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Books!!
#1
1. Favourite Author?
2. Favourite Book?
3. Favourite genre?
3. Last Book you read?
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#2
1. Not sure.
2. Not really a book, but this: http://parahumans.wordpress.com/
I'm not even finished yet (I'm only around Arc 6 of 30, so the tension is only beginning to escalate), but I already know this is my favorite.
3. Science fiction, probably.
4. See #2.
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#3
Speakingonly of fiction for now:

1. John Knowles, Gore Vidal, John Irving, Colin Dann, Brian Jacques, Gill Lewis, Michelle Paver, Luke Phillips, Michael Morpurgo, Richard Adams
2. A Separate Peace, The City and the Pillar, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Redwall (sweet sweet nostalgia), Skyhawk, Shadow Beast, Ostrich Boys, The Jungle Book, Running Free, Watership Down
3. I have two very distinct niches: “Animal fantasy, either realistic (Watership Down, The Jungle Book) or anthropomorphic (Redwall),” and “Male coming-of-age in suburban/rural/realistic setting. Homoerotic subtext not necessary but a nice bonus (and usually always there anyway),”
4. Currently starting on “A Clash of Kings” by George R.R. Martin. Still not entirely sure how I feel about that series as a whole
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#4
1.) Michael Crichton is probably my favorite. I've consistently liked more of his books than I have with any other author.

2.) Ooh, tough one. Jurassic Park and The Lost World were both really good IMO, but I also really liked Timeline, Prey, The Andromeda Strain, (all of these aforementioned books were by Crichton!), The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury), and The Outcasts of Time (Ian Mortimer).

3.) Given how many of my favorites are by Crichton, and one by Bradbury, I'd guess science fiction is my favorite genre.

4.) Last fictional book I read was The Outcasts of Time.
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#5
I have a little list now:

Fiction:
Zoltan Istvan - The Transhumanist Wager
Genre: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Political thriller (kinda)
Summary: This book takes place in a dystopian future where Christian fundamentalists try hard to outlaw transhumanist research and any attempts to improve the human condition through science. Luckily, our „hero“ Jethro Knights is about to stop them and tries to create his own nation called Transhumania which is a libertarian paradise free from any government regulations.
My opinion: Yeah, I like the topic, it is easy to read and the prose is quite good. That’s where the book’s strengths end.
The villains are utterly cartoonish. Anyone who opposes transhumanism does so for no reason whatsoever. Not every story needs deep and complex villains, but if the story is supposed to be about politics and philosophy, the hero needs intellectually strong opposition. The villains are not just intellectually, but also physically incredibly weak. The climax is not riveting because the villains don’t stand a chance against Transhumania’s invincible technology. I’d like to point out that the villains knew this but attacked Transhumania nonetheless because they are just that stupid.
Speaking of which, the hero cannot be described without words censored here. He at one point suggests that a poor and sick woman with too many children would not even be worth a rope to hang herself with. At another point, he destroys all religiously and politically significant buildings in a world (even when there are people in them!) just to prove a point. Oh, and he outlawed religion once he took over the world.
This is basically a bad Atlas Shrugged fanfic.
Because of my sympathy with the premise, I’m merciful and give 3/10 stars
Larry Niven - Ringworld
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Imagine a ring so big that it spans an entire star. Now add a bunch of humanoid species that fill any niche you can imagine (including stuff like human otter!).
Summary: Basically, a guy called Louis Wu, his love interest, a humanoid cat alien and an extremely bizarre two-headed coward alien go visit this ring. Unfortunately, they kinda crash when landing and the plot revolves about them getting back.
My opinion: The premise is kinda interesting, but the execution is just boring. The prose is tedious and confusing, everything is hopelessly overloaded, the characters are utterly forgettable and the plot drags on too long. The only remotely interesting thing is the world building which gets the most focus. 
For the world building and the premise, it gets 4/10 stars.
Larry Niven - Ringword Engineers
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Summary: Basically, the big ring is unstable and must be fixed.
My opinion: It’s not that bad, actually. The beginning where Louis struggles with drug addiction is quite good as I actually care for him. The utilitarian dilemma in the ending is emotionally powerful and there’s even a cool fight scene in the ending! Unfortunately, the plot goes nowhere and like every chapter has to introduce a new race no-one cares for. Some of the reveals are quite interesting though.
Better than the first installment. 5/10
Peter Watts - Blindsight
Genre: Hard Science Fiction (See a pattern?)
Summary: Sixty-five thousand alien objects create an event known as the „Firefall“ in which they map every square-inch of the Earth and send the results to aliens. Time to make first contact, isn’t it? Who do you send? How this: A synthesist with half-his brain removed, a biologist who can see ultrasound and hear infrared, a soldier whose career defining moment was an act of treason, a linguist with four personalities and a vampire (seriously).
My opinion: As with most examples of hard sci-fi, world building and novelty trump everything else, but at least this book delivers. The scientific rationalization of vampirism is the best I have ever seen and the aliens are some of the most weird I have ever seen. They are a huge, city-sized, thorn crown-like super-organism without consciousness that acts as if it was conscious. The characters (especially the vampire) are interesting on paper, but lack real development, except for the narrator (the synthesist). Prose is a double-edged sword. While plenty of descriptions are really good, some are incredibly confusion if your IQ is anywhere below 400.  The ending is one of the most depressing I have ever seen in any work of fiction. Especially since it is surprisingly believable. 6/10
John „Wildbrow“ McCrae - Worm
Genre: Superhero, Urban Fantasy (I guess?)
Summary: Taylor Hebert is a perfectly ordinary 15 year old girl with the ability to control bugs. She has heavy problems with bullying, but she plans to use her powers to become a superhero once she grows up. Her first „mission“ is to infiltrate a supervillain group. Unfortunately, these people turn out to be the only friends she has. So, yeah, instead of your typical „teenie superhero“, she ends up as a „teenie supervillain“ which is not exactly what she wanted.
My opinion: BEST. BOOK. EVER!!!!
OK, OK, I’ll calm down. I haven’t even read 20% (it’s extremely long), but I’m already obsessed.
Like most books in my list, it has a solid premise, but it is also the only one who actually executes it well. Even though the protagonist is a villain and does terrible things, you just can’t help, but feel sorry and root for her. It is also very tense, as she is faced with an obvious and compelling dilemma. No matter if she stays a villain or tires to become a hero, Taylor will have many enemies. Besides the plot, the world is quite cool with superpowers you don’t see every day. Sure, it has flight and strength, but also abilities like super-intuition, changing someone’s state of health by touching them or stopping everything you touch in time. The setting also avoids the typical black-and-white morality the superhero genre is known for. Most of the villains are poor people who do what they believe is necessary to survive while the superheroes are often more interested in their own status than tackling the social problems that cause people to become villains. The prose is not on the level of a Shakespeare, but it is not dull either. It’s supposed to be written through the eyes of a high-schooler all. 10/10.
John Strelecky - The Why Are You Here Café
Genre: Literary Fiction (yes, I read „real“ books, too!), Self-Help
Summary: The premise and the plot are very simple, really. You have your typical middle-class worker named John who’s life is extremely stressful, so he goes to a café to relax and the staff talk to him about the meaning of life. These dialogues often contain their own sub-stories who are very good to illustrate their points.
My opinion: To be honest, the premise is boring, but the execution is very good and it’s an easy read. I like the writing style. Despite it being a self-help book, it does not come off as patronizing, more like talking to a friend. The guy who wrote this is a motivational speaker. Therefore, the answer to the question „What is the meaning of life?“ is not intellectually sophisticated in the slightest (basically, the meaning of life is whatever you give it), but it is at least emotionally compelling. The book is very calming, but mediocre at best for self-help. We did not even learn what the protagonist’s purpose for existence (PFE) was in the end. Plus, the book seems to send the message that you should always do what makes you happy, not what gives you the most money. I’m not sure if people faced with poverty can relate to this. At least the book is good at identifying the issues that prevent people from giving their lives meaning. I’m unsure how to rate this. Since my standards are rather low and I only read terrible books, I think this one deserves 7/10 stars.

Non-Fiction:
Many authors - The Dinosauria (2004)
Summary: The Dinosauria is a textbook which contains information on the phylogeny, anatomy and paleoecology of certain dinosaur taxa. The later sections dealt with less taxon-specific questions, such as if dinosaurs were endothermic and what killed the dinosaurs. Each section has different authors due to the wide range of fields covered. Of course, every section has also extensive quotations.
My opinion: Not rated, as this is for people far more intelligent than me. Even if I had a PhD in vertebrate paleontology, I could probably only rate the sections about fields I specialized in as this is a collaborative work.
Some information is probably outdated, such as there being no unambiguous evidence of endothermy in non-avian dinosaurs. At the time of publication (and to a certain extent today), it was an invaluable resource for any vertebrate paleontologist specializing in dinosaurs.
Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion
Summary: In this book, Dawkins tries to persuade us why the belief in God is both wrong and harmful, in this order. After a brief introduction, he defines some terms, explains arguments for the existence of a God and why he thinks they’re wrong and then dedicates a whole chapter for his own counterargument. He goes on to describe the roots of religion and morality and spends the rest of the book with why he thinks the world would be better without religion.
My opinion: Yeah, this book could not be more controversial if it tried. Not just because of the topic, but also because of the very aggressive tone. It makes the book more riveting for those who agree with the author and turns off those who disagree even more. With all those personal anecdotes, it can even read like a novel at times (Dawkins’ good prose strengthens this impression). Unfortunately, this of course weaken’s the books argumentative strength. The arguments are easy to follow and often (IMO) spot on, although not very philosophically sophisticated. The Ultimate Boeing 474 gambit argument (the closest thing to an original contribution Dawkins has to the whole God debate) is also a rather weird one and more of an argument against creationism than anything else. It doesn’t work without a heavy dose of sophistry. As it is a rather entertaining read and has succeeded in provoking a lot of thought (plus, there’s little sophistry - it’s clear what Dawkins means), I’d give this one a 7/10.
Richard Dawkins - The Greatest Show on Earth
Summary: Dawkins again. This time, he does what he’s best at, proving evolution and bashing creationists. He starts off by dismantling the „Just a Theory“ argument, then talks about artificial selection and the models of thinking that cause the erroneous distinction between micro- and macrobiology. After that, he talks about the evidence of an ancient age of Earth before (ironically) talking about evolution on very short time scales. The rest of the book talks about missing links, embryology, plate tectonics, phylogeny, homology and vestigially. The last chapters become more philosophical where he talks about what he calls „evolutionary theodicy“. He closes by talking about the possible origins of life.
My opinion: That’s really riveting stuff considering the dry and scientific subject matter. You don’t read stuff about swirl worms of appendixes, you experience it. All the while maintaining a high standard of scientific accuracy and dispelling common myths (i.e. we most likely didn’t directly evolve from Tiktaalik, we just share a common ancestor which looked more like a Tiktaalik than us). That’s some seriously high quality science communication. Back when I read it (that was before I went to college to study geology), it gave me the first comprehensible explanation how geomagnetic reversals prove plate tectonics. While the good metaphors and analogies surely play a role, let’s be real, the reason it’s so exciting is his eternal war against creationists. He tries too hard to win arguments.
Nonetheless, I wish there was a comparable book about global warming. The anger would be a bit more justified in this case, but I digress. 9/10
Eliezer Yudkowsky - Rationality: From AI to Zombies
Summary: This book is mostly a collection of the author’s essays which can be read for free on the website „LessWrong“. If you read the essays, it is recommended to read them in order as they build on each other. As the title says, the book is about rationality. What is rationality (and why does Hollywood get it wrong?)? How do I overcome bias? How do I apply rationality? The book later delves into topics such as defining words, free will, the nature of consciousness, transhumanism, quantum physics and morality. A very philosophical book, you see.
My opinion: Again, a good explanation of dry and boring subject matter. Yudkowsky includes humor, polemic, analogies and even short stories to illustrate his points. The parable of the dagger, for example, is really good. At times, it can be complex though, especially later on (his explanation of quantum physics, ugh). 9/10
Michio Kaku - The Physics of the Impossible
Summary: In this pop science book, Dr. Michio Kaku looks at common technologies in science fiction and tells us how impossible they are… on a scale of one to three. Impossibilities of the first class do not violate known physical laws and are just an engineering problem that could be solved within a century or two. Examples are teleportation, anti-matter engines, certain forms of telepathy, psychokinesis, and invisibility. Class two impossibilities are barely possible within known physics. If they were possible at all, they would take millennia to millions of years to be realized. They include time machines and faster-than-light travel. Class three impossibilities would require new scientific discoveries that fundamentally change how we view the laws of physics. Examples are perpetual motion machines and precognition.
My opinion: I like the way he deconstructs common sci-fi technologies and shows how even things you would consider to be absolutely ridiculous (like psychokinesis) might work in a slightly modified manner. It’s about as interesting as most of Dawkins’ works though he has the advantage that his topic is inherently more interesting, as Dawkins concerns himself with real science. The book is maybe a bit too optimistic. People have a tendency to confuse „Not 100% impossible“ with „Plausible“, so the book’s very framing and premise might give people false hopes. It’s more useful to sci-fi authors wishing to understand how their tech actually works than anyone else. 8/10
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#6
(05-13-2019, 03:21 AM)Jinfengopteryx Wrote: John „Wildbrow“ McCrae - Worm
Genre: Superhero, Urban Fantasy (I guess?)
Summary: Taylor Hebert is a perfectly ordinary 15 year old girl with the ability to control bugs. She has heavy problems with bullying, but she plans to use her powers to become a superhero once she grows up. Her first „mission“ is to infiltrate a super villain group. Unfortunately, these people turn out to be the only friends she has. So, yeah, instead of your typical „teenie superhero“, she ends up as a „teenie supervillain“ which is not exactly what she wanted.
My opinion: BEST. BOOK. EVER!!!!
OK, OK, I’ll calm down. I haven’t even read 20% (it’s extremely long), but I’m already obsessed.
Like most books in my list, it has a solid premise, but it is also the only one who actually executes it well. Even though the protagonist is a villain and does terrible things, you just can’t help, but feel sorry and root for her. It is also very tense, as she is faced with an obvious and compelling dilemma. No matter if she stays a villain or tires to become a hero, Taylor will have many enemies. Besides the plot, the world is quite cool with superpowers you don’t see every day. Sure, it has flight and strength, but also abilities like super-intuition, changing someone’s state of health by touching them or stopping everything you touch in time. The setting also avoids the typical black-and-white morality the superhero genre is known for. Most of the villains are poor people who do what they believe is necessary to survive while the superheros are often more interested in their own status than tackling the social problems that cause people to become villains. The prose is not on the level of a Shakespeare, but it is not dull either. It’s supposed to be written through the eyes of a high-school all. 10/10.

I'm interested in this too now. Unfortunately, a quick search on by Books app on the iPad yielded no results, so if I want this book I guess I'll have to order it online.
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#7
Sorry, I should have mentioned that it was the one I linked above.
https://parahumans.wordpress.com
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#8
Richard Adam's
Shardik
Adventure novels
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
A pine needle fell. The eagle saw it. The deer heard it. The bear smelled it
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#9
1. Myself.
2. "Arrival of the Celestials" by yours truly
3. Divine Fantasy
4. See 2

Ok, no. Jokes aside, here:

1. Hirohiko Araki
2. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
3. Still Divine Fantasy
4. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run
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#10
No idea why, but "The Egg" by Andy Weir is surprisingly beautiful:
http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg_mod.html
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