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Main Boards => VGMaps Social Board => Topic started by: JonLeung on June 06, 2006, 08:01:33 PM



Title: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: JonLeung on June 06, 2006, 08:01:33 PM
Today I bought:



The Myst Reader - I finished Myst V: End Of Ages a while ago, and I'd played the previous four games about a year or two before that.  I suppose I still need to play the Uru expansions, but the main Myst games are done with.  I need my Myst fix.  I wanted the hardcover ones of the three books separately (I imagine they'd look cool like in the games, probably with a nice cover and then an image that looks like it would "link" you into another world, I'm guessing) - but I guess they're rare or in limited print so each individual one is already multiple times more expensive than the paperback one that includes all three volumes.



Transformers: The Ultimate Guide - I've heard there are factual errors everywhere, but it's still the best English guide to all things Transformers.  I'm sure you'd love to hear my impressions of it when I get it.



I ordered both of these online so I won't actually get my hands on them until maybe next week.  Though you never know...when I ordered the ReBoot movies on DVD they came in less than two days.  o_0


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 06, 2006, 10:12:18 PM
Well, everyone who knows me has figured out that I already have the Transformers: The Ultimate Guide and to be honest, it's a mixed bag. Some of it is great, some is average, and some of it is either wrong or just messed up.



The writer is Simon Furman, who became known to fans for writing the UK TF G1 comic as well as taking over the later half of the main US TF G1 comic and the short TF G2 comic. He is famous (and infamous) for giving Transformers as more epic feel by retconning them from being naturally evolving machines to being the creations of Primus, the Lord of Light, in his fight against Unicron, the Chaos Bringer. And lately, a tendency emerged in the fandom to explain all the separate continuities as being alternate realities, and Furman further retconned in recent material that Primus and Unicron exist as single entities for the entire multiverse.



Unfortunately, the guide is mostly written from this point of view instead of from an impartial behind-the-scene viewpoint. This leads him to explain the contradictory origins of the G1 Dinobots in the old comics and the cartoon for example as some being myths and distortions of their true origin, which was the one he wrote in the recent Dreamwave comic (and now discontinued, being replaced by yet again a new universe written by Simon Furman for IDW, so using his work as the definite and true origin in-story wasn't a bright move since it will most likely be changed again soon).



This also led Furman to retcon certain elements yet again for the guide since it's basically "Transformers according to Simon Furman", some of which doesn't even match with his own work for Dreamwave (we're talking about little plot points, but for an 'Ultimate Guide', this is kind of inexcusable).



Anyway, here are my impressions of the guide:



The guide is divided in several sections corresponding to the various TF incarnations: G1, Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Robots in Disguise, Armada and Energon.



G1 is of course the largest since it's the one with the most different incarnations. Furman tells us the fundamentals of the G1 universe as he's written it, which includes elements from every continuity as well as stuff he had in mind but never wrote, so it's difficult to see any of it as completely official. He then follows it with a giude to some of the toys as well as a basic overview of the cartoon and the old comics.



Mind you, being a big krypto-revisionist (meaning I take what I want from the official material and build my own universe) I love getting as much material as possible, but fans of official stuff who'd like every continuity to be shown in details separately to better differentiate them will be really disappointed. So that's just my disclaimer.



My personal highlights are the exclusive map of (one side of) Cybertron, and the cutaways for Unicron, Optimus Prime and Megatron's internal structures. Down points are the map of the Autobot ship the Ark (using the ugly, boxy and widly fluctuating design from the old comic instead of the sleek and consistent design from the cartoon) and new elements that I personally don't like (like explaining the Decepticons as being TF 'tainted' by Unicron, and thus being the result of demonic corruption instead of simply a result of free will and the desire to dominate others).



The other sections are more straigthfoward, being more a general presentation of the series, with a few episode synopsis and toys shown. I personally don't like that Furman tells us the official pre-BW forms for Optimus Primal and Megatron since neither were ever depicted anywhere. The Robot in Disguise section is also disappointing since the cartoon is not really mentionned (lack of space) and the Energon section at the end is mostly a preview since it was only beginning to come out when the guide was published.



In short, I don't regret buying it since it still gives a good idea of Transformers in general and provides me with new ideas for my own TF universe, but I think it falls quite short in terms of accuracy and objectivity for non-fans.



Okay, I've done enough ranting.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Dan on June 07, 2006, 10:16:11 AM
The latest book I bought was Flatland, because it was $1.50 and I recall Revned reccommending it.  It's a pretty sweet book, totally worth the cash I paid for it :P


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 11:03:09 AM
These past few years I haven't bought a lot of books. A dozen Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett (the god of British fantasy humor!) and a few art/making of books for movies not worth mentionning.



Instead, I've been buying several comic trade paperbacks. I'm lucky enough that there's a little comic shop near where my sister lives and the owner's really cool. Not only does he knows pretty much in details everything he has in stock, he's good at suggesting comics that will appeal to his customers' tastes. You mention liking one comic and several months later, he'll still remember what you told him. Plus, being a regular, I get a 10% discount on everything, and he's already selling using the US price and the current exchange rate for canadian dollars, instead of the canadian price printed which is usually 50% higher than the US one.



Anyway, I've bought several titles recently:



-Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Truly a masterpiece of storytelling and universe building, I have 9 of the 10 TPBs so far and I wish there were more remaining. It's basically the tales of the Endless named Dream and of the many mortals (and others) who in one way or another end up meddling with him, his domain and sometimes his family (Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destiny and Destruction). There are so many layers to his characters and his world, and so many different graphic style used, it's just incredible. The first few collections aren't the best, but after that it's pure Gaiman. If you've never seen Gaiman's Death (Dream's sister), you'd like her, I swear!



-Ex Machina: A Vertigo comic which is up to its 3rd TPB. It's basically a pretty realistic political thriller about a man who, after an accident, ends up being able to communicate with machines. After a brief and failed run as the superhero The Great Machine (despite playing an important role during 9/11), he ends up becoming mayor of New York in the hopes of helping people through the system. Being a reasonable person who's neither Conservative nor Liberal but instead relies on Common Sense, he doesn't exactly fit with the system, in addition to occasionally being haunted by whatever it is that gave him those power years before...



Hope I didn't say to much there, but I really love this series. The art is great and plays a lot with colors, and all the characters are believable as well as deeply human. It also plays with the concept of a real world (or at least a very realistic) superhero which is nice (instead of having thousands of people in tights running around and battling alien threats and gods on a regular basis).



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: bustin98 on June 07, 2006, 11:23:03 AM
Terra, have you tried Preacher? When it first came out I wasn't interested. But then an opportunity came about where I read the first TPB. Then I was hooked. Another great book I mourn the loss of (the first being Sandman).



I had Sandman #1 signed by Neil Gaiman, but it was stolen. That wrenched my heart. But I still have a Death t-shirt signed by him.



I belong to the SciFi Book club, and just got two collections: Dragonriders of Pern and Time Quartet (the Wrinkle in Time series by L'engle). I loved A Wrinkle in Time as a wee one, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

---

Cool beans


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 11:54:36 AM
I've heard about it, but my wallet is already stretched pretty thin as it is :D



But seriously, a lot of the comics I enjoy are/were made by Vertigo, so I'm bound to try Preacher sooner or later.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 07, 2006, 12:28:40 PM
Heh, Dan, I haven't even read it myself. I just knew of it. I ought to read it someday....



Terra, have you tried being a preacher? Your Transformers rants can probably be considered preaching :P


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 12:35:35 PM
Hopefully I just appear overly enthusiastic rather than preaching ;)



What can I say, it's rare that I get to speak my mind on something I'm passionate about without being ignored (for being too level-headed) or flamed (for the same reasons). And despite how enflamed my rants may seem, they're all in good fun in the end. That's why I tried to balance my review of the Ultimate Guide above by talking about the content and how unreliable it was as an official authority on the subject (despite really liking how unreliable it was). I'll admit that I endulge in too much details sometimes even though (believe it or not) I try to limit myself to the bare minimum so that my point will be easier to understand.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 07, 2006, 12:47:38 PM
Yes, you do just appear overly enthusiastic. Not in a bad way, I just can't relate. By the way, it should be "too many details".


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 12:54:22 PM
Come on, there has to be something you're passionate about, whether it's a hobby, a sport, a TV show, etc.



Oh, and I guess I confused "too much detail" and "too many detailS".



That's right! You're passionate (if not downright obsessed) with grammar and orthograph ;)



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 07, 2006, 12:58:08 PM
Movies, but I don't spend my time typing page after page about them. Yes, I am pretty obsessed with grammar. Not really passionate, it's just that poor grammar makes people look stupid. Not for you, though, since it's your second language. Anyone who can speak a second language proficiently is entitled to make mistakes.


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 12:59:42 PM
Don't you ever feel like sharing your passion for movies with someone else? If you don't already do it with friends mind you...



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 07, 2006, 01:02:30 PM
I do share it with a friend, but our opinions are almost always the same, so we don't need all that much discussion. "This movie is t3h PwnX0rz," "Yeah, it is!"


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 01:06:21 PM
Well, I have a friend with whom I share several interests but we still find ways to spend hours  on end in pointless discussions regarding movies, games, politics, etc. So I'm usually worse face-to-face than when I'm just writing on the net.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 07, 2006, 01:13:05 PM
If you think your conversations are pointless, you should see the conversations I actually do have with my friend. Less than a quarter of our messages are serious/intelligible.



Anyway, sorry to flood your topic, Jon. Back to books. I haven't bought any in forever. I used to buy lots of them, but I never really read them. Looking at my bookshelf reminds me that I've only read half of the first volume of The Complete Far Side, which I got a couple years ago at Christmas. Any Far Side fans here?


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: bustin98 on June 07, 2006, 02:08:09 PM
Who isn't a Far Side fan? Everyone can find at least 10 strips that will make them laugh. Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes are the golden age of modern strips.

---

Cool beans


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: JonLeung on June 07, 2006, 02:25:28 PM
I got the Complete Calvin & Hobbes as a REALLY late Christmas present that ended up arriving shortly before my birthday in April.  Good stuff.


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 07, 2006, 03:56:13 PM
I would have gotten that too, but I already had all the paperback ones.


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 07, 2006, 05:18:00 PM
I'd love to get the Complete Calvin & Hobbes but it's a bit expensive.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Thraxian on June 08, 2006, 07:29:36 AM
I have the 3 Myst books at home in hardback.  They are nice and look great on the shelf.  I'm tempted to buy some book pedestals, put them in my office, and get some spotlights to shine on them :)



The Myst series is very enjoyable.  It reads very quickly (I could finish all 3 in a single weekend, and I don't speed read), and really draws you in.



I'm tempted to pick up Flatland and the sequel.  I saw something about them on the internet, and they look interesting.  


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: Revned on June 08, 2006, 09:48:47 AM
If you don't want to actually go out and spend money, you can read it here: http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: JonLeung on June 09, 2006, 05:05:51 PM
The books I mentioned in the first post arrived in the mail today.  I skimmed through the Transformers one.



Definitely lots to read and look at, but I was hoping it would be more like a book I saw my friend had - a Japanese book all about all of G1, with pictures of probably every toy in every mode.  Of course, without being able to read Japanese, it'd be more of a book for browsing.  That had a focus on toys, whereas this Ultimate Guide tries to cover everything.



This "Ultimate Guide" has a severe lack of Hot Rod.



I guess it is the best Transformers book I have (probably the only one, actually, other than one storybook I have (had?) about how the Autobots meet Wheelie) but I think if someone spent a lot of time on it, a better-than-Ultimate Guide could be written.  And I'd buy that too.


Title: RE: Since books are all the rage, I decided to buy some.
Post by: TerraEsperZ on June 11, 2006, 07:26:14 PM
JonLeung, you're talking about Transformers Generations, and I have that one too. If all you're interested in is the G1 and G2 toys, this is the one to get. It also has a lot of concept art for most of the characters in the US and Japanese cartoons and Japanese comics. Of course, I can't figure out what's written on any page, but it's still cheap for a lot of pretty pictures.



The second editions also includes several more pages of concept art for the toys.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me