Your current reading list

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Re: Your current reading list

Postby michelle in alaska » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:51 am

No Easy Day.

He's an Alaskan.
The author says the writing of this book is not politically motivated. But there's talk of it being banned.
Buy it while it's still in print, i guess.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby friendlyskies » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:21 am

They say "No Easy Day" isn't out until tomorrow, but you can bit torrent it here: http://torrentz.eu/no/no+easy+day+mark+owen-q

And probably a lot of other places. You can't ban books anymore, yay! You can Bradley Manning the author, sure, but the days of book burning and banning are over, at least until someone kills the Internet.

Anyway, finally finished Forever Peace, by Joe Haldeman. I would have read it sooner, but I've been assigned all these gross-as-fuck pregnancy books so my midwife won't get pissy with me because I didn't know you could give birth in a swimming pool or whatever the hell these placenta-eating hippies are into. Why can't they just put us on the hard drugs, like they did back in the 1960s, and when we wake up the kid is like 5 months old? Ugh. I've been to some dangerous places, but this one takes the cake. Anyway, back to my non-required reading.

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So, if you've ever read Forever War, this book (1) has nothing to do with it, except for some of the military technology involved, and (2) is about ten million times better - the plot, the writing, everything. Since a lot of it takes place in Costa Rica - including a pivotal battle in my old stomping grounds, Liberia - it was especially fun for me, though there were some factual errors. Howler monkeys in the high-altitude cloud forests, Spanish Colonial architecture on the Liberia central plaza, etc. Really tiny things, but most of it was spot on. Lots of interesting plays on Costa Rica as a "nation of peace" turning into a war zone. Haldeman clearly spent some quality time in Costa Rica and Panama, so all props to him. He did fail to predict that the Panama Canal Zone would revert to Panamanian control... in 1999. The book was written in 1996. Hmmm.

What he did predict was the use of remote robots, controlled by "mechanics" from afar, as weapons used to terrorize and kill third-world rebels. Now, they aren't much like drones, though he does talk about "flyboys," remote-controlled airplane robots, which seems about right. He primarily concentrates on "soldierboys" (which can also be run by female mechanics), that are basically humanoid killer robots that can fuck up entire buildings, mow down crowds, sneak up on rebel bases, etc etc etc. You have to be "jacked" to use them - have a computer interface installed at the bottom of your skull so you can plug in and interact with machines (and people) at an extremely deep level online. The way it works was was almost completely ripped off by the movie Avatar, but the connection between "mechanics" who are "jacked in together" is much more intimate and complete - they grok each other in ways non-jacked people never will. This also has sexual uses, and many people get jacked just to fuck, have closer relationships, or plug into "recordings" and follow the war (or have other experiences - swimming in the Great Barrier Reef, being tortured to death, whatever) using all of your senses. It's regulated in the USA, so people go to Mexico and have jacks put in illegally, where you've got a 10% chance of dying or going brain-dead during the procedure. People still do it. Cypberpunky!

Anyway, in a nicely ironic turn of events, our protagonists (who are much better developed as relatable human beings than the characters in Forever War) discover that you can adapt military technology to achieve world peace. A 100-page chase scene ensues, a real page turner. This book FUCKING ROCKS. I think Forever War might be more enjoyable for folks with military knowledge than laypeople, while this one is much more generally appealing - not necessarily a recommendation in this crowd, but whatever. It's still five-star scifi, thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Ultra Swain » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:46 am

Are you knocked up Skies? Remember Ultra if its a boy, and Ultra Boo Boo child if its a horribly obese pageant thingy.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby ktrout » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:29 am

Ultra Swain wrote:Are you knocked up Skies? Remember Ultra if its a boy, and Ultra Boo Boo child if its a horribly obese pageant thingy.

Back off, man. She got hitched.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby friendlyskies » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:04 pm

Thank cultural hiccups it was to another Tennessean. He said, "I know it's every Tennessee girl's dream to marry the guy who knocked her up." And I replied, "I'd always wanted a wedding where my mother brought the shotgun." We betrothed in the Dekalb, Georgia, County Courthouse Marriage and Pistol Licensing Office, me looking like I swallowed a basketball. All the men in both our families are well over 6 feet and many have played defensive tackle at the SEC level.

And these fucking midwife books are like, "Don't do drugs, natural childbirth is beautiful and something you'll always remember." Jesus, people, I wouldn't even let them abort a 2-ounce fetus without a variety of legal and illegal drugs coursing through my system, and this critter's probably going to weigh ten fucking pounds! So I will not be recommending any of those books on this thread. I don't even want to read any more of these horror rags.

Instead, I bought a self-published book from an indi author at the Decatur Book Festival, "Almost a Spy" by Charles Petty. He was a "nobody, a former model who had some businesses that took him to Kuwait" back in the 1980s, and ended up, by a series of hilarious incidents, an advisor to the Kuwaiti royal family about all things Western. He learned Arabic super easily and was privy to all kinds of information, so the US spy folks (not the CIA, it was some other organization, but I haven't read the book yet and I can't remember what it was called) asked him to help them out.

Anyway, he was in position throughout the first Gulf War, and passed on a few dribs and drabs of info but nothing too big, since Kuwait was a US ally and we apparently weren't too concerned they would fuck us. BUT. After the Gulf War, they were totally pissed off that we didn't take out Saddam Hussein and hatched a plan to re-start the war. Basically, they were going to use some captured scuds, fire them at a US military camp from the Iraqi border, blame it on Iraq, and let the fireworks start. Petty flew to NYC and told some of his spy commanders, but word got back to a US (or NY?) Senator who had just bought a shit-ton of interest in Kuwaiti oil, and ratted him out to the Kuwaitis. They put his ass in prison for a couple of years and broke most every bone in his body, until finally George Bush the First sprang him right before leaving office.

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Seriously, which would you rather read: That AWESOME sounding primary historical document, or a book about what herbs to smear on your tits so you won't bleed during the first six weeks of breastfeeding? I didn't even need to know that you bled during breastfeeding. WTF. Are they born with fucking teeth? uhhhhhhhhhhhngghhhh
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby marie-angelique » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:47 pm

congratulations, ms fskies :)
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby coldharvest » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:28 pm

marie-angelique wrote:congratulations, ms fskies :)

Indeed
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby kilroy » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:33 am

cool. congrats on the wedding and the lil one fs! and definitely a good book recommend too.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby vagabond » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:02 pm

Congrats skies!
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Ultra Swain » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:10 pm

marie-angelique wrote:congratulations, ms fskies :)


You're next kitten! ;)
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby AztecDave » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:06 am

"quartered safe out here" by george macdonald fraser. great story about fighting the japs in burma. anybody who's ever been an infantryman anywhere will immediately recognize the characters and situations. written with the same sarcastic and cynical tone of his "Flashman" series. and those are all great reads themselves.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby coldharvest » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:16 am

AztecDave wrote:"quartered safe out here" by george macdonald fraser.

Fucking fantastic book, one of the best ever written.
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Fenrisco » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:54 pm

AztecDave wrote:"quartered safe out here" by george macdonald fraser.


Brilliant and sobering. Loved the part about his reaction to modern-day Japanese at the end - completely understandable and written sensitively while losing no strength whatsoever.

There is an audio version, read by the man himself, occasionally broadcast on Radio 4 Extra. That's the version I heard; is there really a character called "Grandarse" in the book?
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby AztecDave » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:25 pm

grandarse IS a character in the book.
The real Army, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the army in which I should like to fight.”
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Re: Your current reading list

Postby Fenrisco » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:19 am

AztecDave wrote:grandarse IS a character in the book.


Brilliant. Thought it might be my tendency to mishear innocuous things as jokes. Looks like Fraser's audio version is out of print (and only on tape) but I guess it could be found and downloaded somewhere, since they seem to broadcast it as a serial every year or so.

http://www.amazon.com/Quartered-Safe-Out-Here-Unabridged/dp/0753100487/ref=tmm_abk_title_0
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