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What To Read

I'm trying to decide what to read.

open to a wide variety.

i just read a book about a navy seal who went on the kill bin laden mission.

i read all The Expanse books (sci fi) recently and before that i read some fantasy. i'm getting pickier about fantasy.

i generally dislike books about "regular people", especially living today or in the somewhat recent past. especially if they are losers or don't do much. i don't like unhappy people.

i prefer books where people do big or notable things (even if the character is e.g. a thief).

i like reading about the important parts of history.

science stuff is good if the book is actually good. but i find it usually has some really bad arguments or explanations. so either i think it's wrong or i don't find it very helpful for learning anything.

philosophy is good if there is a purpose to reading it. i don't like reading bad thinkers for no particular reason just because they are famous (e.g. locke, hume, kant, plato, artistotle, mill, marx, hegel).

i like spies and military stuff but don't know which books are good. might try more kinda randomly.

i read modern politics books but i generally don't like it when the ideas are bad. i read Flynn's book (The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies) the other day. it was ok. not that great. he did a pretty good job of being right (by saying stuff he knows and not overreaching). but it was a bit superficial and short, i felt i didn't learn that much due to the lack of detail arguments.

i could read more economics stuff (like ricardo, menger, adam smith, or some of the new austrians alive today) but i don't have in mind a clear purpose of what to do with the info and i don't really expect to learn many good ideas/args i don't already know.

i can read bad thinkers and write criticism but what for? no one's listening. i don't learn a lot from it. sometimes i get interested in some instance e.g. when it comes up in a discussion.

one purpose to reading bad thinkers is to try to understand people's confusions. except who actually read locke or kant or plato or whatever? and even if they did, is that REALLY where they are getting their ideas? nah, at least not directly. even if someone basically believes stuff Plato advocated, and read some Plato, they usually will be totally lost if you criticize Plato. even fans of Plato mostly don't know enough about his writing to follow criticism of it, let alone learn something important and change their minds.

i liked reading some stuff about the people who built the railroads and oil companies and the "robber barrons". and some stuff about steve jobs. maybe there's more good stuff like that. i don't know what to search for though. i have low opinions of a lot of the modern famous/rich businessmen. i'm not gonna read a book about Gates or Musk. fuck them.

i liked reading some books about the history of dungeons and dragons, war games, etc. there's a really long detailed one full of scholarship. i think i got the idea though.

i generally don't like reading about psychology, persuasion, rhetoric, etc, b/c it's confused crap. same with parenting or relationships. it's hard to find worthwhile books on a lot of the topics i write about.

sometimes i read anthology or collection type books. like you get fiction books with a different authory for each short story. or non-fiction with a different author for each chapter. it's good for sampling a variety and then you can try more stuff by authors you like. i've found some fiction i liked that way. for the non-fiction i often find it all sucks.

taking suggestions.

Elliot Temple on October 12, 2016

Messages (101)

what about "The Technopriests"

beautiful art

some ideas seem similar to your own

for instance:


overall not your philosophy

i don't know of any fiction that is based on your values but the one you already read.

maybe you should write a book?

Anonymous at 3:07 AM on October 13, 2016 | #6801 | reply | quote

You can read the books Donald Trump has written.

He has written many books.

You said to have read some of them. You can finish the remaining.

or read and crit self-help motivational authors. ( most people go to them instead of you. You can get some good quality people mislead by self-help)

Trump likes Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad). You can crit him.

or read & Crit remaining Ann Coulter books.

or read & crit D'souza book (Hillary's America)

Or read Benjamin Franklin incomplete Biography.

ff at 3:50 AM on October 14, 2016 | #6802 | reply | quote

or you could read Rami's books. He has written two.

FF at 4:09 AM on October 14, 2016 | #6803 | reply | quote

I've already replied to Rami on FI list where he refused to discuss.

BTW he may actually be plagiarizing me, I'm not sure. I don't think he knows how to tell if he is or isn't.


self-help books sound unpleasant and like i won't learn anything.

curi at 10:37 AM on October 14, 2016 | #6804 | reply | quote

> BTW he may actually be plagiarizing me, I'm not sure. I don't think he knows how to tell if he is or isn't..

In his Anger Management book he has mentioned fallible ideas many times. He might add more acknowledgements if you ask him.

He has mentioned fallible ideas many times in his " How to get more right answers" book.

Many students who have bought his book might get interested in your philosophy.

FF at 8:02 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6805 | reply | quote

Correction: In his Anger Management book he has added you as one of the authors.

Anger: And how to change


Rami Rustom

Elliot Temple

FF at 8:04 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6806 | reply | quote

source on attributing Elliot as an author?

Anonymous at 8:14 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6807 | reply | quote

> source on attributing Elliot as an author?

What kind of source do you want?

I have both his books. But I am not allowed to share them.

FF at 8:16 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6808 | reply | quote

where did you get the book which says Elliot is an author?

Anonymous at 8:17 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6809 | reply | quote

> where did you get the book which says Elliot is an author?

Rami gave me the pdfs

FF at 8:17 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6810 | reply | quote

Rami didn't ask me first. Naming me as an author without asking is **fraud** and a **gross violation of my rights**.

Elliot Temple at 8:18 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6811 | reply | quote

> Rami didn't ask me first. Naming me as an author without asking is **fraud** and a **gross violation of my rights**.

It was written long back. Maybe you forgot.

I had sent you a thank you card on

21/07/15 at 11:12 PM by mistake

You should have known that you were an author of that book.

FF at 8:24 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6812 | reply | quote

I didn't forget. I didn't coauthor it. Rami committed fraud.

I see your email in which Rami says that I'm a coauthor and also says that he hasn't told me yet. That's **fraud**.

Elliot Temple at 8:28 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6813 | reply | quote

> I didn't forget. I didn't coauthor it. Rami committed fraud.

First you said he was plagiarizing by not giving you credits. I quoted the title to solve that problem.

Now you are saying he committed a fraud. But you didn't get a copyright over the essays right? He can copy stuff if he gives you credits right?

Maybe he wanted to give you a surprise.

> I see your email in which Rami says that I'm a coauthor and also says > that he hasn't told me yet. That's **fraud**.

I thought adding you as an author was a good thing. That meant he wasn't plagiarizing your content as his.

Link for Rami's books -


FF at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6814 | reply | quote

I'm not a co-author. So saying I'm a co-author is fraud.

I do have copyright over all of my essays. Copyright is basically automatic.

Surprise fraud is fraud.

You can't solve plagiarism problems by adding fraud on top of them.

When dealing with copyrighted works, you have to get *permissions* or do what's called *fair use*. Otherwise copying stuff is copyright infringement.

Fair use limits what you can use, in what ways, for what purposes, and also requires giving appropriate credit. In my understanding, Rami has not done this correctly and is both a plagiarist (taking credit for other people's ideas) and a copyright infringer (violating the law).

Elliot Temple at 8:48 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6815 | reply | quote

> I'm not a co-author. So saying I'm a co-author is fraud.

You can buy his 3rd book to see if it has your content.


You and Rami and follow the permission process well this time. It will release on May 1, 2017. It is available for preorder.

FF at 9:12 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6816 | reply | quote


And follow = can follow

FF at 9:13 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6817 | reply | quote

rami should not release it, he has no idea what he's doing and hasn't spoken to me about it to check anything. he will probably violate my rights again.

Elliot Temple at 9:15 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6818 | reply | quote

secondarily, Rami's ideas suck and he should learn good ideas before making books.

Anonymous at 9:16 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6819 | reply | quote

> secondarily, Rami's ideas suck and he should learn good ideas before making books.

The urge to share ideas might be too much.

I get overexcited and give sermon to family and people who listen for 4-5 hours eventhough I haven't learned many FI ideas.

FF at 9:21 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6820 | reply | quote

then write a blog, not a book?

Anonymous at 9:25 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6821 | reply | quote

> then write a blog, not a book?

Rami has a blog. His domains expires often though.

FF at 9:26 PM on October 14, 2016 | #6822 | reply | quote

history books

Some books I thought were interesting:

"Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History" by john david lewis

"The Pursuit Of The Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages" by Norman Cohn.

"No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It" by David B. Kopel

oh my god it's turpentine at 4:08 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7312 | reply | quote

I like Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson

Has some interesting ideas about memes. There are a few holes in them, but I can work out viable explanations that fill them.

Main characters are skill-orientated, take their work seriously, try to be great.

Anonymous at 4:31 PM on November 21, 2016 | #7697 | reply | quote

I like the Ghost in the Shell manga.

There are some notable flaws. I think it has some mixed up ideas between altruism and individualism. It doesn't wholesale advocate altruism, is very often individualistic, but has some moments where it values sacrifice.

I'm not sure if it's just using the language of altruism (eg someone giving their life because they don't want a world where the consequences of not doing it are worse, then calling it "sacrifice") or if it actually endorses altruism.

Also semi-mystical in attitude to the "ghost". But I think mystical attitude of we have these things called ghosts that set us apart from robots is much better than attitude of humans are just sophisticated automata that seems to come way too much in sci-fi. It's not a good explanation of consciousness, but it doesn't deny consciousness either.

Main characters are skill-orientated, take their work seriously, live very focused purposeful lives.

Lots of fun and imaginative tech too. I look forward to when technology means I can just remove faulty parts and replace them when they wear out. Death sucks.

Anonymous at 3:02 PM on November 27, 2016 | #7734 | reply | quote


I read a ton of Heinlein books some years ago and mostly liked them. I didn't keep a list of which I read. I started reading Heinlein again, at random.

I read Between Planets today. I liked it. It involves humans living on mars and venus, war, spies, and the importance of physics.

I liked Sixth Column too. The US is conquered by the pan-asians (china conquered russia already). 6 military men in a mountain are alive and in possession of advanced science. they come up with a plan to take back the country.

I liked "Gulf" from Assignment in Eternity (a book with 4 stories). It involves spies, future science, people living on the moon, and smart people who care about speed reading and speed talking. I wasn't impressed by the other 3 stories in that book.

My favorite Heinlein story, from reading a bunch in the past, was *The Man Who Sold The Moon*.

I don't know where to find similar sci fi stories. I liked a bunch of Greg Egan books, though those are pretty different – more science, not much in the way of pro-freedom pro-individualism themes like Heinlein has plenty of. A lot of Heinlein involves war, politics, pioneering, exploration or commerce, and there are anti-government themes. Heinlein also has pro-heroism and pro-science attitudes. His characters have a rugged, can-do spirit, aren't afraid of hard work, and don't spend their time obeying authority. They aren't a bunch of college boys who let bureaucrats boss them around, nor a bunch of whiners who want government handouts.

I've read a lot of fantasy books but I've gotten less interested in the genre, and my quality standards have gone up, and it's hard to find more that I consider readable. I've tried a lot that I thought were really quite bad. I've tried a fair amount of sci fi, too, but not as much. I found some leads on other sci fi authors to to try: https://www.tor.com/2012/10/28/something-else-like-heinlein/ I will try some after I run out of Heinlein.

My favorite fantasy is Brandon Sanderson (particularly the first mistborn triology, elantris, warbreaker, and the stormlight archive, in no particular order. that's 5 of his oldest books. i find his new books worth reading but not as good, except for the stormlight archive series, which is great.) I also particularly like Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards series but sadly he's only finished 3 books and more don't seem to be forthcoming. Sanderson, by contrast, is extremely productive and keeps writing a ton all the time.

curi at 8:12 PM on May 23, 2019 | #12488 | reply | quote

I read Rocket Ship Galileo and Space Cadet. Both solid, nothing too special. I like the sense of life.

curi at 8:21 PM on May 24, 2019 | #12502 | reply | quote

I read *the rolling stones*. Solid space story with more sense of life than plot. lots of Heinlein's earlier books are a little over 200 pages and have a weak plot. they are often like "here are the characters. now they do thing 1. now they do thing 2. now thing 3." and it ends after the second or third major thing. the things are related but you could tell the story of thing 2 without the story of thing 1.

in The Rolling Stones part 1 introduces the characters (a family named Stone) and they get a spaceship. part 2 is the trip to mars and the visit to mars. for part 3 they go to the asteroid belt.

in Space Cadet, part 1 is training/education to be part of the of the space patrol, and part 2 is their first mission.

in Rocket Ship Galileo, part 1 is introducing the characters and their hobbyist work on rockets. part 2 is building a ship to go to the moon and flying there. part 3 is what happens on the moon.

curi at 4:38 PM on May 25, 2019 | #12508 | reply | quote

Between Planets has a stronger plot because the character has a goal early on which drives a lot of the story. i like the low-plot novels fine, but i would recommend Between Planets more. not just for the better plot, it was also more interesting in other ways, e.g. i liked the dragon species that lives on Venus (no, they aren't similar to fantasy dragons. they don't fly around breathing fire. they are more like an alien species with their own culture which happens to be in a bodily shape similar enough to a dragon that people call them dragons).

Between Planets is my favorite of my recent readings. I'd recommend Gulf second; i think it packs a good amount into only like a quarter of a book.

curi at 4:43 PM on May 25, 2019 | #12509 | reply | quote

I finished *Friday*, which i particularly liked. it's loosely sequel to *Gulf*. i would recommend reading *Gulf* first. you don't need to but it's shorter and is referred to a bit.

the main character and cultural ideas are interesting. the world political situation is rather different than ours and the main character participates in 3+ person marriages. my favorite part is when she spends time with a library. it explores racism type themes because the main character is an artificial person (think test tube baby), but it's not like how today's SJWs talk about racism.

also here's a quote i liked:

> a public employee, having no self-respect, needs and demands a show of public respect.

curi at 10:42 AM on May 26, 2019 | #12514 | reply | quote

Gulf is around 25k words and Friday is around 135k. Between Planets is around 65k.

curi at 10:53 AM on May 26, 2019 | #12515 | reply | quote

I enjoyed Heinlein's *Star Beast* a lot. I particularly recommend that one. It has kinda like a talking alien dog, a court trial, and negotiations between humanity and an alien species. That doesn't do it justice but I'm avoiding spoilers.

*Starman Jones* is another solid coming-of-age story, with a male lead, involving space. It involves basically beginning in a career and advancing in it. Jones wants to work on spaceships in transit.

*Tunnel in the Sky* is another solid coming-of-age story, with a male lead, involving low tech survival on a strange planet. It involves basically beginning in a career and advancing in it.

curi at 2:50 PM on May 30, 2019 | #12568 | reply | quote

*Farmer in the Sky* is about colonizing Ganymede. It's very hard to start a farm there. Another solid coming of age story with a male lead and sci-fi elements like space.

curi at 2:52 PM on May 30, 2019 | #12569 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Citizen of the Galaxy* which I remember liking in the past. I liked it again. I'd forgotten most of it.

The main character goes from slave to beggar to space traveller/trader to more. It covers 4 phases of his life. It's another coming of age kinda story but a bit longer. I can't say much more without spoilers.

curi at 10:45 AM on May 31, 2019 | #12579 | reply | quote

I reread Heinlein's *The Moon is a Harsh Mistress*. I think it's overrated for having a violent libertarian revolution plot (to free the moon from being ruled by the Earth). It also has an AI. It has fully adult characters, a poly marriage, and it's longer than the early books (like double the length).

It's pretty good. Overrated doesn't mean bad. I liked this press conference on Earth:

> One man demanded to know why, since we paid no taxes, we [lunar] colonists thought we had a right to run things our own way? After all, those colonies had been established by Federated Nations—by some of them. It had been terribly expensive. Earth had paid all bills—and now you colonists enjoy benefits and pay not one dime of taxes. Was that fair?

> I wanted to tell him to blow it. But Prof had again made me take a tranquilizer and had required me to swot that endless list of answers to trick questions. "Lets take that one at a time," I said. "First, what is it you want us to pay taxes for? Tell me what I get and perhaps I'll buy it. No, put it this way. Do you pay taxes?"

> "Certainly I do! And so should you."

> "And what do you get for your taxes?"

> "Huh? Taxes pay for government."

> I said, "Excuse me, I'm ignorant. I've lived my whole life in Luna, I don't know much about your government. Can you feed it to me in small pieces? What do you get for your money?"

> They all got interested and anything this aggressive little choom missed, others supplied. I kept a list. When they stopped, I read it back:

> "Free hospitals—aren't any in Luna. Medical insurance—we have that but apparently not what you mean by it. If a person wants insurance, he goes to a bookie and works out a bet. You can hedge anything, for a price. I don't hedge my health, I'm healthy. Or was till I came here. We have a public library, one Carnegie Foundation started with a few book films. It gets along by charging fees. Public roads. I suppose that would be our tubes. But they are no more free than air is free. Sorry, you have free air here, don't you? I mean our tubes were built by companies who put up money and are downright nasty about expecting it back and then some. Public schools. There are schools in all warrens and I never heard of them turning away pupils, so I guess they are 'public.' But they pay well, too, because anyone in Luna who knows something useful and is willing to teach it charges all the traffic will bear."

> I went on: "Let's see what else— Social security. I'm not sure what that is but whatever it is, we don't have it. Pensions. You can buy a pension. Most people don't; most families are large and old people, say a hundred and up, either fiddle along at something they like, or sit and watch video. Or sleep. They sleep a lot, after say a hundred and twenty."

> "Sir, excuse me. Do people really live as long on the Moon as they say?"

> I looked surprised but wasn't; this was a "simulated question" for which an answer had been taped. "Nobody knows how long a person will live in Luna; we haven't been there long enough. Our oldest citizens were born Earthside, it's no test. So far, no one born in Luna died of old age, but that's still no test; they haven't had time to grow old yet, less than a century. But— Well, take me, madam; how old would you say I am? I'm authentic Loonie, third generation."

> "Uh, truthfully, Colonel Davis, I was surprised at your youthfulness—for this mission, I mean. You appear to be about twenty-two. Are you older? Not much, I fancy."

> "Madam, I regret that your local gravitation makes it impossible for me to bow. Thank you. I've been married longer than that."

> "What? Oh, you're jesting!"

> "Madam, I would never venture to guess a lady's age but, if you will emigrate to Luna, you will keep your present youthful loveliness much longer and add at least twenty years to your life." I looked at list. "I'll lump the rest of this together by saying we don't have any of it in Luna, so I can't see any reason to pay taxes for it. On that other point, sir, surely you know that the initial cost of the colonies has long since been repaid several times over through grain shipments alone? We are being bled white of our most essential resources . . .and not even being paid an open-market price. That's why the Lunar Authority is being stubborn; they intend to go on bleeding us. The idea that Luna has been an expense to Terra and the investment must be recovered is a lie invented by the Authority to excuse their treating us as slaves. The truth is that Luna has not cost Terra one dime this century—and the original investment has long since been paid back."

> He tried to rally. "Oh, surely you're not claiming that the Lunar colonies have paid all the billions of dollars it took to develop space flight?"

> "I could present a good case. However there is no excuse to charge that against us. You have space flight, you people of Terra. We do not. Luna has not one ship. So why should we pay for what we never received? It's like the rest of this list. We don't get it, why should we pay for it?"

> Had been stalling, waiting for a claim that Prof had told me I was sure to hear . . . and got it at last.

> "Just a moment, please!" came a confident voice. "You ignored the two most important items on that list. Police protection and armed forces. You boasted that you were willing to pay for what you get . . . so how about paying almost a century of back taxes for those two? It should be quite a bill, quite a bill!" He smiled smugly.

> Wanted to thank him!—thought Prof was going to chide me for failing to yank it out. People looked at each other and nodded, pleased I had been scored on. Did best to look innocent. "Please? Don't understand. Luna has neither police nor armed forces."

> "You know what I mean. You enjoy the protection of the Peace Forces of the Federated Nations. And you do have police. Paid for by the Lunar Authority! I know, to my certain knowledge, that two phalanges were sent to the Moon less than a year ago to serve as policemen."

> "Oh." I sighed. "Can you tell me how F.N. peace forces protect Luna? I did not know that any of your nations wanted to attack us. We are far away and have nothing anyone envies. Or did you mean we should pay them to leave us alone? If so, there is an old saying that once you pay Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane. Sir, we will fight F.N. armed forces if we must . . . we shall never pay them.

> "Now about those so-called 'policemen.' They were not sent to protect us. Our Declaration of Independence told the true story about those hoodlums—did your newspapers print it?" (Some had, some hadn't—depended on country.) "They went mad and started raping and murdering! And now they are dead! So don't send us any more troops!"

The comment "I don't hedge my health, I'm healthy." is stupid though. What if he gets hit by a car or gets cancer? He could risk it to save money but "I'm healthy" is not a reason to risk it. If he said, "I didn't hedge my health, I'm poor." that would actually make sense.

(btw that sentence is a comma splice. it's wrong tho i think it's alright informally, you can understand it. the comma could be a semi-colon or the word "because")

curi at 12:30 PM on June 2, 2019 | #12605 | reply | quote

I reread Heinlein's *Red Planet*. It's OK. The stuff with the martians is weird (kinda like new agey spiritual meditation stuff). The rest is about as good as his other juveniles. Kid (maybe age 15? idk) living on Mars goes to school (also on Mars) where the headmaster is very nasty; kid ends up having an adventure.

Today I'm rereading *The Puppet Masters*. Not a juvenile. I'm enjoying it. It involves spies and aliens. No more comments cuz I don't wanna spoil the plot.

curi at 2:32 PM on June 6, 2019 | #12674 | reply | quote

Heinlein's *Methuselah's Children* involves long lifespan, space travel, aliens with very different culture than us, and persecution of men, by men, for being superior.

It's the first of ~5 books that share a major character. I don't yet know how related the plots are.

curi at 11:03 AM on June 7, 2019 | #12680 | reply | quote

I've also been reading some interesting technical grammar/linguistics papers like https://www.glossa-journal.org/articles/10.5334/gjgl.537/

curi at 11:21 AM on June 7, 2019 | #12682 | reply | quote

Terry Goodkind is a self proclaimed Objectivist:


He writes fantasy. I have not read anything of his so I can't say if it is good or bad. Have you read anything of Goodkind?

Anonymous at 7:22 AM on June 10, 2019 | #12710 | reply | quote

I read *Wizard's First Rule* ages ago after hearing about Goodkind being an Objectivist (possibly I read it first, heard that second). I thought it was a normal fantasy book. I didn't particularly like it. I also saw the TV show. I have heard that it's only later books which have Objectivist stuff.

I think I've seen a few Goodkind quotes that didn't impress me either. If someone knows a few great quotes, please share it and maybe then I'll want to read more.

curi at 10:39 AM on June 10, 2019 | #12713 | reply | quote

I reread Heinlein's *Starship Troopers*. I disagree with some of the intellectual themes but I still like the book. It is about military culture. And see this FI topic where I post a lengthy scene advocating spanking and ask if anyone can refute it: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/fallible-ideas/BZekBJfADZE/KTqgSldnBQAJ

I read 70% of *Time Enough for Love* which is weird. I don't like Heinlein's polygamy material in general and I'm not very interested in his views on genetics (which are old and have no criticisms or improvements to offer re my beliefs about genetics). I might not read the rest of the book.

curi at 10:44 AM on June 10, 2019 | #12714 | reply | quote

I reread Heinlein's *Have Space Suit – Will Travel*. I like the progression as he travels to 4 places that aren't on Earth. I like the person he travels with and (mostly) his sense of life. And I like how it's partly an adventure story, but partly other things, instead of just one thing.

curi at 10:13 PM on June 10, 2019 | #12725 | reply | quote

Do you read manga? Have you read Berserk?

Anonymous at 7:27 AM on June 11, 2019 | #12728 | reply | quote

I watched anime years ago. Got tired of it. I watched Berserk (1997 version, not 2016). My friend was super impressed by it (and I think he read some Berserk manga); I thought it was OK. I read (past tense) a little manga (in general) but not much. I never read a lot of comics either, nor graphic novels. I generally don't like the format very much.

curi at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2019 | #12730 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Double Star*. It's a fun one! It involves covert action, politics, and a bit of space.

curi at 10:07 PM on June 11, 2019 | #12743 | reply | quote

#12730 I can identify with that. It usually has so much filler.

Regarding Berserk I think the manga as well as the -97 version (I have not seen the -16 version either) is interesting as it has the dynamics of tribalism and it's clashes with individualism (Guts, the protagonist).

One major theme in the manga is individualism, breaking with tradition ("destiny"), and taking charge of ones life. It's dialog heavy but also heavy on action. For those that like dark fantasy and manga I recommend it. Mind it it's ful of gore, so if you do not like that Berserk most likely is not for you. (By you I adress the reader, as Curi has already seen it.)

Anonymous at 5:13 AM on June 12, 2019 | #12747 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Time For the Stars*. It was OK. It has telepathy and space travel. In general my least favorite Heinlein themes are telepathy/ESP/psychic powers and polygamy/marriage/family. I prefer the space, the adventure, the science, the productive people, the pioneers, the spies, the coming of age stuff, and the military stuff.

curi at 9:05 PM on June 12, 2019 | #12759 | reply | quote

Has anyone read *The Robber Barons: John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt* and can say if it is good or not?


I was looking for *The Myth of the Robber Barons* in Audible, but they didn't have that one.


Anonymous at 2:15 AM on June 13, 2019 | #12760 | reply | quote

#12760 No, but you should be able to get a sense of the book by reading a few passages + a few amazon reviews.

Re *The Myth of the Robber Barons*, use Voice Dream Reader or other Text To Speech.

Anonymous at 10:26 AM on June 13, 2019 | #12762 | reply | quote

I read Hazlitt's Thinking as a Science. I like and recommend it, especially chapters 1, 5, 7. It's pretty short even if you read all the chapters. There is some inductivism and mainstream epistemology, but also some CR-like stuff

You can find some quotes from the book (not posted by me) at http://curi.us/2189-open-discussion#c12443

curi at 10:34 AM on June 13, 2019 | #12763 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *The Door into Summer*. It involves an inventor/engineer and cryonics. No space! Another solid one.

curi at 10:17 PM on June 13, 2019 | #12769 | reply | quote

I read *Variable Star*, which was written based on an old Heinlein outline that he hadn't turned into a book.

It was not great. In a fair amount of ways it was similar to a Heinlein book. (And a typical, good one, not one of the weird ones.) But the sense of life was wrong, and I actually judged that the author is a bad person (even before the brief aside with a leftist political interpretation of the war on terror).

I'd be interested in discussing what's wrong with it with someone who had read it and also had read a lot of Heinlein.

curi at 9:47 PM on June 14, 2019 | #12774 | reply | quote

#12762 I did not realize one could get a sample. Thanks.

I did not get a good impression reading the preview of *The Robber Barons: John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt*. I did *not* get this book.

From the Rockefeller chapter (free sample).

> ... Cornelius Vanderbilt controlling the the monopoly on the waterways and Andrew Carnegie operating the steel monopoly, many wondered if there was another monopoly to be controlled in America.

> However, while the wealth of John [Rockefeller] was enough to warrant a second glance into the life of the industrialist, John found *his true love in dispersing the wealth* amassed during his lifetime.

>Trough the life of John D. Rockefeller, one can learn that there *truly is no greater joy than bestowing wealth to those not as fortunate* in the world.

Anonymous at 5:56 AM on June 15, 2019 | #12777 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Orphans of the Sky*. It's about people who live in a giant spaceship but no longer understand what a spaceship is. Something went wrong generations ago. Pretty good.

If ppl aren’t gonna read Popper/etc carefully they could at least read it quickly like i read scifi. The amount I've read in the last month – as a secondary activity after I do primary writing/research/etc – would make a good dent in the FI reading list.

curi at 6:59 PM on June 16, 2019 | #12778 | reply | quote

> If ppl aren’t gonna read Popper/etc carefully they could at least read it quickly like i read scifi. The amount I've read in the last month – as a secondary activity after I do primary writing/research/etc – would make a good dent in the FI reading list.

I had been holding off on reading Popper and other philosophy until I get better at reading/thinking/learning. I think I'd misunderstand a lot of it if I read it now. But maybe it's still worth doing.

Anne B at 8:55 AM on June 17, 2019 | #12780 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Podkayne of Mars*. Another solid one. Pretty normal Heinlein book. Nothing wrong with it.

I've tried looking for more fantasy authors to read, at various times, and I find a fair amount of them are so bad they're not readable. And that includes books and authors that win awards or even that were recommended by Brandon Sanderson. Just writing books that are actually readable is an accomplishment that is rarer than people realize, IMO. Maybe that's a big part of why most people don't like reading – most books are bad and they aren't familiar enough with better books to know it's the book's fault and that they can find better books (and they don't know how to find good books cuz awful ones get plenty of recommendations and good reviews, so how are you supposed to find the ones that are actually good? and if you read one with great reviews and it sucks then I can see how it would look like books just suck.)

curi at 5:37 PM on June 21, 2019 | #12822 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Farnham's Freehold*. It was pretty solid and standard. Not exceptional and not weird.

curi at 1:53 PM on June 27, 2019 | #12914 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *Glory Road*. Atypically, it had major fantasy elements.

curi at 6:01 PM on June 28, 2019 | #12921 | reply | quote

Robert Heinlein in *Expanded Universe* (short story collection, but this is his own opinion, not from within a story):

> Anyone today who simply brushes off ESP phenomena as being ridiculous is either pigheaded or ignorant.

curi at 12:54 PM on July 1, 2019 | #12943 | reply | quote

I read *Hellbender* by Frank J. Fleming (who made the IMAO blog). It's a funny sci-fi adventure. FYI he has a couple other books too.

I read Heinlein's *Expanded Universe* collection of short stories. Solid stuff. I skipped some of the non-fiction at the end.

I also read (more solid stuff):

Robert A Heinlein - Shorts Vol 1.txt

It contained the short stories:

Ordeal in Space



Space Jockey

The Black Pits of Luna

The Discovery of the Future

The Green Hills of Earth

The Long Watch

All You Zombies

curi at 12:16 PM on July 5, 2019 | #12964 | reply | quote

I particularly liked some of Heinlein's short stories related to atom bomb concerns.

The Long Watch

Solution Unsatisfactory

Blowups Happen

I thought those had some interesting ideas in them (the first is particularly short with a standard idea, the second and third have more unique ideas).

curi at 12:24 PM on July 5, 2019 | #12965 | reply | quote

I read Heinlein's *6xH* and *The Past Through Tomorrow*. Good stuff. I skip stories I already read in the last few months. Next I'll be looking through some individual short stories to see if I can find any that I missed. I'm about done with Heinlein. There is still some Lazarus Long stuff I could read, and I could reread *Stranger in a Strange Land*, but I think I may skip those.

curi at 8:13 AM on July 9, 2019 | #12990 | reply | quote

I read parts of Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. I read the first like 8% and didn't like it. So I read a bit around 50%, 75%, and 90% through and then the Epilogue, and I got a much better idea of what the book is and that I don't want to read it.

I think it's bad and that the author is a bad thinker. I disliked how the characters thought and talked, which I think was mostly based on the author's own sense of life view of the world. Also the views on genetics, human nature and violence in the book are really awful and anti-reason. And there's a general lack of intelligence combined with some social fakery to try to sound smart.

I would like to read a book with a similar sort of plot by a good author, but this book is too unreadable for me. I like many of the topics.

Some of the use of references remind me of Ready Player One as reviewed and extensively criticized by CharlesXII at http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4248817&mc=515&forum_id=2 There were fantastic four and batman references in particular near the beginning that I thought were irrelevant pandering crap and were handled really badly.

IMO there's something really off and bad about the writing style throughout. It's hard to explain though.

I liked Stephenson's Snowcrash and Diamond Age years ago. I read Cryptonomicon too but was less impressed. I started Quicksilver but got bored early on. I don't know if the old books are bad like Seveneves (and I was a less perceptive reader) or if he was better then and changed. Both seem plausible.

I read parts of Seveneves after DD tweeted plugging Stephenson's latest book. I read several negative Amazon reviews about the new book. One in particular said he had gotten too popular for editors to tell him what to do, so it was incoherent because no one could fix anything. They said the same thing had happened with Heinlein, which makes some sense to me because some of Heinlein's late books are weird and bad IMO even though I like most of his books. Anyway that guy thought Seveneves and Anathem were good, unlike the new one, so that's why I tried Seveneves.

I could go into more detail but I don't really want to.

curi at 10:50 PM on August 10, 2019 | #13276 | reply | quote

I read Lucifer Curves: The Legacy of Lead Poisoning


It's pretty good. The first chapter about Lucifer was awful and pointless. Just skip it. There's a lot of correlation and statistics stuff but also some causation too and it's way better and more convincing than any twin study. And it's short.

I didn't fact check it. I read it with text to speech and missed every graph and chart. I didn't carefully look over the reasoning or details. But my general impression was that lead poisoning was a big deal and the author had good reasoning that'd be hard to refute (on the main claims, no doubt there are some detail errors).

curi at 10:55 PM on August 10, 2019 | #13277 | reply | quote

I read *Old Man's War* by John Scalzi. It was OK. A decent military sci-fi novel. Nothing too special about it. It was readable. Lots of books are bad – and I think I'm a bit picky – so that's pretty good. Found via https://www.tor.com/2012/10/28/something-else-like-heinlein/ I'm also going to try some other authors from that blog post.

curi at 8:09 PM on September 2, 2019 | #13426 | reply | quote

I read *Space Viking* by H. Beam Piper. OK. Not great.

I read *The Warrior's Apprentice* by Lois Bujold. I liked it a lot! I recommend it! And now I see that it's a series. There are like 30 books by this author in this world! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorkosigan_Saga#Works

It wasn't intellectual or "hard" sci-fi, but it was fun and had a positive sense of life. It was a hero's journey.

(I got several books at once and had totally forgotten which were standalone and which weren't. The book reads find as a standalone book but also introduces a world where more could happen.)

curi at 10:01 PM on September 11, 2019 | #13486 | reply | quote

I also reread *Elantris* by Brandon Sanderson. It's great but I've read it too many times. I didn't pay a lot of attention. (I'm reading these books with Voice Dream Reader. I often read audio+visual, but also a lot with just audio, and with audio only it's pretty easy to do other things and pay less attention, though I can follow fine with audio only if I focus. Also I mostly read at 450-600 wpm.)

curi at 12:57 AM on September 12, 2019 | #13489 | reply | quote

I read Bujold's:

- Dreamweaver's Dilemma

- Falling Free

- Shards of Honor

- Aftermaths

- Barrayar

- Mountains of Mourning

The first 5 of those 6 predate Miles, the main character who I liked in *The Warrior's Apprentice* who I believe is also the main character in most later books. They were OK and give significant context for the Miles book I'd read already. But I didn't like them as much. I'm hoping the next couple Miles books will be really good instead of just OK. Mountains of Mourning is a novella with Miles that I enjoyed.

curi at 10:22 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13590 | reply | quote

I read *The Vor Game* and *Cetaganda*. They are fun Miles books comparable to *The Warrior's Apprentice*. I'm glad.

The books have some flaws but are readable. I find most books pretty much unreadable.

They are the fantasy or adventure in space type of sci-fi, not the scientific type of sci fi. They aren't intellectual. They involve war, violence, spying, rulers and politics.

Miles is clever *and* lucky. He solves some problems by being clever or using skill or planning ahead or whatever, which I like. He solves some problems by getting lucky. The luck is not a rare thing. He gets lucky in big ways multiple times per book. He would have died many times without great luck. He has a ton of plot armor. It's kinda like the TV shows where main characters can run through a bunch of gun fire – every 4th episode – and never get hit. There are lots of unrealistic things about the books, but I mostly don't mind, but I dislike how much stuff is designed to make everything turn out great for main characters, especially Miles. His luck isn't just with threats but also opportunities. Lots of his adventures just fall into his lap. In *The Warrior's Apprentice* Miles actually showed a ton of initiative to begin his adventure, but in *The Vor Game* and *Cetaganda* the adventures more just happen to him and are some of the most important things going on for his whole race or for the whole group of planets that are close enough to ever be mentioned in the books, and he often jumps straight to the top and interacts with some of the most powerful and prestigious people that exist. (Miles is the son of someone very important but that status is not nearly enough to meet and deal with some of the people he does, which only happens due to lucky adventures.)

curi at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2019 | #13627 | reply | quote

I read *Ethan of Athos* by Bujold. No Miles but still pretty good. It has a major plot problem. Two independent things happen, both related to X, at the same time. The timing is *pure coincidence* and makes a large difference to the plot. No one in the book seems to notice this or think anything of it (it doesn't even occur to them that a coincidence is fishy and to try investigating at all for some kinda causal connection). These books aren't very intelligent. They're entertainment. They're just fantasy books with spaceships instead of orcs. (Some people view fantasy as a sub-genre of sci-fi, and maybe sci-fi predates Tolkien and D&D, but stuff like Grimm's fairy tales and 101 Arabian Nights, and I think adventure stories in general, is much older than sci-fi.)

It doesn't have to be terribly intelligent to outcompete low-mental-energy alternatives like watching TV. It's hard to find TV shows which are half the quality of these stories. (At the moment I'm watching Succession and that's it. Other than that I'd rather watch speedrun related content or YouTube stuff. No movies either.)

curi at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2019 | #13708 | reply | quote

I read *Labyrinth* and *The Borders of Infinity*. I particularly liked *The Borders of Infinity* because it was more sci-fi, it had a futuristic prison camp with major design differences due to using new technology. It's interesting to see speculation about stuff actually being done differently.

I read *Brothers in Arms*. It was just OK Miles book.

Bujold partly does what I would call *high fantasy*, which is the type where magic items and high level spells are common, as against low fantasy like Game of Thrones where magic is rarer, it's more gritty and harsh, the average power level of people in combat is lower, there's more realism with stuff being hard for main characters and very dangerous situations actually being dangerous (instead of it always being fake danger and the main characters always turn out fine after facing super extreme danger). Bujold keeps trying to escalate to more important plots with bigger stakes, more drama, stuff like that. I thought *The Warrior's Apprentice* was pretty big, it escalated quite quickly during the book from smaller to big. Some of the other earlier books started smaller and escalated a lot. But now the books start big and go even bigger. And then if a book was ever more normal, it'd be a big letdown, her books need need pretty epic plots just to keep up with prior books. I think that's a problem. I think Sanderson and Heinlein are better at it.

curi at 7:25 PM on October 5, 2019 | #13743 | reply | quote

I read *Mirror Dance* which is the longest one so far. I like Mark less than Miles, especially earlier on when he's more pathetic, stupid, incompetent, etc. But then he pretty magically started becoming great at lots of stuff later in the book, which was dumb in its own way, but was better than a main character being awful.

The series feels kinda like a TV show where the more it goes along, the more it escalates to ridiculous plots. *Mirror Dance* had some good parts but not great overall IMO. It also had some typical (of Bujold) bullshit plot holes like where Mark had an intuition, which he couldn't explain very well, which correctly solved (part of) a major mystery that lots of other people were getting wrong.

IMO the best books are the Miles ones prior to *Brothers in Arms* (where Mark was introduced). That's *The Warrior's Apprentice*, *The Vor Game*, *Cetaganda* and the three novellas in *The Borders of Infinity*.

curi at 12:48 PM on October 8, 2019 | #13751 | reply | quote

The Borders of Infinity

I enjoyed *The Borders of Infinity* by Bujold (the third novella in the *Borders of Infinity* collection). It has a plot twist that I haven't seen before.


Miles can't talk openly about his escape plan, because his every communication is being monitored by his jailers. So he hints by using words with multiple meanings. On one level, he's talking about religious stuff. Meanwhile, on another level, he's talking about his escape. This way, the people he needs to communicate with get his point, but his jailers don't.

When Miles' escape opportunity finally arrives, it comes as a surprise to his jailers, but his fellow prisoners are prepared to take advantage of it.

All along, Miles' allies have also been monitoring his communications, and his hints were meant for them as well:

> “I wouldn’t have even attempted to expand this operation in midstream if I hadn’t known they were monitoring me, and could translate all those oblique hints back into orders.”

> “Did they get ’em all right?” asked Tung. “We argued over some of their interpretations of your double-talk on the vids.”

During most of the story, neither the reader nor Miles' jailers are privy to the hidden meanings of Miles' words. I didn't figure out what was actually going on until Miles' escape, and then some earlier things made sense in retrospect. Here's an example:

> “Very uplifting,” sneered Oliver. “

> “‘Uplifted’ is just what I intend you all to be. You’ve got to understand, Oliver, I’m a fundamentalist. I take my scriptures very literally.”

When I originally read that, I thought that Miles was talking about a spiritual uplifting, but he was actually alluding to the way his rescue ships will lift everyone up.

One bit I still don't understand is this:

>“Sh . . .” Oliver’s voice trailed off. He glanced for confirmation, oddly enough, at Suegar. “Is this guy for real?”

> “He thinks he’s faking it,” said Suegar blandly, “but he’s not. He’s the One, all right and tight.”

Why did Oliver ask Suegar that question? And what did Suegar's answer mean?

Another thing I didn't understand was Miles' reference to the color of the feathers in his hat:

> “Do you see the hat?”

> She was beginning to be amused. “Yes . . .”

> “Do you see the feathers on the hat?”

> “Yes . . .”

> “Describe them.”

> “Oh— plumy things.”

> “How many?”

> “Two. Bunched together.”

> “Do you see the color of the feathers?”

> She drew back, suddenly self-conscious again, with a sidewise glance at her companions. “No.”

> “When you can see the color of the feathers,” said Miles softly, “you’ll also understand how you can expand your borders to infinity.”

> She was silent, her face closed and locked. But the patrol leader muttered, “Maybe this little runt better talk to Tris. Just this once.”

It seems as if there is some hidden meaning there, but I don't know what it is.

Alisa at 7:55 PM on October 9, 2019 | #13762 | reply | quote

> Why did Oliver ask Suegar that question? And what did Suegar's answer mean?

I think Oliver asked because he was skeptical. He thought Miles didn't believe his own religious crap. He was right. I think that's a fairly typical kinda thing to ask.

Suegar's answer admitted Miles is a faker. Suegar, too, realized Miles was faking his religious convictions. However, Suegar believes something like: Miles is trying to be a faker, but actually he's following God's plan. God planned for Miles to not actually believe in God but then do God's work anyway. So while Suegar didn't think Miles was genuine (in Mile's opinion), Suegar decided to go along with Miles anyway.


I think the feathers stuff is cryptic bullshit where people pretend stuff has deep meanings but don't explain.


Did you read any of the other books first?

curi at 8:02 PM on October 9, 2019 | #13763 | reply | quote

Mountains of Mourning


> Did you read any of the other books first?

No. Today I finished *Mountains of Mourning* (the first novella in the *Borders of Infinity* collection), though.


*Mountains of Mourning* is a detective story.

One thing I that thought was poorly written: around 85% of the way through the story, there's a scene in which the perpetrator enters the room where they will be interrogated by Miles:

> The door swung inward, and Dea stepped forward, raising his hand. The hypospray hissed.

Immediately after, the author refers to the perpetrator by name, without re-explaining the perpetrator's role or their relation to the other characters. It's as if the author expects the reader to recognize the perpetrator's name, but the perpetrator was only referred to by that name *once* before in the story, around 60% of the way through. (I opened the Kindle version and searched for the perpetrator's name to figure out who they were.)

Alisa at 7:04 PM on October 10, 2019 | #13767 | reply | quote

*This Perfect Day* is good. Dystopian novel kinda like Anthem, 1984, Brave New World.

curi at 12:00 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14304 | reply | quote

I read *The Dragon's Path*, book 1 of 5 in The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham.

Fantasy. patio11 recommendation. Involves banking, war, politics. I liked it.

I read Sunfall books 1-3. They're quite mediocre prepper books. Don't recommend. They read like unprofessional fanfics. The author doesn't have training and it shows. Dragon's Path ends with some conclusions to a lot of the events in the book while setting up more to come. It has satisfying endings to its subplots even though they are not permanent; you get some conclusions to some stuff. Sunfall book 1 ends in the middle of nowhere with no conclusions, believe it or not, intentional cliffhangers stacked on top of the lack of any ending. Nothing wraps up. It's like it just ends in the middle. The end of book 2 is where the first book should have ended. It finally wraps up a major plot element from the start of book 1. When you read book 1, the beginning makes promises. You are expecting something to happen either fairly soon or at least by the end of the book (you don't know how much it'll be drawn out). The book never does anything to tell you it'll be delayed until the end of the next book. There's no foreshadowing it'll take longer. There's no particular reason it takes longer. It takes longer because the author writes more stuff along the way, not because of any particular reason. E.g. it's not like the characters got delayed on their actions more than could have been expected from before they began. There's no excuse.

I reread Goldratt's five novels. Really really great.

World War Z was OK.

curi at 3:27 PM on May 9, 2020 | #16499 | reply | quote

I finished the Dagger and Coin series – 5 books averaging 508 pages. It took 13 days. I averaged 195 pages per day. I wasn't trying to read it quickly. I used voice dream reader. I varied the speed; my average was probably a little over 500 wpm. It was probably a little over 2 hours a day reading on average. Not that big a deal.

curi at 1:16 PM on May 20, 2020 | #16556 | reply | quote

My new reading guide! Sent out in newsletter:


curi at 10:33 AM on June 2, 2020 | #16600 | reply | quote

My Amazon Review of Just The Truth


Just like LaGreca's previous book Noble Vision, Just the Truth borrows heavily from the books Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. LaGreca goes beyond borrowing philosophical themes and ideas from Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. LaGreca also uses specific scenes, characters and plot points from Rand's best known books.

LaGreca is an Objectivist who has associated with prominent Objectivists such as former Ayn Rand Institute board members.

This would all be totally fine except that, bizarrely, LaGreca gives no credit at all to Rand or Objectivism.

As a huge fan of Rand myself, I find inferior copies of Rand to be still worth reading. I'm glad someone is trying to write something similar to Rand. But I'm disturbed by the lack of credit given. People should know that they are reading knockoffs and be informed that the originals exist too, and they might like to read them. Doesn't LaGreca want to inspire people to read her own inspiration, Ayn Rand? Or does LaGreca want to tell a lie, contrary to the book's title and theme, that she's more of an original thinker than she is? Or is LaGreca hiding from the controversy associated with Ayn Rand, just like the villains in this book hide from truths that offend and alienated some people?

curi at 12:21 AM on June 14, 2020 | #16691 | reply | quote

I read *Inadequate Equilibria* by Eliezer Yudkowsky. Pretty good.

I particularly liked ch. 3, Moloch's Toolbox, which is a lengthy dialog about what's wrong with the world.

curi at 11:24 PM on July 20, 2020 | #16910 | reply | quote

Looking for *sci fi recommendations*. Anyone got some?

curi at 9:28 PM on August 12, 2020 | #17380 | reply | quote

I reread 1984. Was OK. Overrated?

curi at 9:30 PM on August 12, 2020 | #17381 | reply | quote

#17380 "The Time Ships" and "The Xeelee Sequence" by Stephen Baxter.

I haven't read "The Powers of Earth" by Travis Corcoran yet but it might be okay.

oh my god it's turpentine at 11:34 PM on August 12, 2020 | #17382 | reply | quote

#17380 It has been years since I've read sci-fi but I found the Star Wars novels to be pretty good.

Periergo at 2:11 PM on August 14, 2020 | #17404 | reply | quote

#17382 Thanks, I read *Raft* today (Xeelee 1). I liked the variety of settings, the different physics, the futuristic stuff, the unusual world, and the science stuff.

I plan to try reading more from the main novel sequence. I see on Wikipedia they were written out of chronological order and there are also Destiny's Children novels. If I should read in some other order let me know.

For *The Time Ships* should I read *The Time Machine* first? It's a sequel but from a different author 100 years later.

Do you have an opinion on Arthur C Clarke? I tried Asimov (first Foundations book) and thought he was awful but I don't think I've read any Clarke so I was going to try him.

curi at 10:38 PM on August 14, 2020 | #17412 | reply | quote


The *Frontiers Saga* by Ryk Brown is fun. Each book is quick, too. They're pretty action-heavy.

Anonymous at 5:45 AM on August 15, 2020 | #17416 | reply | quote

#17412 The order I read the Xeelee sequence books in was "Raft", "Timelike Infinity", "Flux" and "Ring". I think you should read "Ring" last but otherwise I don't think the order matters too much.

"The Time Machine" is okay. You could read it first if you want but I don't think it's necessary because "The Time Ships" explains anything you need to know from "The Time Machine".

"Voyage" by Baxter is also good: it's about a manned mission to Mars.

I've read "Rendezvous with Rama" by Clarke and it was good. I haven't read anything else by him.

oh my god it's turpentine at 8:11 AM on August 15, 2020 | #17418 | reply | quote

#17418 I read *Timelike Infinity*. Confusing time travel plot and the physics seemed pretty BS. Was OK though. It was exotic. It tried to be something different and imaginative. Though I think it shows fairly typical poor imagination re war and politics type issues. People are going to learn some basic economics and non-violence stuff before having a a bunch of physical control over many solar systems. They aren't going to want to be slavers on a huge scale to try to gain an economic boost, jfc.

curi at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2020 | #17447 | reply | quote

I enjoyed reading *Flux* and *Ring*. Thanks. I like the far future sciency stuff that deals with really different situations than parochial present day or human history stuff.

curi at 6:21 PM on August 24, 2020 | #17610 | reply | quote

I enjoyed reading 3 Arthur C. Clarke books. They are unrelated despite being collected into one book:

> The Space Trilogy: "Islands in the Sky", "Earthlight", "The Sands of Mars"

Islands in the Sky comes first and was my least favorite. It's fine. It's about a trip to space. The other two stood out more. Sands of Mars is about a sci-fi author taking a trip to Mars when the colony there is pretty young (it's a business trip so he can write about space and Mars better). Earthlight takes place on the Moon and I don't want to spoil anything.

I'm half through Clarke's *Rendezvous with Rama* which I'm enjoying. It has some sequels.

There's nothing super special about these books. They're just pretty good. But this is on a scale where I think most books are pretty bad. I'm happy to find books without major flaws causing me trouble. There's some similarity to Heinlein. A significant part of the point of the books is to consider what spaceships, space colonies and other planets would be like. The plots are on the weak side, which is fine, but I think if you put the same plot in a different setting (e.g. fantasy) it wouldn't make a good book. I don't know if anyone writes similar books now where people going into outer space is the main point.

curi at 11:15 AM on October 15, 2020 | #18312 | reply | quote

Rama is good. Rama 2 is OK but significantly worse b/c it gives a lot of attention to human relationships, personalities and drama. Rama 3 is worse than 2 and by the end of 4 the books are awful. It keeps getting weirder and dumber, with some decently interesting bits mixed in. 5 and 6 are only by the co-author from 2-4, without arthur c clarke, and amazon reviews of 5 indicate it's much worse than 2-4.

curi at 9:14 PM on October 23, 2020 | #18458 | reply | quote

> I haven't read "The Powers of Earth" by Travis Corcoran yet but it might be okay.

You will like it. See https://curi.us/2379-curis-microblogging#19719

curi at 3:53 PM on January 23, 2021 | #19721 | reply | quote

I read Such A Fun Age, by Kiley Reid. It’s easy-to-read, contemporary fiction. It stood out to me that some of the characters in the book are even more second-handed than most people are, and that led to bad consequences for them. That’s arguably the main point of the book, although the author might not phrase it that way. I enjoyed the book.

Side note: The description on the amazon page focuses on Alix, but I’d have focused it on Emira since I think she’s the main character.

Anne B at 11:47 AM on February 8, 2021 | #19889 | reply | quote

#19889 Are you aware of the political slant/bias of the book? Are you doing anything to read other viewpoints? Why did you pick this? Did you have any criticism of the book's ideas or did you even notice it was sharing political ideas? You're reading establishment leftist propaganda, of the same general nature as Joe Biden, as their Amazon page essentially proclaims:

> A Best Book of the Year:

> The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • NPR • Vogue • Elle • Real Simple • InStyle • Good Housekeeping • Parade • Slate • Vox • Kirkus Reviews • Library Journal • BookPage

And the Amazon plot summary indicates the book is highly politicized. And it's a little over a year old.

Anonymous at 3:57 PM on February 8, 2021 | #19891 | reply | quote


> Did you have any criticism of the book's ideas or did you even notice it was sharing political ideas?

I think you mean political ideas other than second-handedness, but Anne did mention:

> some of the characters in the book are even more second-handed than most people are, and that led to bad consequences for them.

Is that not political? Is that not a criticism of those characters?

Also, you quote the amazon page as evidence of the political leaning, but it includes:

> [...] Vogue • Elle • Real Simple • InStyle • Good Housekeeping [...]

One thing I have changed my mind on is: I think it's harder for women to be exposed to better political ideas b/c AFAIK the media that covers alternative PoVs doesn't cover stuff like makeup. Like *Vogue*, *Elle*, *InStyle* all have fashion and makeup stuff, *Real Simple* advertises itself as having beauty tips, and *Good Housekeeping* is definitely women-centric -- have any of them ever been e.g. pro-Trump? IDK, but I suspect not. Granted that women *should* look outside those outlets for other ideas, but I think it's notable that the social pressures and material that overlaps with women-centric topics (e.g. makeup) is largely lefty. So I think this is a failure of *not just* the papers and magazines that are mentioned, *but also* of other news/media/etc outlets with better/alternative perspectives b/c they don't provide content that women are after.

Mb I'm wrong here, but I think it's notable and worth metioning.

Max at 1:05 AM on February 10, 2021 | #19923 | reply | quote


I’m interested in background assumption ideas and how they get woven into something like a novel in a way that people like me don’t notice. When I first read your comment I couldn’t think of any political ideas in *Such a Fun Age*. After some thought, I came up with a few that one might think are in the book after reading its Amazon page:

- Black people are more likely to get stopped by police/security than white people are, and it’s because of their skin color rather than because of what they are doing.

- White people are more privileged than black people. They have easier lives because of the color of their skin. They don’t realize that they have easier lives, and they should. Because of their advantaged position, they owe it to black people to help them.

Are these the kind of political ideas you had in mind? What else am I not consciously seeing that might be influencing me?


The more I look at the Amazon description of the book, the more I find words, phrases, and sentences in it that contradict what I see in the book. Whoever wrote it has a different understanding of the book than I do, and/or they deliberately distorted the book in their write-up. I am open to the idea that I mis-read the book in significant ways, but as of now I think I am more right than the Amazon description is. I’m not sure if I should write up all my disagreements.


To answer your other questions:

I read books suggested by FI people. Many of those books are from non-leftist viewpoints.

I don’t remember why I picked this book, but it’s probably because someone recommended it to me and it seemed like it would be easy reading, which I like to do some of. I ended up enjoying it because I was able to see in it the things I wrote about in my first post.

Anne B at 6:49 AM on February 10, 2021 | #19928 | reply | quote


> One thing I have changed my mind on is: I think it's harder for women to be exposed to better political ideas b/c AFAIK the media that covers alternative PoVs doesn't cover stuff like makeup.

Interesting point.

I don’t read any of those magazines and I don’t read about makeup. I have in-person friends who are leftist and who are rightist. I read a lot of FI stuff and stuff that is recommended by FI people. Yet my guess is that I have more leftist background assumptions than rightist background assumptions. I don’t know how much of it is from childhood learning via family/school/tv and how much of it is from current/ongoing sources. It would be nice to be able to see some of that more consciously.

Anne B at 7:01 AM on February 10, 2021 | #19929 | reply | quote

A Deepness in the Sky

I'm re-reading *A Deepness in the Sky* by Vernor Vinge. I'm enjoying it. It has interesting ideas and good writing.

In 1999, John Carmack, the primary author of the game engines for Doom and Quake, referred to *Deepness* as his "favorite SF novel":

> Focus is extremely important. Being able to maintain focus for the length of a project gets harder and harder as schedules grow longer, but it is critical to doing great work. (Side note - every time "focus" is mentioned now, I think of Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky", currently my favorite SF novel)

Anonymous at 5:42 PM on February 28, 2021 | #20065 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 5:45 PM on February 28, 2021 | #20066 | reply | quote

> I read a ton of Heinlein books some years ago and mostly liked them. I didn't keep a list of which I read. I started reading Heinlein again, at random.

> I read Between Planets today. I liked it. It involves humans living on mars and venus, war, spies, and the importance of physics.

> I liked Sixth Column too. The US is conquered by the pan-asians (china conquered russia already). 6 military men in a mountain are alive and in possession of advanced science. they come up with a plan to take back the country.

Read Between Planets. Reading Sixth Column. Enjoyed/enjoying. And holy hell Sixth Column might be the least politically correct thing ever. I'm almost surprised you can still buy it given current cultural trends

Anonymous at 3:49 PM on April 28, 2021 | #20480 | reply | quote

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