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Podcasts > S&L Podcast - #328 - SUPERCOMBO TEAMUP!

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message 1: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1728 comments Mod
We team up with Mallory and Brea from Reading Glasses for a supercollaboration with reading advice, emails, and discussion of Mortal Engines.

http://swordandlaser.com/home/2018/7/...
https://www.patreon.com/posts/19888452
https://soundcloud.com/swordandlaser/...


message 2: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8951 comments I stopped around the spoiler parts since I’m only on page 70 of ME, but that was a fun episode.

When it comes to visualizing giant Traction Cities, even before I saw the trailers I may have had an advantage in that, as a fan of sci-fi art, I was recalling some great 1970s renditions of gigantic wheeled vehicles.

For example:

Chris Foss


Tim White


John Harris


Ron Herron


I have a couple Lego albums in my Flickr albums, one of which features Crawler City by Dave DeGobbi. I don’t know if he was inspired by Mortal Engines or not, but his builds are cool.





message 3: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6925 comments Mod
I like the idea of talking about what other books you're reading in addition to what you're drinking.

You guys do tend to bring up other books from time to time, but I'd be in favor of making that a regular segment of the show.


message 4: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6925 comments Mod
So I'll concede that the 5 star rating isn't perfect, but I think that's mostly because of the emphasis a "5 stars or it's crap".

Every time I see/hear someone soliciting for reviews/ratings and they are like "give us 5 stars" I'm immediately inclined to either not rate it or rate it 4 or less, even if I like it.

But really, not everything is 5 stars. I feel like some people are too generous and just give 5 stars so much that it devalues the rating. Personally I only give out a handful of 5 ratings every year. I'm totally fine with picking up books that are averaging about a 4 star. I feel like most of what I read is 4 stars.

3 star books are those books that I enjoy but are easily skippable. Does it suck if you write a 3 star book? I guess. There is just too much media (books, TV, movies, games) etc to waste time on 3 star ratings. I find I don't give out a lot of 3's anymore because I have a better idea of what kind of books I'll enjoy. That's not because 3 star books don't exist or I'm being too generous. It's more that I don't not enough time to try random books beyond whatever S&L is reading.

My big issue with the thumbs up/down is there is no neutral option. There are some things that aren't great and aren't bad they are somewhere in the middle. That needs to be built in somehow. I hate that Netflix got rid of the star ratings for streaming (they still have it for DVDs, and yes I know I'm the only person you've heard of who still rents DVDs from Netflix).

I'd prefer 10 stars or 100% scale so I can give 7-9 instead of a lot of 4s and the occasional 3. Then I can save the 10s for my absolute top ratings. I tend to give a lot of 3.5s and 4.5s in my reviews but then round the rating up or down depending on the book. Of course it still won't fix the core problem which is that everyone has their own way of rating and there is far too much emphasis on 5/100% or it's crap.

The biggest thing to really value any rating system is knowing the tastes of the person whose doing the rating. That can be really hard on the internet where you've got thousands of people rating that you don't know.

One of my favorite features of Goodreads is the thing that lets you compare your ratings to another user. If another user and I have a high correlation of ratings, I'm more inclined to trust their ratings. There are some people/friends whose opinions I trust more as a result of previous rating/recommendation history.


message 5: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8951 comments Rob wrote: "So I'll concede that the 5 star rating isn't perfect, but I think that's mostly because of the emphasis a "5 stars or it's crap". "

The other issue that any odd-numbered rating system always tends toward the median. Unless something is really loved or hated by a significant portion of the user base, the rating will always end up in the middle.


message 6: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2590 comments Trike wrote: "When it comes to visualizing giant Traction Cities, even before I saw the trailers I may have had an..."

There is a Mortal Engines group at DeviantArt named the Tractionists

https://www.deviantart.com/tractionists

They've drawn traction cities, airships and characters. Whatever you may think of the books, they have clearly hit a creative nerve for many people.


message 7: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
In what world is Brighton (UK) a small town? ( Pop. 280,000+)

I rarely give any book 5 stars. I reserve that for my absolute favourite books ever.

I often give books I really enjoyed 3 stars. 4 for books I loved.
2 is an average book for me.


message 8: by Alan (new)

Alan Denham (alandenham) | 143 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "I often give books I really enjoyed 3 stars. 4 for books I loved.
2 is an average book for me..."

And herein lies the problem - while you are rational and consistent, other reviewers are not - sometimes individually inconsistent and always inconsistent across the group - and 'inflation' is the result.
(Explanation: In UK, the educational awards system right from earliest possible school leavers right up to Masters level has had several 'grade inflation' scandals over the last two decades - same effect!)
No obvious solution - we may need to take the whole system apart on a regular basis and redefine the scales.


message 9: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (last edited Jul 08, 2018 04:11AM) (new)

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Clio isn't named after Miss Cleo ;-)

In Mortal Engines she is the Goddess of History.

Clio is one of the 9 Muses of Greek Mythology. She is the Muse of History.


message 10: by Carlos (last edited Jul 08, 2018 08:18AM) (new)

Carlos | 1 comments I liked this, man!





message 11: by Richard (last edited Jul 08, 2018 09:22AM) (new)

Richard | 99 comments While three stars is my personal "average" rating (two stars are slogs, and one star is for books I just couldn't finish). the way I interpret Goodreads ratings is that 3.75 to 4 is an average book. The scale for Goodreads ratings seems to be 3 to 4.5; anything in the low 3's is probably going to be a dumpster fire.

I also put sequels on a sliding scale against the original book. If you gave the first book one star, you're probably not reading book two, and so sequel readers are more predisposed to like what they're reading. A sequel rating that isn't at least equal to the original is a reason for concern.

Not that a low rating is ever an automatic disqualifier, just part of the decision-making process!


message 12: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2331 comments I didn't actually injure myself reading, but when I was young I learned it was a Bad Idea to try to prop a library book open on the handles of my Schwinn Sting-ray and try to read as I pedaled my way home.


message 13: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4271 comments Oh! The poor, poor book! Was it injured?


message 14: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 78 comments I enjoyed the listener advice section. Why aren't Tom and Veronica solving OUR problems?


message 15: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2331 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "Oh! The poor, poor book! Was it injured?"

No, both the book and I (and the bike, for that matter) survived; but I could see that if I continued down that path, only bad things would result.

I have sometimes had better luck reading a book while walking.


message 16: by Sheila Jean (new)

Sheila Jean | 326 comments Joseph wrote: "I have sometimes had better luck reading a book while walking "

I used to do this all the time before I discovered audio books.


message 17: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1728 comments Mod
@Tassie - I like my version better 😆

@Ian - Are you still not seeing it in iTunes? I see it in Overcast ok!


message 18: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Morrison | 1 comments Possibly I missed someone mentioning this when I was listening, but you can add private comments to books in your goodreads. On the screen for writing a review of a book the text box for private comments is right under the text box for your review, sometimes you have to click "More details…" to see it though. Also, you can add a private comment without writing a review.


message 19: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments I really love the book journal idea and I'm totally going to start using it (thank you, Mallory and Brea!). I have a hard time remembering kindle books. Research shows that readers absorb less with ebooks than with physical books (https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...) but I really love the convenience. I think the physical act of writing down my thoughts just for me would help me remember what I've read.


message 20: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2590 comments Dara wrote: "I really love the book journal idea and I'm totally going to start using it (thank you, Mallory and Brea!). I have a hard time remembering kindle books. Research shows that readers absorb less with..."

I used to keep track of what I read in a notebook and gave up the practice about the same time that I began reading books in digital formats. In retrospect, it was much easier for me to recall what I've read back then. Maybe it's time go back to the good ol' days and start a new notebook.


message 21: by Jen (new)

Jen | 229 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Clio isn't named after Miss Cleo ;-)

In Mortal Engines she is the Goddess of History.

Clio is one of the 9 Muses of Greek Mythology. She is the Muse of History."


Yes! I'm glad I'm not the only one who caught that!


message 22: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8951 comments I have notebooks full of book notes. I first started my Alphabet Challenge as a serious annual attempt in 1992, but I have notebooks going back to 1979 where I was tracking such things.

I also used to loan my books out to other kids at school and in the neighborhood, so I used to put ratings inside the front cover and notes inside the back cover. One thing I noticed: my 14-year-old self had beautiful penmanship. Now my writing looks like it was made by a drunken monkey scribbling in the dark.


message 23: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2552 comments Rob wrote: "One of my favorite features of Goodreads is the thing that lets you compare your ratings to another user.."

Yeah I like that feature too. I just did a quick check and found that I have an 83% match with you. One of the top 2 or 3 of my friends so looks like we are on the same page :)


message 24: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) I've found that people who have been in the same book club long enough tend to match 80%+ since half the matching is just reading the same books, not just the rating.

I will say that I do kind of judge another GR user when our "inversely common books" (the rarest books we've both read) are stuff like Harry Potter or something else popular.


message 25: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3675 comments Mod
Jen wrote: "Tassie Dave wrote: "Clio isn't named after Miss Cleo ;-)

In Mortal Engines she is the Goddess of History.

Clio is one of the 9 Muses of Greek Mythology. She is the Muse of History."

Yes! I'm glad I'm not the only one who caught that!"


The Kindle X-Ray feature is great for that sort of info. :-)

One, of many, reasons I prefer eBooks to audiobooks


message 26: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments I rarely look at ratings, they are usually garbage and can put me off a good book (or put me onto a bad one).

I do look in papers and reviews where they recommend books and don't diss them.


message 27: by Ian (RebelGeek) (new)

Ian (RebelGeek) Seal (rebel-geek) | 840 comments Veronica wrote: "@Tassie - I like my version better 😆

@Ian - Are you still not seeing it in iTunes? I see it in Overcast ok!"


I was looking at ye olde video podcast by mistake. Oops!


message 28: by Ian (RebelGeek) (new)

Ian (RebelGeek) Seal (rebel-geek) | 840 comments Joseph wrote: "John (Taloni) wrote: "Oh! The poor, poor book! Was it injured?"

No, both the book and I (and the bike, for that matter) survived; but I could see that if I continued down that path, only bad thing..."


My late step-grandmother (a very cool retired teacher) used to read paperbacks while driving. I think it was just at red lights. No, she didn't die in a car accident.

I listen to audiobooks pretty constantly. It's much safer.


message 29: by Tasha (new)

Tasha Andrew wrote: "Possibly I missed someone mentioning this when I was listening, but you can add private comments to books in your goodreads. On the screen for writing a review of a book the text box for private co..."

I never knew that. I will use it as my "reviews" are really just comments for me anyway.


message 30: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1250 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Clio isn't named after Miss Cleo ;-)

In Mortal Engines she is the Goddess of History.

Clio is one of the 9 Muses of Greek Mythology. She is the Muse of History."


This is 100% true but, as I also mentioned on the other thread, any Brit reading the name Clio in 2001 would think instantly of the car adverts https://youtu.be/BswNEECWst0


message 31: by Richard (new)

Richard | 99 comments I thought, "Ugh, crossover." But I ended up enjoying it and subscribing to Reading Glasses and now I'm plowing through old episodes of theirs. Thanks!


message 32: by Dena (new)

Dena (lalien) | 58 comments Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin was recommended during the podcast and I want to put in another recommendation: Black Ships by Jo Graham. If you like retold Greek mythology, this is the Aeneid from the point of view of a young oracle who is on one of the ships. I loved it so much.


message 33: by Daryl (new)

Daryl | 93 comments Great episode with the folks at Reading Glasses!


message 34: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments Veronica, Lincoln in the Bardo is AMAZING! The writing style takes some getting used to, but once I grew accustomed to it there was no problem. This was the best book I read in 2017, hands down!


message 35: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1728 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Veronica, Lincoln in the Bardo is AMAZING! The writing style takes some getting used to, but once I grew accustomed to it there was no problem. This was the best book I read in 2017..."

High praise! I will check it out!


message 36: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1728 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Veronica, Lincoln in the Bardo is AMAZING! The writing style takes some getting used to, but once I grew accustomed to it there was no problem. This was the best book I read in 2017..."

High praise! I will check it out!


message 37: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments As to the question of how cities ‘eat’ other cities: “...Tom felt the deck plates shiver as the city’s huge hydraulic jaws came slamming shut.”


message 38: by Jessica (last edited Jul 22, 2018 10:46AM) (new)

Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments Okay, sorry for all the spread out comments, but I am still catching up on this episode bit by bit. I notice everyone else referring to the Stalker as Shrike. In my copy of the book from the library, his name is Grike. Was his name changed in different editions for some reason?

Also, I very much thought this book was Middle Grade, not YA. Is that not the case? It definitely reads MG to me, albeit dark, as you all noted. Additionally, my library has it sorted under "J" (juvenile?) and marked on the spine as "Chapter Book".

ETA: Okay, I Googled my own answer. His name was changed to Grike for North American editions. In a Q&A, Reeve gave this explanation:

"Apparently there's a character called The Shrike in some SF books by Dan Simmons. (Oh, thank you, Jenny Haniver!). I'd never heard of them - I got it from the bird - and there's no copyright in names - it's like The Master in Dr who and The Master in Buffy I guess - but the US publisher was worried about it and asked me to change it, and since time was very short and I was busy with serious real- stuff at the time I just went 'Brike? Crike? Drike? Frike? GRIKE, that'll do.' I always wished afterwards I'd put up more of a fight because it's led to endless confusion, but hey ho.

(He was called Shreck originally, I guess that would have been worse.) I think I heard something about the Shrek film coming out and changed it for that reason - I can't remember.

(He was named after Max Shreck, the actor who played Nosferatu in the Murnau film.) oh, Murnau, that came in useful, too..."


message 39: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1728 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Okay, sorry for all the spread out comments, but I am still catching up on this episode bit by bit. I notice everyone else referring to the Stalker as Shrike. In my copy of the book from the librar..."

Wow!! That's actually super interesting. Yes, this group also read Hyperion by Dan Simmons, which is why that name (Shrike) strikes fear into our hearts!


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