Thales's recent activity

  1. Comment on Looking for some long book series recommendations in ~books

    Thales
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    There are actually not quite so many books as that: 16 novels 1 collection of 3 novellas (The Borders of Infinity) 2 novellas 1 novelette Of the novels, 10 are from the POV of Miles Vorkosigan, 3...

    There are actually not quite so many books as that:

    • 16 novels
    • 1 collection of 3 novellas (The Borders of Infinity)
    • 2 novellas
    • 1 novelette

    Of the novels, 10 are from the POV of Miles Vorkosigan, 3 are from Cordelia's POV, and 3 others are from other characters in the universe.

    Most people (including the author) would recommend reading in the order of internal chronology. You can either start with the slower-paced Shards of Honor and Barrayar (about Cordelia; I loved Barrayar) or the faster-paced Warrior's Apprentice (about Miles Vorkosigan, the series' main protagonist). Be warned that the first third of Shards of Honor is very rough, in my opinion; it took me three tries to get through, but I enjoyed the last two thirds of the book much more.

    Most would also suggest skipping Falling Free and Ethan of Athos on a first read-through of the series (they are ancillary to the main series).

     

    Because they were written out of order, the books vary significantly in quality. Barrayar (#3), Mirror Dance (#9), Memory (#10), Komarr (#11), and A Civil Campaign (#12) were my favourites, and most of these were written more recently. The Warrior's Apprentice (#4) and Cetaganda (#6) were earlier books and are my least favourites. (You could probably just skip Cetaganda entirely without missing much of anything (the plot is entirely self-contained)).

     

    As stu2b50 says, the novels are all sci-fi but run through a variety of subgenres, which helps them stay fresh. Cetaganda is a murder mystery; Komarr is romance; A Civil Campaign is a comedy of manners; the Warrior's Apprentice is classic space opera; etc.


    I read most of the series over the past couple years and enjoyed it. Bujold's ability to develop a charming cast of characters brought me back again and again. With the exception of Mirror Dance and Memory, I wouldn't describe the books as dark, though. One weakness of the series is that the good guys almost always come out on top; even setbacks generally serve to take the protagonists towards unforeseen but still happy endings.

    Overall, though, would highly recommend giving them a try! I stopped reading after A Civil Campaign (book#12) which felt like a natural ending point to the series. I tried reading Diplomatic Immunity (book#13) but decided halfway through I was happy to just have things end with ACC.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on Reading The Wheel of Time in ~books

    Thales
    Link Parent
    It's less granular, but there's also Big Read: The Wheel of Time for anyone who's interested in another first-time reader's impressions as they go through the series. Starting with book 2 (The...

    It's less granular, but there's also Big Read: The Wheel of Time for anyone who's interested in another first-time reader's impressions as they go through the series.

    Starting with book 2 (The Great Hunt), they break the books into 3-7 parts and summarize their thoughts on each. They note at the top of each entry which chapters they'll be covering so there's no danger of spoilers (as far as I know). I enjoyed following along when I was trying to get back into reading the series a few years ago.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on The box office, two years later in ~movies

    Thales
    (edited )
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    This was really interesting to read through, cloud_loud! (Took me a few days to get through because I'm a slow reader/busy, lol). I'm just now realizing the role movie industry has played in my...

    This was really interesting to read through, cloud_loud! (Took me a few days to get through because I'm a slow reader/busy, lol).

    I'm just now realizing the role movie industry has played in my perception of the pandemic the past couple years. I still remember that 3 week window in Sept/Oct 2021 where No Time to Die, the Last Duel, and Dune all released and I thought to myself, "Oh, I guess people are good with doing movies again." Subconsciously, I also interpreted the decision to release those as "society thinks it's safe to go to the movies now." A more correct interpretation might have been, "the movie industry thinks they can make money again."

    I didn't end up seeing any of those in theatres for a number of reasons, in large part because I still preferred to be cautious during the delta-era, but it marked a big shift in my mind towards "society is moving on from the pandemic", in the same way that the NHL/NBA shutting down around March of 2020 was "shit is about to get real."


    Thanks again cloud_loud! This would make a great article or blog-post! I appreciate your insight and analysis.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on no subject in ~talk

    Thales
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    So sorry for your loss, Adys. This is a beautiful tribute. I'm in tears. <3

    So sorry for your loss, Adys. This is a beautiful tribute. I'm in tears. <3

    6 votes
  5. Comment on If you could make one change to improve your favorite sport, what would it be? in ~sports

    Thales
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    For hockey... Going to a shootout after a scoreless overtime in the regular season feels so gimmicky to me, so here's an equally gimmicky idea for how to end OT quickly: cut the number of players...

    For hockey...

    Going to a shootout after a scoreless overtime in the regular season feels so gimmicky to me, so here's an equally gimmicky idea for how to end OT quickly: cut the number of players on the ice down by 1 every five minutes until it's just 1v1 (plus two goalies). If no one scores at that point then maybe even pull the goalies and just have 1v1 with two empty nets (lol).

    Regular season OT is already played 3v3 instead of 5v5; why not just keep going? Executing a safe line change would probably be a challenge at 1v1, but I still think it would be more enjoyable to watch than the criminally slow-paced shootout.

    This suggestion is not-so-serious but I would love to see it, even if only for one season.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on China’s Xi asks Putin to negotiate with Ukraine in ~news

    Thales
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Are you referring to the "2020–2022 China–India skirmishes"? I don't know much about the conflict myself, but there's an interesting note in the Wikipedia article that touches on why the struggle...

    Are you referring to the "2020–2022 China–India skirmishes"?

    I don't know much about the conflict myself, but there's an interesting note in the Wikipedia article that touches on why the struggle may have have been largely forgotten and potentially misunderstood internationally:

    In June, media reports started emerging of India losing the information and perception war to China.[583][584][585] China's information warfare focused on trying to portray India as the aggressor and at the same time used the state media to repeatedly emphasize China's economic and military power.[586][587] An article in the New Indian Express on 17 July 2020 stated that Indian soldiers felt that "India, with its muted approach, allowed China to dominate the narrative."[585] Pakistan has helped China in the information war against India.[588]

    Edit: to be clear, I can't say if this is accurate or not--as I said, I don't know much about the situation--but I thought it was an interesting point in support of your observation.

    7 votes
  7. Comment on Pekka Rinne becomes the first player to have his jersey retired by the Nashville Predators in ~sports

    Thales
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    With Lundqvist, Rinne, Rask, and potentially Price out of the game these past couple years, it's crazy how suddenly the old guard of elite goaltenders has changed over. Just Fleury, Quick, and...

    With Lundqvist, Rinne, Rask, and potentially Price out of the game these past couple years, it's crazy how suddenly the old guard of elite goaltenders has changed over.

    Just Fleury, Quick, and Bobrovsky will be left from the top 10 goalies with the most GP in the 2010s unless Price does manage to come back.

    ///

    With regard to Rinne specifically, someone on reddit put together an infographic for his career. I didn't realize he was tied for 19th in all-time wins, and 2nd for goalies who played for a single team (a niche stat, but still). Pretty impressive. Nashville will miss him.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on Finland won their first Olympic men's ice hockey gold with victory over the Russian Olympic Committee on the final day of the Beijing Games in ~sports

    Thales
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    Not to take away from the Finnish squad's victory, but it's too bad we weren't able to see what might have been the best Finnish national team for men's hockey ever, had the NHL players gone. Even...

    Not to take away from the Finnish squad's victory, but it's too bad we weren't able to see what might have been the best Finnish national team for men's hockey ever, had the NHL players gone.

    Even with a few players underperforming (Donskoi, Kakko, Korpisalo, etc.), I think this projected team would have been good enough to fight for a medal with Juuse Saros on his game.

    The team would have been short on depth at all three positions but the top talent Finland has produced recently is incredible. Barkov, Aho, Rantanen, Laine, Hintz, and Heiskanen could all compete for a spot on any national team in the world.

    Even more impressive is how young those guys are: I believe Barkov is the oldest at 26. Finland is going to be a dangerous team for a long time.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Teaser trailer in ~tv

    Thales
    Link Parent
    Accusing the showrunners of corruption while corrupting a quote about corruption is a nicely multilayered bit of irony. /// I mean, I'm not that optimistic about the show either, but equating the...

    Accusing the showrunners of corruption while corrupting a quote about corruption is a nicely multilayered bit of irony.

    ///

    I mean, I'm not that optimistic about the show either, but equating the showrunners with evil or "the Shadow" because they look like they might screw up a TV show is absurd.

    4 votes
  10. Comment on Nintendo Direct - February 9, 2022 in ~games

    Thales
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    Nice to see Nintendo offer the Mario Kart DLC as part of their expansion pass. When the expansion pass was first announced, I mentioned that: And they’re doing a reasonably good job of that...

    Nice to see Nintendo offer the Mario Kart DLC as part of their expansion pass. When the expansion pass was first announced, I mentioned that:

    If Nintendo can add enough good N64 games (e.g. Banjo-Kazooie, Majora’s Mask, DK64) in a timely fashion, or add DLC for other Switch titles, or include GBA/GCN games in the service, the value of the expansion-pack improves a lot.

    And they’re doing a reasonably good job of that already, in my opinion. Barring any major announcements, I still probably won’t subscribe this year (I’d rather just buy the MK DLC than be bound to the subscription), but it’s encouraging that they’re already adding more content to it.

    ///

    Personally, I thought this was a good Direct. I’m interested in:

    • Mario Strikers
    • Assassin’s Creed: the Ezio Collection
    • Advance Wars (depending on the price)
    • Portal
    • No Man’s Sky
    • The Mario Kart DLC

    It is a little concerning that 3/5 of those are from 10+ years ago though (not counting the MK DLC, which draws from old and new games).

    The Kirby game looks really cool, but I think I’ll wait to see the reviews before committing to it. I’m a bit wary of some of Nintendo’s games aimed at younger audiences after Yoshi’s Crafted World was such a disappointment (I loved Woolly World and Yoshi’s Island). Hopefully it turns out well, though! I enjoyed Kirby 64 as a kid (I wonder if they’ll add that to the expansion pass at some point) and it looks like they’ve put a lot of work into this one.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on Roland Emmerich: Marvel and Star Wars are ‘ruining our industry’ in ~movies

    Thales
    Link Parent
    Interestingly, the phrase "high-concept" usually refers more to how simplistic an idea is than how intelligent it is: "High-concept" -- Wikipedia (This doesn't take away from your point at all, I...

    I did chuckle at this. I would absolutely not call Moonfall "high concept". It's dumb as a bag of dirt. Emmerich is the modern Irwin Allen and I had fun with the sheer stupidity of the movie, but high concept it is not.

    Interestingly, the phrase "high-concept" usually refers more to how simplistic an idea is than how intelligent it is:

    High concept is a type of artistic work that can be easily pitched with a succinctly stated premise.[1] It can be contrasted with low concept, which is more concerned with character development and other subtleties that are not as easily summarized.

    (This doesn't take away from your point at all, I just thought I'd share since I was confused about the meaning of "high-concept" for many years).

    6 votes
  12. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 31 in ~health.coronavirus

    Thales
    Link Parent
    I think vaccination has two aspects to it: personal benefit and societal benefit. The personal benefits are that you are less likely to: Get sick and/or die Lose out financially (either because...

    I think vaccination has two aspects to it: personal benefit and societal benefit.

    The personal benefits are that you are less likely to:

    • Get sick and/or die
    • Lose out financially (either because you live somewhere where you must pay out-of-pocket for healthcare or due to lost productivity)
    • Suffer long-term health complications (for young and healthy people, "long Covid" is probably the most frightening aspect of the disease)

    For you, these benefits might seem rather small. But then there are also the societal benefits.

    There are many, but here are a few off the top of my head:

    • You are less likely to infect someone and cause them to get sick/become disabled/die
    • You are less likely to contribute to strain on healthcare workers and the healthcare system
    • If you live somewhere with public healthcare (or partially public healthcare), you are less likely to cost your country tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (either because you end up in hospital or because someone you infect ends up in hospital)
    • If you live somewhere that is locked down, then by reducing the likelihood you'll spread the disease you are helping your locality move out of lockdown. Thus you're helping to preserve people's mental health, get kids back to school, allow the vulnerable/elderly to feel safer going out into their community (many of whom partially judge how safe they are by the local vaccination rate), saving the livelihoods of people who have had to shut down their businesses or scale back hours (covid has not just claimed millions of lives, it has also cost people/the world trillions of dollars), etc.
    • (There are also various other reasons that aren't coming to me right now)

    For me personally, I'm worried about getting long Covid and I also feel awful for those who are suffering because of the virus, whether because they've lost someone they love, lost their business, lost out on precious life experiences (imagine being a high-risk first-year in university right now :( ), or suffered some other terrible loss. It's a bad time right now for a lot of people.

    10 votes
  13. Comment on What is your favorite game you'll never finish? in ~games

    Thales
    Link Parent
    I love Majora's Mask but I too wish there was a way to explore without the pressure of the timer (although given the fact that much of the game was built around the 3-day system, I guess that...

    But I've always hated games with a timer because I prefer to do things at my own pace and so I just kind of gave up.

    I love Majora's Mask but I too wish there was a way to explore without the pressure of the timer (although given the fact that much of the game was built around the 3-day system, I guess that would break a bunch of its mechanics...).

    You might already knows this @hamstergeddon and @rosco, but for anyone who feels really stressed by the timer and wants a little more of a cushion, there is a way to slow down time. This gives you the equivalent of 9 in-game days to explore in the N64 version and 6 in-game days in the 3DS version.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on Walking away from Omelas - Lindsay Ellis says goodbye in ~life

    Thales
    Link Parent
    Normally I would 100% agree, and I don't think I would ever share content directly from someone’s Patreon. However, given that 1) bits and pieces of the statement are already out there and being...

    It seems ethically dubious to take content from a Patreon only post and publish it publicly.

    Normally I would 100% agree, and I don't think I would ever share content directly from someone’s Patreon.

    However, given that 1) bits and pieces of the statement are already out there and being analyzed and re-written by various parties, and 2) the full text has been posted by a reddit user, I thought it better to share her words in-full rather than have people speculate off of partial quotes or quotes taken out of context. If people can either read bits and pieces of it filtered through secondary sources or read the text from Lindsay Ellis herself, I think it's better that she be allowed to speak in her own words.

    I also trust Tildes users to handle this information with compassion and respect rather than using it as fuel to further harass Ellis. I think her statement is powerful and that posting it here will bring her more support and hopefully more compassion. I would not post a link to her statement in a space that I felt would bring her more pain.

    But, given what she's going through, I can't blame her for not releasing it to the wider world.

    For sure. I'm glad she has a private space on Patreon where her fans can share their thoughts with her and she can be shielded from harassment by the paywall. I was not a regular watcher but she has my best wishes and I very much hope she can find some way to heal from this experience.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on Walking away from Omelas - Lindsay Ellis says goodbye in ~life

    Thales
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    Someone on the Linday Ellis subreddit has posted the full text of her Patreon post, for anyone who wants to read it but isn't a subscriber.

    Someone on the Linday Ellis subreddit has posted the full text of her Patreon post, for anyone who wants to read it but isn't a subscriber.

    8 votes
  16. Comment on My current Oscar predictions in ~movies

    Thales
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    I'm not a film buff but I too love awards! They're great for finding new stuff to try, in my experience, whether they be for books, movies, TV shows, music, etc. So thank you for sharing, your...

    I know that there aren’t a lot of film buffs here, and that a lot of you don’t care about awards. I love awards

    I'm not a film buff but I too love awards! They're great for finding new stuff to try, in my experience, whether they be for books, movies, TV shows, music, etc. So thank you for sharing, your list is intriguing and I'll have to check out some of your nominees.

    Assuming you've seen most these movies, what/who do you think deserves to win thus far?

    1 vote
  17. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    Thales
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I thought they were insane to try to adapt LoL and Dota into TV shows, but credit to the creators, they've managed to win critical acclaim for both. I've never played either game but have heard...

    I thought they were insane to try to adapt LoL and Dota into TV shows, but credit to the creators, they've managed to win critical acclaim for both.

    I've never played either game but have heard such good things about Arcane that I'm tempted to try it.

    (The Witcher is a fine exception however)

    It may help that The Witcher draws upon a number of short stories from The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, the two Witcher short-story collections by Andrej Szapkowski, rather than being a straight-up video game adaptation.

    The best episode of the first season imo was also the one that stuck closest to its short story: Episode 5 "Bottled Appetites".

    (Although speaking more generally, I think tv adaptations work best when they don't force themselves stick to the narrative of their source material (whether that's a video game, book, short story, whatever) and instead try to recreate the same feeling using the unique strengths of the television medium).

    2 votes
  18. Comment on Streaming company Storytel has signed a deal to acquire Audiobooks.com from owner KKR for $135m, extending its reach into the English language audio market in ~finance

    Thales
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    Interesting. Between this, the recent news that Spotify is entering the audiobook market, and the introduction of Audible Premium Plus last year (which offers streaming of a limited selection of...

    Asked about whether Audiobooks.com would move to a streaming model, Tellander insisted it was “way too early” to say and the site would operate under its current models for now.

    Interesting. Between this, the recent news that Spotify is entering the audiobook market, and the introduction of Audible Premium Plus last year (which offers streaming of a limited selection of audiobooks), I wonder if the audiobook market is about to phase out the credit model and plunge into on-demand streaming.

    People have been speculating about “Netflix for audiobooks” for years, and there are interesting pros/cons to the idea. Hopefully the credit model will stick around as an alternate plan for those who prefer it. Above all, whatever happens, I hope the streaming and publishing companies don’t strike a deal that ends up screwing over authors, narrators, editors, etc. though.

    5 votes
  19. Comment on The Legend of Bounce Back - My playable tribute to thirty-five years of Zelda in ~games

    Thales
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    Not much to say aside from, "This is an amazing tribute!" The graphics are so smooth and colourful, and I love the classic overworld theme. A remix like this would have been great on the Switch in...

    Not much to say aside from, "This is an amazing tribute!" The graphics are so smooth and colourful, and I love the classic overworld theme.

    A remix like this would have been great on the Switch in celebration of 35 years of Zelda, akin to the "Super Mario Bros 35" Battle Royale that was put out for Mario's 35th.

    Two suggestions (and I only played up to level 5, so maybe this comes up later) would be to include a larger variety of weapons (melee?) and more overt references to different entries the series. I'm not sure what's possible, but maybe different levels could try to evoke different games. For example, maybe you could play as Ricky the boxing kangaroo on levels inspired by Oracle of Ages/Seasons.

    But overall, so cool! As someone with no programming ability or gamedev knowledge, I envy your skill.

    4 votes
  20. Comment on Is SNL worse now that it's ever been? in ~tv

    Thales
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    To answer my own question, I disagree with Gooden. Claiming that “Comedy with an agenda isn’t comedy,” seems like a pretty self-evident case of the intentional fallacy, where the agenda (i.e....

    To answer my own question, I disagree with Gooden. Claiming that “Comedy with an agenda isn’t comedy,” seems like a pretty self-evident case of the intentional fallacy, where the agenda (i.e. intent) of the comedian really doesn’t matter: what matters is if the audience finds it funny.

    Defining what “comedy” is and isn’t also seems only a little less difficult than trying to define “art.” Really the only metric that matters is if people laugh .

    2 votes