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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: September 24th, 2014, 4:29 am 
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Metro 2034. Not as good as metro 2033. Maybe it loses something in translation, but Hunter and a weird little girl aren't as interesting as Artyom. And the old man is just fucking annoying.

Darkchild


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: October 18th, 2014, 10:34 am 
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Took my time, but I finally finished Brave New World.

A classic dystopian novel that doesn't shove its message down your throat. I mean, the ideologies of capitalism and industrialization are taken to their utmost extreme to the point of disgust, but for all intents and purposes this is a functioning, well-lubricated world. One devoid of passion, art and love, but peaceful, stable and content. And as grotesque as some of the ideas are in Brave New World, you can easily see the resemblance to the real world. For a stable society, status quo is king.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: October 18th, 2014, 11:00 am 
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Reading discworld novels has been nice way to fill all the downtime I have in the army. Fairly light reading certainly, but it's very funny and creative all around. Reading it in english too.

5 novels in so far.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: October 29th, 2014, 4:50 am 
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Following Jack and others' recommendation, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Non-fictional account of the backdrop of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893-ish, following the huge task architects faced in making it, while at the same time concurrently following the gruesome achievements of one of America's first documented serial killers. I find myself periodically irritated by the end of each chapter in that I want to know more, but Larson cuts you off. Also I now know stuff about building skyscrapers. Don't have a bedrock? Pfft, just build a floating one silly!


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 5:58 am 
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Been getting some non-fiction war reading in. First was Running the War in Iraq by Jim Molan, an Australian General who served as Chief of Operations in Iraq during 2003-2004. He oversaw the second battle of Fallujah and the first Iraqi election. His account of the Iraq war for the higher ups is described as a series of meetings and powerpoint presentations. Broken up by travelling through red zones and occasional mortar and rocket attacks all while getting no sleep.

What also comes through is the frustration. Numerous accounts of corruption and incompetence amongst the Iraqi interim Government. Almost every organisation was rife with insurgent informers. A delegation would go and visit a power plant and by the time they left someone would have informed the insurgency and there'd be an ambush waiting for them. Numerous cases of the Iraqi police and security forces abandoning their posts rather than fight the insurgents. Frustration with having inadequate resources to defend the electrical and oil infrastructure. One pipeline that supplied a powerstation in Baghdad would rarely be running for more than a couple of days before insurgents would bomb it. Also frustration with the media who reported insurgent propaganda as fact without consulting the coalition forces for comment first.

Throughout it all is also numerous tragic stories of people who put their lives on the line to try to build a better country for themselves. Numerous Iraqis who worked for little pay in very dangerous conditions, delivering oil by truck when the pipelines got bombed. Sacrificing their lives to protect innocents from suicide bombers. Putting themselves and their families lives at risk of murder or torture to try to provide security. All while suffering the Iraqi heat with only a couple of hours of electricity a day, the sewerage system not working and having to buy fuel off the black market, all within a war zone.

Next was Callsign: Hades by Patrick Bury, a platoon commander in the British Army Royal Irish Regiment. He details his experience serving in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2008. Lots of first hand accounts of combat and life on the frontlines and on patrol. What comes through most is the heat and again frustration. Most of their time on patrol is taken up slowly painstakingly sweeping every inch of ground and garbage for IEDs. The IEDs are a mindfuck. The Taliban places them in spots where troops are likely to find good cover. And so the troops adapt and choose less conventional cover when they get ambushed.

The platoon also brings a radio and interpreter with them so they can listen in on enemy conversations while on patrol. In one instance they were in a crowded market when they heard a commander telling 2 suicide bombers the platoon's location and asking if they were ready to becomes martyrs. In numerous other cases they'd hear civillians reporting the platoon location to gunmen and commanders. There were also accounts of numerous near death, dumb luck situations. One time when they had half the platoon sitting on an IED for half an hour while they waited for the bomb disposal guys to identify a suspicious wire they'd found. Another time where an IED went off but only caused light injuries, only for them to investigate and discover it was daisy chained to half a dozen other explosives that had fortunately failed to detonate. Another time a mortar round landed within a couple of feet of 2 soldiers on base, but ended up being a dud.

There's also a few stories of REMF incompetence and general hatred of REMFs.

Finally was Fighting Masoud's War by Will Davies and Abdullah Shariat. Shariat was a Mujahideen commander during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan through the 1980's who fought alongside Ahmed Massoud who later became the Vice President of Afghanistan before the Taliban took over. The books paints the Soviet invasion as a complete mess on both sides of the conflict. Afghanistan had 7 political parties (4 hardline, 3 less so) who were situated in Pakistan and were funding and supplying the Mujahideen groups. However these parties were being supported by the Pakistan intelligence services who were more interested in bleeding the Soviets out instead of liberating Afghanistan. As such there was a lot of infighting between the Mujahideen. There was also a lot of tribal infighting amongst the groups as well.

The Soviets tried a lot of heavy handed tactics, in numerous offensives trying to beat the Mujahideen down with mass artillery barrages and aerial bombardment. But the Mujahideen would retreat into caves then attack the bases and supply convoys. Or in one particular offensive, left the entire operational area empty except for mines covering the roads, landing zones, mountain paths, villages and even river banks where the Soviet troops might try to collect water.

It's hard not to feel sorry for the Soviet troops though. There were numerous accounts of troops committing suicide rather than face the harsh conditions of Afghanistan. The Mujahideen had people in the post offices intercept mail where the Red Army troops would curse their parents for having given them life just for them to end up there. In one instance a Red Army soldier was trying to sell his boots to some Afghan locals because his wage was such a pittance, only for 1 of the locals to attack him with a sword and cut his head off.

Throughout the book there's numerous talk of Afghan culture and Islam and how that shaped the resistance to invasion. It gives you a sense of the power the Soviets had, but that there was also no chance of the resistance being crushed. The cruel epilogue was that after they defeated the Soviet invasion the tribal and political infighting remained. Masoud later formed an alliance to fight the Taliban when they came to power. Only to be killed in a suicide bombing on the 9th of September 2001. Just 2 days before 9/11 and NATO joining his Alliance against the Taliban.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 6:34 am 
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Skoosc, did you see Adam Curtis' "Bitter Lake"?



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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 7:45 am 
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I watched Bitter Lake after you first linked it dudeglove. I enjoyed it. I don't know how accurate it all is but it certainly covers the same ground as skoosc's book excerpts. It's long but an enjoyable watch if only for the trippy cinematography.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 4:32 pm 
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No I didn't see Bitter Lake. As I recall when I clicked the link in the donger thread it just said 'lol this video is not available in ur colony you filthy convict'. Looks as though there may be some bootleg uploads on youtube though, so I'll have to make an effort.

But while we're on the topic of Adam Curtis, this clip:



Is pertinent as the next book on my reading list is: Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 5:15 pm 
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You might want to be careful about what you read by Pomerantsev.

http://pando.com/2015/05/17/neocons-2-0 ... merantsev/

Quote:
What made Pomerantsev’s lobbying appearance with the neocons so disturbing to me is that he’s not the sort of crude, arrogant meat-head I normally identify with homo neoconius. Pomerantsev’s book, “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible”, is the most talked-about Russia book in recent memory. His many articles on the Kremlin’s “avant-garde” “information war” and its “political technologists” have been hits in the thinking-man’s press: Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books... His insights into the strategic thinking behind the Kremlin’s “information wars” are often sharp and illuminating; and yet there’s always been something glaringly absent in Pomerantsev’s writings. Not so much what he puts in, but all that he leaves out. Glaring omissions of context, that had me start to question if Pomernatsev wasn’t manipulating the reader by poaching the rhetoric of leftist critical analysis, and putting it to use for very different, neocon purposes . . . as if Pomerantsev has been aping the very sort of “avant-garde” Kremlin political technologies he’s been scaring the Ed Royces of the world with.



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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 6:01 pm 
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Gah! That is frustrating. I guess by it's very nature it's difficult to find good honest insight into this shadowy stuff. I'll keep this mind as I read though. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2015, 2:32 am 
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Pomerantsev probably does offer a decent insight, but you generally have to approach any piece of writing on contemporary Russia wondering what the hell their agenda is. Or do as the Russians did during the soviet era - read everything. One of my favorite apocryphal stories from Russian focus groups back in the 90s regarding the media was that there would be frequent inaccuracies in all the "official" versions, so the citizenry (who had an extremely high literacy rate), read all the newspapers and would notice the minor inconsistencies in official material. The net result is that they would figure out the truth from wading through the lies that didn't add up.

TL;DR Maybe read something by Limonov


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 14th, 2015, 6:21 am 
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I am reading Neuromancer.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 14th, 2015, 8:22 am 
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I bought that recently, but haven't got round to reading it yet.

Darkchild


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 14th, 2015, 8:47 am 
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You should, it's literally right up your alley, though your way of writing action scenes is better. Neuromancer is basically where The Matrix, Deus Ex, Shadowrun and, well, anything cyberpunk draws inspiration from. The main character Case is a former decker of sorts, picked up from basically neo Tokyo by a shadowy corporate dude with the help of his Trinity-esque neo cyber street samurai for some big cyber heist. I'd have appreciated a glossary of sorts but eh, you get over the hump of terminology fairly quickly (especially if you've seen or played any of the above stuff) and so far it's not loaded with super deep themes or pseudo religious rants like you might see in literature elsewhere. But I dunno, after reading enough Russian literature, it ain't too difficult.

Early Pratchett novels are excellent btw. Feet of Clay and Small Gods left a far greater impression on me than Colour of Magic or Light Fantastic ever did, and were far funnier. After the 20th novel or so he got kinda samey for me.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: June 14th, 2015, 1:09 pm 
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I've read the Difference Engine, so I'm prepared for his obscure use of language, and it feels like I really should read something that I take so much from to make my own stuff, at least in regards to themes.
I should've read Neuromancer years ago tbh, but I've got a backlog of about twenty novels on my kindle that I need to get through first.

Darkchild


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: July 28th, 2015, 5:21 am 
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Neuromancer is donezoes after a hiatus that ended last night. Is the rest of Gibson's Sprawl trilogy worth reading?


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: September 14th, 2015, 3:59 am 
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So because one of my friends works at a production company, she has designer friends and apparently such people go to conferences or things where gigantic coffee table arts books are just lying as swag, and every time she goes to their place, they say "Hey we have a pile of books this time that we don't need and barely recognize, so take anything you like". As a result of a belated birthday present, I now have Bayonetta's "Eyes of Bayonetta" art book and "The Art of Blizzard". The latter is friggin enormous and would likely break your foot, Bayonetta is far more manageable, and am currently reading through it.

While I recall some stuff from PG's own blog, the book is laden with an absolute fuckton of sketches and comments from the relevant people (for Bayo's design it is Mari Shimazaki and Hideki Kamiya chiming in). Like, at some point Shimazaki was dumping about 6-7 sketches on Kamiya's desk on a daily basis for about a month until they finally hit on Bayo's design. I also skipped briefly to the end to look at the comments from the main folk, and half of them all say variants of "I thought we were going to die making this". There's also a DVD with people from PG being interviewed.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: September 14th, 2015, 10:07 pm 
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Pretty much all the stuff surrounding Ahmed Massoud is nuts. He keeps cropping up in books I read about ye olden tyme of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Personally I've detoured in my reading to 16th century Nuremberg, to read about Franz Schmidt, a rather fascinating executioner. The book is called "The Faithful Executioner" and it's a fabulous instance of a scholar very successfully contextualizing a different era of life for a modern audience. The book is about half the life of the titular executioner and half history lesson about what was going on at the time. One of the most enjoyable and engrossing books I've read in a while, and that's without even including the multiple detailed accounts of hanging, decapitation, burning alive, drowning, and breaking on the wheel (which I hadn't realized that at one point meant literally taking a wagon wheel and using it to beat the shit out of someone staked to the ground until they're dead).

Also streamin for a bit if any of you blokes happen to catch this right as i post it: http://www.twitch.tv/stellarjockeys


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: September 21st, 2015, 1:29 pm 
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Darkchild130 wrote:
Metro 2034. Not as good as metro 2033. Maybe it loses something in translation, but Hunter and a weird little girl aren't as interesting as Artyom. And the old man is just fucking annoying.

Darkchild


I recently discovered this:
https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Преисподняя_(роман)
Russian vets of the Afghan war explore the secret subway under Moscow. Writer was a guy who probably started this trend of crawling around the underground and finding places. It's on my phone now, I'm gonna give it a read and see if it inspired anything in Metro 2033, or is referenced by it.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: September 28th, 2015, 2:26 am 
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Sounds interesting. I do partake in a bit of Urban Exploration myself from time to time, mostly old disused ammo compounds/bunkers that dot the UK countryside.

Darkchild


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: September 28th, 2015, 2:34 am 
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Someone repost that video of that guy going down into the old school NY subway stations.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: November 11th, 2015, 11:42 pm 
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This one?

https://vimeo.com/andrewwonder/undercity


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: November 12th, 2015, 12:13 am 
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The very same


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: April 8th, 2016, 3:38 pm 
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I recently picked up Empires of Eve and I'm really enjoying it.

Empires of EVE covers the big numbers and the bloody wars in exciting fashion of course, but what it really captures are the causes, the politics, the climate and the feeling of the EVE universe at the time. Despite the fact that this game is almost entirely player-driven, the book really conveys a feeling of how deterministic the situation is. This war was fated to happen, this alliance was destined to fall and inevitably, these events will send out ripple effects that will change territories and alliances and start the spark that will cause the next war.

It's like how history students can look back at the Treaty of Versailles and see just how inevitable it made World War II. The real and the virtual are so interconnected it stops being the history of EVE online, but history. Except with giant space ships in giant space battles. It's fucking cool and it's fucking real because these people fought like it was.

If you want to try it before you buy it, here's an excerpt.


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 Post subject: Re: books you read / books read / put on the shelf to look s
PostPosted: April 14th, 2016, 8:21 pm 
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This is pretty much how I want to experience EVE, yeah. Or as an awesome fighter pilot a la Descent Freespace.


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