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The Official We Hunted the Mammoth Book Recommendation Thread

That's dames for ya
That’s dames for ya

So hey. I’m not officially back on duty yet — I’ll be back sometime in the next couple of days — but I thought I’d seed a little discussion here with what I’m calling The Official We Hunted the Mammoth Book Recommendation Thread.

Which is pretty self-explanatory, so have at it! Any genre, old or new. I will probably gather up the various suggestions for a later post or page.

And, yep, the book in the pic up there is a real book that exists, written by a fella named Peter Cheyney, and which you can buy on Amazon for the low, low price of $2,986.69. No, really.

That’s for a new copy. If you’re some kind of cheapskate, you could pick up a used copy instead, for a relatively thrifty $86.90.

Here are the first couple of paragraphs of the book, courtesy of Amazon, so you can have some idea what you’ll be getting for your money:

Is it hot!

I aint never been in hell, but Im tellin you that I bet it aint any hotter than this Californian desert in July.

I am drivin along past Indio an I figure that soon I am goin to see the Palm Springs lights. An I am goin some the speedometer says eighty. If it wasnt so hot it would be a swell night; but there aint any air, an there was a baby sand storm this afternoon that caught me asleep an I gotta lump of the Mojave desert or whatever they call it stuck right at the back of my throat

I strongly urge you to go to Amazon and click on the “look inside” tab to read more of Mr. Cheyney’s hardboiled prose.

Within the few short pages available in Amazon’s preview, the book’s narrator (tough guy private dick Lemmy Caution) not only manages to eat a lump of sand; he also orders a hamburger (at a hot dog joint) and some ham and eggs (at a second joint). It’s not clear if he eats any of the hamburger before splitting, but you’ll be glad to know that he at least starts eating the ham and eggs.

Oh, he also calls a guy a “sissy” and gets his ass kicked.

I know the book sounds truly amazing, but before you click the “buy” button, let me make a little counteroffer: if you’re really intent on spending $2,986.69 on a book titled “Dames Don’t Care,” pay me that amount, and I will write an entire new book by that name in the style of the original, more or less. For $86.90, I will write a (very) short story in the same style.

Or you could post book recommendations in the comments below. That’s good, too.

Here’s the full cover for Dames.

 

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reimalebario
reimalebario
5 years ago

David, I don’t have two and a half thousand dollars to donate, but if somebody does, I’ll throw in a cover for it in the style of the original (or as close as I can manage).

I’ll recommend just about anything by Jon Ronson. Especially if you get them on audio-book narrated by the author. I especially enjoyed The Psychopath Test.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ reimalbario

I’ll recommend just about anything by Jon Ronson.

I love Jon Ronson. His books are great (Men who stare at goats being a particular favourite) but also his documentaries. The one where he’s discussing with a KKK guy on the best washing powder for their hoods is especially funny “I can see how important it is to you to get everything nice and white”

ETA: Louis Theroux can come across as a bit too ‘knowing’ but Jon plays the naive innocent just perfectly.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Alan:
Please don’t use dark matter as a MacGuffin. You’ll make the universe angry, and you won’t like it when the universe becomes angry.

I recently wrote a piece on the binary star system WR104, which absolutely could kill us all at any moment, along with the rest of life on earth, our atmosphere and our oceans.
https://thebeautifulvoidblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/d-25-luck/

That might serve your purposes.

Disclaimer: WR104 will probably not kill us all at any moment. So we’re probably all going to be fine. Don’t you feel reassured now?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ EJ

That was really interesting. Weirdly I first heard of Wolf-Rayet yesterday! (Isn’t there a term for that phenomenon?)

For my purposes I need something that can be instantly triggered. Dallilama’s solution is good because it’s actually plausible with real world technology.

If its ok with you I wouldn’t mind nicking some of your ideas though to revamp my original gamma ray burst story. I’ve been told it needs a re-edit anyway. Don’t suppose you know of any potential gamma ray source candidates that might have been a danger 65 million years ago?

kat
kat
5 years ago

@David
I can’t wait to read your short story! It’s nice that you got the commission up front.

Reginald Evelyn Peter Southouse Cheyney — somehow he doesn’t sound like a writer from the USA.

Based on the little I read, he definitely has a style. But he uses too many apostrophes when his (definitely, totally All-American) PI talks.

It reminds me of the Beatles song “Rocky Raccoon,” another definitely, totally All-American guy. Lennon & McCartney stuffed all the Americana they could think of — the Black Mountain hills of Dakota, Gideon’s Bible, hoedown, etc., into that song. Unconvincing. Leave that stuff to the Beach Boys. Or Loretta Lynn. Johnny Cash is dead now, but his all-American songs could make you laugh or weep. I wish he were here now to write a bitter, scathing, actually populist song about Donald T.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ kat

I have a magic Rocky Raccoon (that I bought from top magician and professional misanthrope, Jerry Sadowitz). He is great fun in restaurants; but I wish I was as good with him as this guy.

https://youtu.be/xMLVbgCgx1o

kat
kat
5 years ago

The most recent book I’ve read is My New American Life by Francine Prose (now there’s a name for a writer!).

A young woman from Albania emigrates to the USA and, although she has no green card, finds a job as a nanny in the ‘burbs of New Jersey. Lula has left behind a life in a repressive country. She’s charming. She’s optimistic. She’s an American now!

8 out of 10. Would totally dance to it.

Joel
Joel
5 years ago

Seconding the recommendation for Malazan, books of the fallen.
If you like GoT for it’s complexity you’ll love these. If you are easily disturbed however you may not. It’s a compelling series, but it has a lot of depictions of the suffering caused by war, including that of children.
But it’s an amazing fantasy series.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Alan:

Wolf-Rayet stars are very rare and therefore very badly understood. It’s entirely plausible that any of the post-supernova stars we see in the sky today had been WR stars in their earlier life and had created a focused gamma ray burst. As such, if you say “there was one 65 million years ago” we can’t call you a liar; and I am entirely happy to give you a signed note to that effect.

As for triggerable destruction: I need more information. How much destruction do you need? Are you only trying to kill all complex life on a planet, or are you trying to remove bacteria too? Do you need the oceans to remain in place? What about the atmosphere?

You are going to use this information for peaceful purposes, I hope?

kat
kat
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw
Ha, ha! That guy is talented.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ kat

In fairness it’s the raccoon doing all the work.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Alan:

That was really interesting. Weirdly I first heard of Wolf-Rayet yesterday! (Isn’t there a term for that phenomenon?)

Baader-Meinhof effect?

professional misanthrope, Jerry Sadowitz

Often see him around my locality, including in my local Waitrose. Nothing damages your enfant terrible cred quite as much as shopping at Waitrose.

JoeB
JoeB
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw Ronson’s trip to Bohemian Grove with Alex Jones in “Them” is fascinating.

Unsurprising Spoiler:

Ronson sees a bunch of powerful people letting loose in private and acting like drunk frat boys, Jones sees pure satanic evil.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ EJ

I am entirely happy to give you a signed note to that effect.

Much appreciated! How come the axes of supernova can point in different directions anyway? Shouldn’t conservation of angular momentum mean they all face the same way; at least on a galactic scale?

Was going to just use the info for the story. But now it seems it’s actually achievable; hmm? (Hey, I already look like Gru so I’m half way to being a supervillain).

Basically though my premise is that a North Korean type state is believed to be trying to develop that sort of super weapon. Our protagonists try to stop that but they’re hindered by the fact that the regime has set up what is a quasi religion/cult. The cult is becoming increasingly popular everywhere, as no matter what outlandish predictions it makes, they always come true and they are victorious in every struggle no matter what the odds; and the dear leader type figure is now being seen around the world as infallible. (As a physicist you can probably figure out how he’s doing that)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ moggie

as much as shopping at Waitrose.

Oh I dunno, their salad bar is pretty hardcore.

@ JoeB

Yeah, I especially liked Jones going on about how covert and clandestine it all was, just before they were waved through the entrance.

Stephen Lawt
Stephen Lawt
5 years ago

Another few books I’ve read or been reading are

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson which was what help turn me into and environmentalist

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano which covers what the author calls transmisogyny. Its an interesting read but I haven’t been able to go more than a few chapters so far without getting depressed

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Much appreciated! How come the axes of supernova can point in different directions anyway? Shouldn’t conservation of angular momentum mean they all face the same way; at least on a galactic scale?

Each individual star can rotate on whatever axis it happens to be rotating on, and that isn’t a problem. Conservation of angular momentum means that once it’s spinning on that axis it’s going to stay on that axis unless it’s acted upon by a force. This means that when it becomes a supernova it will still spin on that axis, and afterwards when it becomes a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole, it will still spin on that axis.

The galaxy itself rotates, and each star orbits its centre, but this is a different rotation from that of the stars within it. The axis of each star doesn’t have to point in the same direction as the axis of the galaxy.

As for devices of mass destruction: Let me have a think. Is it your desire to have it wipe out all life instantly; or to have it wipe out all life except for the local followers of said dictator? The latter may be much harder.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

Cloudiah! If you’re still reading, it was very nice to see you.

Passing Stranger
Passing Stranger
5 years ago

Weird! I saw that very edition in a second-hand bookshop a few days ago.

occasional reader
occasional reader
5 years ago

Hello.

Yeah, Lemmy Caution is known in France through his interpretation by Eddie Constantine. It was a time where having a american actor in a french production drew a huge audience (even if the movies where not that good).
There have been a fistfull of Caution movies here. I believe it was surfing on the “Sam Spade”/Humphrey Bogart wave.

Have a nice day.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ EJ

The axis of each star doesn’t have to point in the same direction as the axis of the galaxy.

That’s the bit I have trouble getting my head around. I’ve presumed that galaxies form when the original post Big Bang matter starts to coalesce and that in doing so it will start to rotate. Then within the collapsing cloud that forms the galaxy there’ll be local coalescences that form solar systems. To me it seems that they should be on the same axis as the galaxy; the way the planets are more or less on the same plane and axis as the Sun.

I can see how there’d be a bit of minor variation from random perturbation but I’m given to understand conservation of angular momentum is pretty powerful (I’ve seen a bloke be pulled over just trying to move a spinning bicycle wheel off axis) so I’d have though that generally our galaxy would have an ‘up and down’ that was more or less common to everything.

[As to the other thing; it needs to kill everyone, but they mustn’t be aware of it]

pitshade
pitshade
5 years ago

@Alan

I’m pretty sure that the scenario you are looking for involves women being allowed to express opinions online or maybe LGBT characters in games. IIRC you should be find a number of totally plausible scenarios at RoK or the MGTOW reddit.

FurinatiMinion
FurinatiMinion
5 years ago

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I’d heartily recommend N. K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season”–best book I’ve read this year, and in my opinion deserves to win this year’s Hugo. She has great stuff. Also, Kameron Hurley. Her fiction is great, but I’m looking forward to reading her collection of essays “Geek Feminist Revolution”. Guy Gavriel Kay has a new book out and anything by him is good, as is anything by Lois McMaster Bujold. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary trilogy is fantastic. There’s a reason the first one won the Hugo award that year.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Interestingly, in the time since I posted that blog link above, I’ve already had one comment.

I’m very bad at answering comments (my apologies, Orion) but this one I chose not even to publish. That’s partly because it was inordinately long; partly because the foreword to it said that the author had been thrown off skeptical websites for being too MRAish (which is hard); but mainly because he claimed that if published, it would “destroy feminist academia forever.”

You will be relieved to hear that feminist academia has been saved by my “trash” button.

Trying to post this as a comment on a feminist’s blog is just a little weird. Trying to post it as a comment on a blog entry about astronomy is very weird. Is this a comment that anyone else has had submitted to them? I assume he didn’t write it just for me.

kat
kat
5 years ago

OT

“The Kidnapped Bride”

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/kyrgyzstan/thestory.html

This is what the denizens of the manosphere want. Or at least what its advocates think they want. Kind of. Because when push comes to shove, they probably don’t want to support a family. Or put up with a pregnant wife. Or children.

Women without rights: The situation might look good to men but in fact is extremely dangerous to everyone.

Hendrake
Hendrake
5 years ago

Moggie,

I know but didn’t want to hint at or spoil _that_ part of the book. I am normally not concerned about spoilers, but I know a lot of people care. I also like a lot Nora’s stile of writing, so for once I’m avoiding reading about Obelisk’s Gate until it is in my hands.

I would like to add to the the list of books I liked Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23943137-sorcerer-to-the-crown

It is a nice Victorian magical fantasy book with POC and woman protagonist, entertaining and well written.

I’d also like to second Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
5 years ago

A Cloudiah sighting! Yay!

@EJ – I haven’t read anything else of Calvino’s, but “The Baron In The Trees” is on my to-read-soon list. He’s such a charming and inventive writer. Do you have any favorites you can recommend?

Re: WR104, is the axis precessing, which is why sometimes it’s pointed straight at us and sometimes not? How certain are we that the system is oriented 90 degrees to us?

If there’s a chance we’re going to be killed by it, it should have a cooler name than “WR104”. Like “Gamma Murder Pinwheel”.

an there was a baby sand storm this afternoon that caught me asleep an I gotta lump of the Mojave desert or whatever they call it stuck right at the back of my throat

This sounds like a Bulwer-Lytton contest entry that didn’t know when to stop.

Mysterious creature
Mysterious creature
5 years ago

Currently reading Sins of Sumuru by Sax Rohmer out of weird curiosity. It’s quite a fun little potboiler so far, without the overt racism of Fu Manchu. All the manly men heroes are complete idiots who fall for the same obvious tricks repeatedly, while Sumuru herself has spent the entire book so far lounging about and occasionally shouting at people.

And I have to read the sequel, twice, because apparently the British and American editions have different endings.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ buttercup

“Gamma Murder Pinwheel”

That sounds like the best episode of ‘Columbo’ ever.

Mind you, my previous adherence to the Copernican Principle is taking a bit of a battering as it turns out every murder star in the local vicinity is aiming right at us; can’t help but feel picked on.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Buttercup Q. Skullpants:

I haven’t read anything else of Calvino’s, but “The Baron In The Trees” is on my to-read-soon list. He’s such a charming and inventive writer. Do you have any favorites you can recommend?

Baron starts well, but I thought it dragged in the second half. If on a winter’s night a traveler is bloody amazing.

Also: Gamma Murder Pinwheel is totally a band name.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

EJ (The Other One):

Trying to post this as a comment on a feminist’s blog is just a little weird. Trying to post it as a comment on a blog entry about astronomy is very weird. Is this a comment that anyone else has had submitted to them? I assume he didn’t write it just for me.

My guess: he’s a WHTM lurker, saw your link here, and just posted the wall-o-text he posts anywhere he thinks feminists read.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Hendrake:

I know but didn’t want to hint at or spoil _that_ part of the book. I am normally not concerned about spoilers, but I know a lot of people care. I also like a lot Nora’s stile of writing, so for once I’m avoiding reading about Obelisk’s Gate until it is in my hands.

When I read the opening lines of the first chapter of The Obelisk Gate and saw that it was about Nassun, I noped right out of there. I can’t face learning part of what happened to Nassun and Jija.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Re Calvino:

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller is an amazing book, one of the great metafictional novels. If you like postmodernism at all, definitely read it.

Invisible Cities is less metafictional but is just really good. (Or “and is really good” if you dislike metafiction.”)

Re stars rotating and stuff:
This might require a longer and very off-topic post because it requires me to teach y’all some physics. If you’re okay with that then great; otherwise I’ll stay on books.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Moggie:

It gets funnier!

After I trashed the comment and posted the above, he sent a second comment:

Maybe you should try _reading_ comments, instead of trashing them.

Poor dude. Poor, poor dude. Even the straight white cismale STEM feminists don’t want to give him a soapbox. I can hear the sound of a nanoscale violin wafting plaintively through the air.

Fabe
Fabe
5 years ago

S

peaking of douchcanoes – how about a post on those of youtube as in this piece:
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/02/how-video-pranksters-are-cashing-in-on-the-abuse-and-harassment-of-women?CMP=share_btn_tw

Not that you have any shortage of course…

(is there a better OT contact point than this? Sorry if this is not an approved suggestion route)

And of course the comments section is full of “Feminists are blowing this out of proportion” and “What about the mens” posts

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Alan:
After an enjoyable half hour spent doing nuclear physics calculations, I agree with Edward Teller: you cannot set the atmosphere on fire no matter how hard you try. Teller was probably upset that this was the case.

I’ll do some more calculations to see if I can come up with a more reasonable triggerable, instant world-destruction-device using some other mechanism.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ EJ

This might require a longer and very off-topic post

They can be a lot of fun though so if no-one objects I’d love to hear.

ETA:

I agree with Edward Teller: you cannot set the atmosphere on fire no matter how hard you try.

You have to admire the effort though.

dlouwe
dlouwe
5 years ago

Since it seems crowdsourcing story ideas is on topic here, does anyone have any ideas for what could cause humans to start to forget any information they impart on someone else? e.g. if you tell someone your birthday, you forget it yourself. The most plausible idea I’ve come across so far is basically “self-replicating nanotechnology experiment gone wrong” – it’s convenient, but kinda bland.

For bonus marks, what are some reasonable constraints that can be put on it to help civilization find equilibrium? I feel like simply introducing “people forget things they teach” would be too degenerative and there wouldn’t be enough wiggle room for people to adapt (without perhaps becoming 100% solitary, and that’s not interesting), so I’m trying to think of the least contrived-sounding ways to help it balance out and make survival as a group more feasible. So, maybe the occasional person is immune and they become “teachers” that spread common knowledge, or certain types of communication are exempt, or being vague or imprecise could make a loophole.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Dlouwe

what could cause humans to start to forget any information they impart

Oh I like that. It reminds me a bit of that ‘cartoon’ theory of diseases. You know, how if you have a cold and pass it on to someone else you no longer have it; like the cold is an actual object you can transfer?

I’ll have a think about a more real world solution.

Dalillama
5 years ago

@EJ (TOO)

After an enjoyable half hour spent doing nuclear physics calculations, I agree with Edward Teller: you cannot set the atmosphere on fire no matter how hard you try.

No, but surely if you hurl enough antimatter into it you can at least make it very, very hot, right?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

“When’s your birthday?”
“January ninth”
“Oh, that makes you a Capricorn”
“What makes me a Capricorn?”
“That you were born in January”
“Was I? Oh hang on, yes I was born in January”
“Were you?
“Were I what?”

dlouwe
dlouwe
5 years ago

@Alan,

Hah, yeah, nearest to the “event” things would be incredibly confusing, and probably comical, though I’m more concerned how the world look hundreds of years down the line. I imagine that asking questions would just stop being a thing.

Also that raises why constraints are important; for instance I would want people to forget what their birthday is, but still remember that they told someone their birthday. This has been the trickiest part so far; trying to lay things out so that they “work” in a consistent manner, without being highly contrived, and simply enough that it retains the quickly grasped “oh that’s neat” factor of the main premise.

guy
guy
5 years ago

The obvious loophole is to just write everything down; if that makes the writer forget what they wrote they can just read it themselves. The problem, of course, being how to teach people to read in the future, solvable by audio recording.

Hundreds of years down the road, society would probably communicate almost exclusively by means that leave a record the speaker/writer can review.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Dlouwe

Perhaps you could have a literal ‘memory bank’; a place where people go to tell important things to professional rememberers.

Of course the issue arises as to how you’d remember that there was such a place. The bank could employ people to go out and remind their customers; but then would the employees instantly forget where they worked?

Wow, this is pleasantly mind boggling (and as I’m still at work nicely distracting) 🙂

pitshade
pitshade
5 years ago

@ Mysterious creature

Sumuru herself has spent the entire book so far lounging about and occasionally shouting at people.

Yes, but is she eating bonbons?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Dlouwe

The “event”

Argh, don’t think about the event; you’ll make it come back!!!!

https://youtu.be/l28o6fJda1c

Hambeast, Social Justice Legbeard
Hambeast, Social Justice Legbeard
5 years ago

Josh and Nikki – I just finished Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes” and was pleasantly surprised to find it was one of his rare novels that didn’t involve anything supernatural.* I was particularly pleased with his treatment of a character with mental illness, who was one of the heroes.

CW for incest, though.

The last story of his that did involve the supernatural, and that I enjoyed was “1408” from the “Everything’s Eventual” collection of stories. The movie wasn’t nearly as creepy though, IMHO!

*My favorite King book is “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” which was very intense and gripping.

dlouwe
dlouwe
5 years ago

@Alan and Guy

Yeah, written/recorded information raises some complications – or rather, it makes things not quite as degenerative as I’d like. The setting I’m aiming for things to balance out at is at a sort of “soft” post-apocalypse; everything is doing fine except for humans. Technology and its advancement are severely hampered. Sustainable populations are much much smaller.

I’ve toyed around with the idea that something can only be read once and then becomes unintelligible afterwards, which I like for plot reasons (people could collect an “inheritance” of written knowledge to pass on when they die), but have trouble thinking of a good mechanical reason for that to be so.

Saphira
Saphira
5 years ago

My offer to write a book-length version of Dames for $2,986.69 still stands.

If I had $3000 to do with what I pleased, I’d consider it. Your version of Dames would be well worth the read, David.

(Unfortunately the reality is I’d be happy if someone gave me $3000 to pay my own bills. Unemployment sucks.)

kupo
kupo
5 years ago

@dlouwe

I’ve toyed around with the idea that something can only be read once and then becomes unintelligible afterwards, which I like for plot reasons (people could collect an “inheritance” of written knowledge to pass on when they die), but have trouble thinking of a good mechanical reason for that to be so.

People have forgotten how to write by hand and technology is on the decline, so they share written info through some kind of tech that’s write-once, read-once, maybe?