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OCC Book Club (Not a Literature Club, Shadow)

Posts (118)

  • Ratatoskr

    Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

    #33735530 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    I will say that the writing style is different enough from Monster Hunter International series that I wouldn’t have guessed it was the same author. It’s much leaner and to the point.

  • Priest

    Priest FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold NonSequitur OCC Consular

    #33735579 - 11 months ago

    I’m nearly caught up. I have thoughts on it already but I’ll wait to finish the chapter

  • Lpokmnj

    Lpokmnj FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Blargh

    #33735890 - 11 months ago

    I'm in the process of reading it. I tried to have it finished by the due date, but external factors occured. Definitely enjoying it so far, so I hope to finish it by tomorrow.

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33735891 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Lpokmnj

    You're only supposed to read through Chapter 14 for now.

  • Lpokmnj

    Lpokmnj FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Blargh

    #33735897 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55

    I know. But I might power through cause it's been enjoyable.

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33735900 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Lpokmnj

    Just make sure to do the initial discussion as if you hadn't. 

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33735975 - 11 months ago

    Sorry for the tags, but...


    @RealSquishy

    @Fly

    @Priest

    @sailorGirl

    @DodongoDuster

    @dizzyblinker

    @Shadow5435


    If you're still reading can you say something? And if you've gotten to chapter 14, please join the discussion. If there aren't people talking about it, then there's not much point in a book club.

  • Priest

    Priest FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold NonSequitur OCC Consular

    #33735991 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    Yes, I am almost done. I have cruised through chapter 12 right now.  I'd be reading faster, but I have been quite busy.  


    First, a little textual critique. 


    On the offset, I like the 'feel' of the book, even though I feel like the author is trying a little too hard to hit it on the nose. For instance, his use of obvious in time phrases that would be offensive today(like calling a cigarette a "fag" for example, or the pejorative "jap" for japanese) seems to be a clunky attempt to create in-time aesthetics, and I feel like it almost nearly takes the book off the rails. This is something to think about: I don't feel like you have to capture the actual language of a time to capture the sentiment. As a matter of fact, I think that the more you divorce yourself from the common and understood way of talking the less you can get your point across and still maintain the character of the style. I think it's a miss on his part, and I would have preferred him just write from modernity instead of trying to be cute. Still, It calls to me. I have read Atlas Shrugged several times, played Bioshock, and I love the Post-Modern aesthetic and I think, clunky or not...it does manage to convey its meaning. The author has talent, no doubt.  


    Some other observations: 


    The classes of Actives seems to me to be a little too Role-playing Game like. Whether it Pale Horse, a Heavy, a Torch, a Traveler, a Cog, a Healer...etc it seems all too much in a box, on rails, and too formulaic. You almost expect each character to have stat points next to their names.  This gets distracting as the book goes on.


    When reading the characters, I sometimes have to look back and see who exactly is talking. I have a hard time hearing individual voices with these characters. They are almost like sock puppets and you can hear the author behind them, though Lance sounds to me like Robert Downey Jr as Kirk Lazarus as Staff Sergeant Lincoln Osiris.


    Onto the story.


    First, I LOVE the context...does anyone remember me mentioning that? I think that, while in reality, this time was a very hard time for the country and it often gets romanticized, it still has fascinating mysteries. the 1930's had steamy street corners lit only by lamps and dark alleys that lead to adventures.  It had tough, loose, foul-mouthed women, and drunk, washed-up private eyes with murky pasts. It had rail cars and aeroplanes. It had drigibles and steamliners. Sure, we have those things today, but they didn't have the glamour or styling they had then. Regardless of how clunky I think the author is in capturing it, he DOES capture it. I feel that excitement when I see it in my minds eye. It makes me want to explore and find the newness of the past...even a past that is a lie. 


    Second, I like the fact that the author eludes to action outside of the story. The quotes that start each chapter are fascinating and I think some of is best writing. I like the twists he takes with history and implies massive differences between where we are and where we would be had Actives been around. I like that a lot. 


    I find that of all the characters, Jake Sullivan sticks with me the most, simply because I feel like I know more about him than many of the other supporting cast. He's got the cool power, he's smart, and he tends to get into trouble a lot. He's exciting.  Faye is good, and I'm sure that as the books progress she'll fan out and be more dynamic; but for the most part my attention stays on Jake.


    Any specific questions you have? 



  • DodongoDuster

    DodongoDuster Maethori

    #33736008 - 11 months ago

    Sorry, I read a few chapters in and it just lost me. I started out liking it to, or being intrigued by the setting.

  • dizzyblinker

    dizzyblinker Loud person

    #33736141 - 11 months ago

    @Radius55 Sorry buddy, I've been uber behind packing & prepping for the move! I'll catch up soon!

  • SailorGirl81

    SailorGirl81 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper Of Kittens

    #33736149 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    Sorry to say I did NOT receive a notification for this...


    Anyways...I am really enjoying the story although I have already had to learn not to get too attached to any one character. 


    I'm not so sure that if magic had begun to appear in the 19th century that the 1930s would have still turned out so close to our 1930s. I would expect more divergence. 


    Hijacking the "Sullivan Brothers" I found to be unsuccessful as the names are not the same nor is the area of service. And of course they didn't all die. 


    J Edgar Hoover wasn't born until nearly the end of the 19th century-I can't believe that in the altered by magic world of the book his personal time-line would still put him in charge of the FBI. 



    That said, I like alternate history books that are fun to read and give good reasons for the way things are different in the new time line. I think this one is a little bloody for my taste (I do not read detective stories) but the story is good enough for me to press on anyway. 



    Note:  I don't comment nearly as much as I would like to in any forum since I usually am accessing them on my tablet and typing is a real pain. I need a real keyboard to express my thoughts. I'm just not using my desktop as much as before. Once winter comes that will probably change. 

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33736306 - 11 months ago

    In reply to SailorGirl81

    I don't think the Sullivan Brothers was meant as a "hijacking" since that was WWII, and there were 5. More likely a coincidence.

  • SailorGirl81

    SailorGirl81 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper Of Kittens

    #33736336 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    Or maybe an homage?

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33736339 - 11 months ago

    In reply to SailorGirl81

    Could be. I can ask Larry next time something like this comes up.


    I'm also not sure the changes in history would be as massive as you think. When magic first came on the scene in the 1850's or so, it was 1 person in a million. Then 1 in a thousand. As the 1930's roll around it's around 1 in a hundred. So there wouldn't be as large an affect as the high number of actives we see in the story would seem to suggest. And often where it did hit it simply reinforced the tendencies and abilities of the people who received the power.


    I'll also make a point that the events leading up to WWI and the Great Depression afterwards were fairly independent of the actions of individuals. The concentration of power in a small number of mutually hostile European nations was a consequence of colonialism which made the network of alliances and eventually war inevitable. Then manufacturing gluts, questionable investment practices, the Dust Bowl, and industrialization led to the Great Depression. Those were all consequences of the War, or shifting technology.


    But at this point, given the sharp divergence of the end of WWI you can expect WWII not to happen, or at least not with Germany as a contender. Later books give more insight into this point, and how the divergence is accelerating.

  • Ratatoskr

    Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

    #33736348 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    Some parts of that analysis are talked about later, but I'm reading ahead. I will agree that the official and secret alliances of Europe made war pretty much inevitable.

  • SailorGirl81

    SailorGirl81 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper Of Kittens

    #33736357 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    So I take it you are not a supporter of the butterfly effect theory. 

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33736449 - 11 months ago

    In reply to SailorGirl81

    Yes and no. A small change can have a massive effect down the line, but the key there is down the line. Events driven by large groups of people generally have a lot of inertia behind them. They'll diverge eventually, but it either takes a truly massive shift or a very large directed one to do it. And 80 years isn't enough to get history completely off track. 

  • SailorGirl81

    SailorGirl81 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper Of Kittens

    #33736509 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    I'll agree 80 year isn't enough to derail history completely, but I would have expected more divergence, especially as the story is taking part at the later end. 

  • Priest

    Priest FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold NonSequitur OCC Consular

    #33736529 - 11 months ago

    I think that history can be changed greatly in less than 80 years, and a small change can have a near immediate lasting impact. I often wonder what would have happened had the Japanese been able to sink the American Carrier fleet in Pearl Harbor, or what if the nuclear scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project not made it out of Germany? Pearl Harbor was an event that solidified an entire people in an instant to focus on a common Objective.  So was 9/11.  Would George W. Bush have gotten a second term had 9/11 not happened? Or, if 9/11 happened in, say 2011...would Barack Obama have been elected?  History can turn on a dime and people can be pushed into mass agreement with one fell swoop.  What if Arch Duke Ferdinand had taken a different route through Sarajevo and not been assassinated? Sure, I think that the War still would have happened, everyone was ready to fight and it was inevitable; but would having a different catalyst cause a different outcome?  Also, how much would the political landscape and human toil change the world with this different outcome? 


    I think that adding Actives into any mix in battle would have dramatically changed the results, even assuming that BOTH sides have magicians. It would have changed military doctrine.  If I had to worry about enhanced humans on the front line, I would be much more cavalier with using chemical warfare, and I bet war would become a much more bloody ordeal.  The author eludes to this with historic testimonies, and I think that the fact that his hints on the war being nearly perpetual are spot on.  Sure, we got an armistice, but the Imperium is still land grabbing.   On the whole, I think that things would have changed more dramatically, however. Even ignoring the technology being used, I think that the force of culture would be much more dramatic.  I think that the Imperium would have a huge impact on the geo-political landscape and I think it would push America further Right in response.  We don't have the example of Hitler's Nationalism to warn us from the dangers of the fanatical right, as he was executed in 1929.


    That's just my thoughts




  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33736537 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Priest

    History can change on a dime if you hit it at the perfect point. But I think you're overestimating the size of the effect At this point only 1% of the population are Actives, and it was less so in the years before, which were also some of the most boring years in world history. It might only take a nudge to start a landslide, but that assumes the rocks were lined up which I don't really see being the case during the years from 1860-1920. WWI was the first time there were enough to make a difference in battle, and a lot of the changes you allude to did occur there. They just haven't been talked about yet.


    So the thing is that the Imperium is actually behaving similarly to how Imperial Japan did post WWI. The Russo-Japanese War really happened, and Russia really did get stomped. And it's generally following the same pattern of land grabs as it did pre WWII. As for the Hitler exposing the Fanatical Right, not sure. I'm not well versed enough in the culture of the time to say if that was really a thing. But I don't seem to recall him being a big deal until the they invaded France, and we had our fun with McCarthyism post WWII to show those dangers.

  • Priest

    Priest FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold NonSequitur OCC Consular

    #33736545 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    So after the Treaty of Versailles, the German state rocked back on its heels. Germany was forced to hold all responsibility for the conflict and then have to pay reparations. This plunged the entire Country into depression and at the end of the day I believe it was THE REASON that Hitler rose to power. The treaty made Germans the enemy of the world. It was literally called "The Guilt Clause." 


    So here comes a passionate, relatively intelligent and charismatic man by the name of Adolf Hitler. He runs on campaigns of Nationalism, promising to bring pride and hope back to the German People. He praises their manufacturing and innovation. He tells the people that they should be proud to be German, that no one in the world should not look down on them.  


    Hitler wanted to build an empire; which is what every other world power was doing at the time. Italy, Japan...heck, even Poland were grabbing land. He won the support and love of the people because he did what he said he was going to do and he took pride in German Exceptionalism. He was also helped along with the fact that Neville Chamberlain was an ineffectual and weak leader who pinky-swore with Hitler that he wouldn't get any flack for annexing Austria just so long as he was a good boy from now on. 


    If Hitler wasn't in power in 1939 and he couldn't use Versailles as proof that Germans were being mistreated, WWII wouldn't have been what it was. 

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33736560 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Priest

    No, not arguing with that. I know all about the rise of Hitler and lead up to WWII. I just don't really know much about how he was seen in the US. I remember vague references to him being admired, at least in the early days. He was Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1938 after all. But I don't know how much he was really criticized in the US pre-war.


    Although I'd argue that whether or not Germany was involved Japan and the US would have still had a war in the Pacific. They didn't start their empire building as a consequence of joining the Axis, more they joined the Axis as a consequence of their empire building. And they were steadily encroaching on various European colonies and US territories right up to Perl Harbor. Probably wouldn't have been a world war without a European component, although the USSR's territorial ambitions might have led it to suggest an alliance. Depends on how their mutual desire for Manchuria worked out and cultural differences could be overcome.

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33736955 - 11 months ago

    So how about a bit under 2 weeks to finish the rest? Say Friday September 14th?

  • Ratatoskr

    Ratatoskr Keeper of Logics

    #33736958 - 11 months ago

    In reply to Radius55


    Nearly done, so that should be easy. I'm surprised, actually - compared to the Monster Hunter International series, Hard Magic just flows along very nicely. All the hard edges from MHI have been rubbed off.

  • Radius55

    Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

    #33737573 - 11 months ago

    Everyone still on track to finish by Friday?