better than chicklit because more thought-provoking.
And Richard Powers and Barbara Kingsolver for good well-written stories
with an environmental message.

It's worth signing up to Goodreads, if only for Sid's excellent book
reviews.

I'm trying to decide if I want to read Sally Rooney's normal People
which is so highly praised but it doesn't sound like my sort of book.
--
Laura (emulate St George for email)
BrritSki
2019-05-14 10:51:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by LFS
It's worth signing up to Goodreads, if only for Sid's excellent book
reviews.
And yours ! I wish mine were half as good :/
Dumrat
2019-05-14 12:18:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Thank you for the suggestions, Laura, I'll have a look at them when I've finished our
Swiss tax returns (have not progressed since I last mentioned them, but *have* proof-read
four essays for dorter's MA, so accomplished a little bit).
It's worth signing up to Goodreads, if only for Sid's excellent book reviews.
And yours !  I wish mine were half as good :/
I know I signed up for Goodreads years ago but I've never managed to negotiate the site
properly as for some reason, I wasn't interested enough in it to try to work it out. Might
it be that the whole concept just doesn't appeal to me because I'm too lazy to rate books
and write reviews?
--
Salaam Alaykum,
Anne, Exceptionally Traditionally-built Dumrat
LFS
2019-05-14 14:16:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dumrat
Thank you for the suggestions, Laura, I'll have a look at them when I've
finished our Swiss tax returns (have not progressed since I last
mentioned them, but *have* proof-read four essays for dorter's MA, so
accomplished a little bit).
It's worth signing up to Goodreads, if only for Sid's excellent book reviews.
And yours !  I wish mine were half as good :/
I know I signed up for Goodreads years ago but I've never managed to
negotiate the site properly as for some reason, I wasn't interested
enough in it to try to work it out. Might it be that the whole concept
just doesn't appeal to me because I'm too lazy to rate books and write
reviews?
No need to do that, you can just follow other people for suggestions,
although I initially joined because I found it useful to keep a record
of what I've read. Sid and Brritski told me about Netgalley and having
to post reviews in return for the freebies got me into the habit of
writing them. I don't always bother for every book I read but it does
serve as a useful reminder of what I thought.
--
Laura (emulate St George for email)
Clive Arthur
2019-05-12 09:12:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 11/05/2019 21:47, a l l y wrote:

<snip>
Post by a l l y
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to
me like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out
of the way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and
centred around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So
long since I read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the
old rail bridge was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal
Dreams" in which a woman will put up just about anything until her
'cello is threatened.
Whereas 'The Wasp Factory' was excellent and got me started. I then
read most of his non-SF books with 'Canal Dreams' being the only real
disappointment.

Cheers
--
Clive
Sam Plusnet
2019-05-12 21:02:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by a l l y
Post by Sid Nuncius
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks
(with or without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start
with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so kind
as to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist"
which contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real
all his SF ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's
where you'll learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of
his stories are set in The Culture.
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to
me like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out
of the way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and
centred around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So
long since I read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the
old rail bridge was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal
Dreams" in which a woman will put up just about anything until her
'cello is threatened.
The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that
you ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked
silly questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time
or space, real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply,
"The Culture.")
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely  inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books.
You have been warned!
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward
to his next book, and now there will be no more ....
Thanks Ally, all noted and Mount TobeRead amended accordingly.
Not too encouraged by that "dying in gruesomely..." bit though.
--
Sam Plusnet
BrritSki
2020-01-29 09:58:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by a l l y
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M). Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to me
like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out of the
way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and centred
around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So long since I
read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the old rail bridge
was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal Dreams" in which a woman
will put up just about anything until her 'cello is threatened.
The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that you
ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked silly
questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time or space,
real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply, "The Culture.")
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
ally
---
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus
BrritSki
2020-01-29 10:04:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by a l l y
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M). Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.
I just finished Consider Phlebus and was somewhat disappointed. The
construction of The Culture is very clever, but I thought he story poor.
There were certain bits that seemed irrelevant like the mountain
climbing genius girl and there didn't seem to be any point to it unless
it was too subtle for my tiny brain or very obvious with the Iridans
representing other religious fanatics which seems unlikely.

Far too much a space opera and with lots of gratuitous violence. It's a
long time since I read any SF and this reminds me why. I suppose I'd
find Dune and the Foundation series a bit underwhelming now too, but
they were both better than this.
Rosalind Mitchell
2020-01-29 10:42:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by BrritSki
Post by a l l y
I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M).  Can[1] umrats recommend a good one to start with?
[1]Of course you can.  Sorry.  What I mean is, would umrats be so
kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.
I just finished Consider Phlebus and was somewhat disappointed. The
construction of The Culture is very clever, but I thought he story poor.
There were certain bits that seemed irrelevant like the mountain
climbing genius girl and there didn't seem to be any point to it unless
it was too subtle for my tiny brain or very obvious with the Iridans
representing other religious fanatics which seems unlikely.
Far too much a space opera and with lots of gratuitous violence. It's a
long time since I read any SF and this reminds me why. I suppose I'd
find Dune and the Foundation series a bit underwhelming now too, but
they were both better than this.
Down the Crow Road there's a café that does excellent breakfasts. The
Stornoway Benedict is especially commended.

R


R
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2020-01-29 10:30:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
In message <b2f2c247-c97e-4061-bfd8-***@googlegroups.com>,
BrritSki <***@gmail.com> writes:
[]
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
[]
I felt the same about Isaac Asimov. (Though can't give the "most of my
adult life" as [a] I hope I've a fair way to go yet [b] it's a while
since the good Doctor died.) His early work was good (consistent) SF and
good stories, and his later work (still good consistent SF and) showed a
thoughtful liberal outlook.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Once a mind is opened it is very hard to shut.
Vicky Ayech
2020-01-29 11:55:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:30:22 +0000, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
[]
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
[]
I felt the same about Isaac Asimov. (Though can't give the "most of my
adult life" as [a] I hope I've a fair way to go yet [b] it's a while
since the good Doctor died.) His early work was good (consistent) SF and
good stories, and his later work (still good consistent SF and) showed a
thoughtful liberal outlook.
The Foundation series was good to begin with but the Robots were
perfect all through. I loved all of them, particularly the robot
psychologist.
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2020-01-29 19:12:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Vicky Ayech
On Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:30:22 +0000, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
[]
Post by a l l y
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
[]
I felt the same about Isaac Asimov. (Though can't give the "most of my
adult life" as [a] I hope I've a fair way to go yet [b] it's a while
I realised (after posting, of course) that Brritski meant "so far",
rather than that he's at death's door (at least I hope not!).
Post by Vicky Ayech
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
since the good Doctor died.) His early work was good (consistent) SF and
good stories, and his later work (still good consistent SF and) showed a
thoughtful liberal outlook.
The Foundation series was good to begin with but the Robots were
perfect all through. I loved all of them, particularly the robot
psychologist.
He actually (in later life) tied them all (Foundation, robots, and one
or two other books) into a coherent sequence of about 13 books,
admittedly with some minor anachronisms. (Or inconsistencies, or
whatever the right word is.)
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

I use science as my model here. We will crawl toward the truth without ever
knowing if we are all the way there. - Scott Adams, 2015-3-20
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