Great Books- what are you reading now?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Melf, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    I am re-reading a great book that has been out of circulation for some time. The book is called Hiero's Journey by Sterling Lanier. This was one of my Dad's favorites, so I read it as a boy, again in my early 20's and now again in my late 30's. I have enjoyed it immensely each time. It was released in 1973. It takes place on a post-apocolyptic earth. Per Hiero Desteen is a warrior-priest in the old Canada. It is 5000 years after a massive nuke war and there are all sorts of Leemutes (lethal mutants) in the world. Hiero has to go on a quest to find some ancient technology to save the Abbey (forces of good) versus the Unclean servants of evil.

    I am sure that this book had some impact on the development of Gamma World and probably some influence on psionics in D&D- although my Dad was against putting psionics in AD&D.

    Have any of you read Hiero's Journey? What other books have you read that gave you great game ideas or are just a great read?
  2. deogolf

    deogolf Chevalier

    I've read both books - Hiero's Journey and The Unforsaken Hiero. I thought both were pretty decent. I took me a while to track down both books again after the others disappeared after I went into the service. One of these days I'll get back to reading them again! I think the reason I read them the first time (early '80s) was due to Gamma World! Good stuff!

    The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques was a big influence in the anthropomophic game I've done for TLG (to be released in the "hopefully near future"!).
  3. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    I strip mined Raymond Feist's Riftwar Saga when I had the "good" characters of the Forgotten Realms invade Greyhawk some years ago. I don't typically use ideas from novels to add flavor to my games but this one time it was necessary.

    I have spent the last two months catching up on the pile of books I haven't read, some of which were lukewarm Hellboy novels, some historical books of interest and a smattering of Neil Gaiman. Of them all, I highly recommend Pirates: A Compleat History by Angus Konstam, a perfectly detailed and honest history of everything pirate, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimain, probably Gaimain's best yet, and Desire Lines by David R. Ross, a sort of travelogue of Scotland with a most historical and patriotic slant.
  4. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    I will have to check out the Redwall stuff. My oldest daughter recommended them as something to read to my little girl in the next few years. She told me that she really enjoyed it when I read the Hobbit and others to her as a child.
  5. ghul

    ghul Chevalier

    Lately I've been re-reading all the original Conan yarns by REH. Last night I finished Pool of the Black Ones. Great stuff. I'm also bouncing around some Clark Ashton Smith stories I've never read before, as found in the new hardbacks by Nightshade Books. I'd read all the Hyperborea, Averoigne, and Zothique tales, as well as several more, but these collections have several amazing stories I'd never even heard of before. I'm also reading Vance's Planet of Adventure series, which I'd never read before. I've read the Dying Earth, Lynoesse, and Durdane series, but not this one, and it is fantastic. I'm also reading some short stories by a modern writer by name of Dan Clore, who is a fan of EGG. In fact, he posts at DF occasionally. The book I'm reading is a collection of his short stories called The Unspeakable and Others. Clore writes Cthulhu Mythos fiction and other tales of horror, wit, and general weirdness. He's a bit of a satirist in a very entertaining way, and the introduction by the esteemed HPL scholar, S.T. Joshi speaks volumes regarding the quality of Clore's work.
  6. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    The Planet of Adventure series is some of his absolute best stuff. I love them and I am going to re-read them for the third time as soon as I finish Unforsaken Hiero.

    The best modern stuff I have stumbled across recently is the Dresden series by Jim Butcher. Those are fun. His Codex of Allers is a little slow for my taste though.
  7. deogolf

    deogolf Chevalier

    I've been reading through the Harry Potter series - currently on the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Now I know what my daughters are talking about!! Well, kinda... ;)
  8. ghul

    ghul Chevalier

    I read the first 4 books with my oldest son. I can't say I was overly impressed. I mean, they were fun, but I must say this is a rare case where I feel the movies are more enjoyable than the books. Heresy, I know. ;) But really, they trim the fat, and J.K. has a lot of fat in her writing. IMO, of course.
  9. gt1

    gt1 Level 0 Character

    I've been reading the newest Brandon Sanderson and James Clemens (aka: Rollins) books, just finished a compilation of HG Wells horror/fantasy stories (all excellent, I might add); and am now re-reading Robert Vardemann's Cenotaoh Road series. This is a cool sort of fantasy adventure with a unique arch-villain who reminds me of Vecna in some ways. The series started in 1982, but parts of the first book had been released in short story form as early as 1978! Greg Timm
  10. gt1

    gt1 Level 0 Character

    I'm with Jeff on the Harry Potter series, BTW. I still find Lewis and de L'Engle superior... too bad "media hype" wasn't quite as advanced when they came out! HARRRR!!!!! GT
  11. deogolf

    deogolf Chevalier

    I'm not sure since I haven't reached the later books where the page count takes a fairly large jump - I haven't found them overly verbose at this point.

    The one author's story that I found had a bit of "fat" on them was Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I know there are some big fans out there, but I just found it way too slow - what could have been said in 250 pages took 450-550. Guess it just wasn't for me!
  12. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    You mean you didn't like the one volume where none of the three main characters show up at all? Come on, that's great writing, there!
  13. tavis

    tavis Footpad

    I re-read the Hiero's Journey books earlier this year too, and enjoyed the heck out of 'em - not least because of the many things that seemed like they'd found their way into AD&D, from giant wildlife to slimes and oozes to psychic combat where one the one psionic guy does all the fighting while the rest of the party stands around unaware that anything is happening!

    The books I have out of the library right now are:
    - Safer and Rain Dogs by Sean Doolittle. I'm a big fan of the thriller writer Lee Childs, and saw him speak at a Barnes & Noble here in NYC at the start of the summer. He mentioned two writers he likes; one is this Doolittle guy, and the other is Joe Cannon who I think must be a Brit because his books are hard to find here.

    - Future Imperfect by Keith Laumer. Kind of a weird collection - it reprints Catastrophe Planet, a hard-as-nails Mike Hammer-style eco-disaster short novel from the 60s, plus a bunch of social-problem short stories about television and overpopulation.

    - Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by two psychologist dudes. This was recommended to me by a co-worker who's also got a boy. I'm finding it a pretty good book for understanding the bad behavior of some of the overgrown boys in my gaming groups!
  14. deogolf

    deogolf Chevalier

  15. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    I concur. Sometimes a little detail and such is nice- but for the most part keep it moving. Jack Vance always does a great job of that.

    I also picked up an old WWI Marine memoir by Maclin as I recall, called Suddenly We Didn't Want to Die. Very succint and accessible to any reader. Actually good to have next to the throne :eek:
  16. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    I've been reading the Planet Stories books published by

    I've read all the ones published by EGG as well as a few others. Also read "Worlds of Their Own" which has quite a few short stories in it. The ones I'm reading now are:

    The Secret of Sinharat by Leigh Brackett. (Just finished it. Actually there is a second story in the book.) I've just started The Ginger Star by the same author and will also read the third book of hers they are carrying called The Hounds of Skaith.

    I'm really enjoying her work and it does have a slight John Carter of Mars feel to it but her character seems a little more rough around the edges. Heck, I enjoyed reading the main character (Eric John Stark) mention that they shouldn't use the "iron rations" just yet. Interesting turn of the phrase.
  17. Rhuvein

    Rhuvein Troubadour

    I'm reading Thorton Wilder's The Ides of March ~ very excellent! :D
  18. yesmar

    yesmar Level 0 Character

    Mortal Engines by Stanislaw Lem.
  19. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    American Heritage Dictionary, trying to find Theurgist. :lol:
  20. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    I don't know if that is in many modern dictionaries. Pop used an 1890s dictionary that was HUGE and had an extensive library of obscure and rare tomes to reference. I guess that is one thing about growing up Gygax- those words are used commonly around the house. Maybe that's why I did well on those word knowledge tests :)

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