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Mors_Gloria
See? Marge was right!! ^

Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:07 am
Posts: 1053
Location: Greece
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:49 pm 
 

deathcorpse wrote:
vondskapens_makt wrote:
Right now I'm on and off reading Friedrich Nietzsche's 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' again. definitely one of my favorite reads, thought provoking, and Nieztsche is one of my favorite philosophers. I find it interesting that many associate him with being extremely nihilistic when in actuality he claims that the true way to become the ubermensch is to overcome the ensung nihilism in the world.

Edit: Btw Abominatrix, good thread. :thumbsup:


Most people read Nietzsche totally wrong, he denounces it all in order to rise above. It's knowing the difference, it's not about wallowing in it. It's the whole mountaintop mentality.


Most people cannot really understand Nietzsche. People often accuse him of being one of the fathers of National Socialism and Aryanism (due to the ubermensch concept). However, he denounced Aryanism and Anti-Semitism and he attacked Wagner for being so corrupted by Aryanism, Christianity and Anti-Semitism.

While I'm sure that most of you will disagree I find the concept of Metaxiosis in Nietzsche's works pretty similar to the ideology of Anarchism, in which the old ideals are overturned for the creation of new ones.

To the OP: Personally, I was only interested in reading philosophy some time ago. Recently, though Arthur Rimbaud's A Season In Hell got in my hands. I loved that book. Now I'm after Rimbaud's other works :)
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alexanderthegreat
Metal Barbarian Dinosaur

Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:34 pm
Posts: 1916
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:35 pm 
 

Mors_Gloria wrote:
Most people cannot really understand Nietzsche. People often accuse him of being one of the fathers of National Socialism and Aryanism (due to the ubermensch concept). However, he denounced Aryanism and Anti-Semitism and he attacked Wagner for being so corrupted by Aryanism, Christianity and Anti-Semitism.


"This one time I was playing monopoly, I picked up a chance card, it said "You are Nietzsche, your entire philosophy was espoused by the nazis and cynically manipulated to suit their own diabolical ends. Miss a go." - Bill Bailey
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Bash
Talking Meat

Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 6:06 am
Posts: 1054
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:42 pm 
 

Susitaival wrote:

"Cyberiad" by Stanislaw Lem. Same thing as with "Hunchback", gone through the translated version which was absolutely hilarious sci-fi parody. Nice to see how it works in English.


Lem's Solaris is absolutely superb. You've probably already read it but if you haven't then you're missing out.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9725
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:34 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Failsafeman, yeah, it's quite unfortunate that so few have read Vance in general!! Sounds like you found yourself "Tales of the DYing Earth"? Ah, those books are so marvelously written, even "Rhialto the Marvelous" (hah!), where it seems as though Vance was in a particularly bitter and surly mood .. the descriptions of magics and the petty squabbles of the wizards is so entertaining, and i'd have loved to learn more about the Sandestins, but Vance always leaves us with plenty of enigmas, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Yea, Vance is simply a superb author. I've read quite a bit of his stuff so far, and all of it I've loved. With his books I always feel the unique need, upon finishing them, to immediately go back and read my favorite parts over again. Well, except for The Book of Dreams, as the ending was rather emotional and depressing. That part where all the Paladins begin to leave Howard Alan Treesong was tragic. Abandoned by his own split personalities! Next I think I'm going to read the Lyonesse series, which is supposed to be right up there with the Demon Princes and the Dying Earth.

Abominatrix wrote:
I didn't realize that those M. John Harrison books were also depictions of a dying earth culture. I'll really have to get my hands on them. I read one of his books last year, "Light", and it was quite excellent .. but I have a feeling he has better.


In terms of culture and setting, the Viriconium books are the best I've yet read in the "Dying Earth" subgenre (overall, not necessarily better than Vance's, but good in a different way). They create an atmosphere that is just so starkly oppressing, depressing, and filled with decay. I don't want to give away too much information; you really need to read it. I haven't read anything else by him yet, but everyone who has says that the Viriconium series is his masterwork.

I'm also interested in William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land, which having been published in 1910 was apparently the first in the whole "Dying Earth" subgenre. It's set in a world where the sun has died, and the Earth is plunged into eternal night, barely hanging on with the remaining warmth from the core...also, all sorts of cosmic evil entities have taken this opportunity to make Earth their home, and some guy from the last bastion of humanity has to go out in search of a possible second human refuge. It sounds pretty damn awesome. I've read some excerpts, and it sounds very Weird Tales-ish, but in novel form; and it predates Lovecraft, even! There's some really corny Victorian romance thrown in, but according to the site that recommended it, it wasn't enough to significantly detract from the overall novel. It's a shame that Hodgson died in WWI, otherwise he might have written a lot more.
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DeathForBlitzkrieg
A Dead Man's Robe

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:23 pm
Posts: 2136
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:31 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
DeathForBlitzkrieg wrote:
Yes, we really need a lively discussion about books, not just, like the past 'reading thread', people posting the author and title of book and that's it.

I'm one of those readers, who can't just read one book at a time. Next to my bed I've piled up maybe half a dozen books I'm about half-through. Is anyone else doing this, too? I don't really know where that habit comes from, it's just sometimes I'm in the mood for reading except continuing with the one I was reading the day before. So I grab a new book and the story repeats itself. After a while I get totally confused and force myself to discard one or two or simply finish a few.

Oh yes, all the time! I find though that when I do this I read a lot of short stories and maybe some non-fiction work. Novels tend to capture my full attention for a longer period of time, and if I haven't been engrossed within a certain number of pages or I can tell right away that the style is simply not appealing (and I hold style in very high regard I guess) I simply give up and consider the effort to not be worthwhile.


Hmm, I sometimes force myself not to give up on a book too soon if I'm disappointed by the first couple of chapters, because it may emerge as a real gem after a while. I've dealt with Thomas Harris' Hannibal stuff like that, for instance. I expecially disliked the beginning of Red Dragon, but after like fifty pages I started to enjoy it muchly.

Quote:
Quote:
Well, here's my current list:

Pascal Mercier - Der Klavierstimmer (The Piano Tuner)

The inside jacket text suggest a crime story, but it really isn't. Pascal Mercier aka Peter Brieri is a Swiss philosophy professor and an amazing author. It's a very suspenseful read, he writes powerfully eloquent in with a fascinating sense for details, but the most impressing thing is his ability to meticulously describe emotional conditions and moods without losing momentum. It hasn't been translated to English yet, as far as I know, but that's a shame.


Sounds fascinating. I think it is pretty sad that most of us anglophones only read books written in English. We miss out on a great many things and chances are if you name even a really well-regarded Latin American author who's not Marquez, for example, or a German one who's not, I don't know, Kafka even, nobody you ask other than real literature buffs will have even heard of him.


That's interesting, but to be honest I'm also pretty much ignorant of most stuff that's not written in German or English. Of course, there's Paulo Coehlo, Fjodor Dostoevsky, Henning Mankell and I've also read a crime story by a Norwegian author (Anne Holt, I believe) and even by an Icelandic one. (*searches for it* Ah, his name is Arnaldur Indriðason.) I guess an author has to be very successful in his own country before his books have a chance of getting translated into English and you US-Americans 'export' a lot of books to Europe, but 'import' European (or Latin American) books to a much lesser extent.
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Young_Metalhead
Saanut kerran. Todistetusti.

Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:17 pm
Posts: 1525
Location: México, DF
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:40 pm 
 

Finally! I had no idea this thread existed. Let me tell you I ain't exactly a great reader but I try to read as often as possible.
Last book I read was something by Jose Sramago (I don't know how to tranlslate the title to english so here it ti: El Evangelio Segun Jesucristo). This is kind of a novel with the "true story" behind church, and its a great vision of how things could've been on those days.
Hell you're all right this shouldn't be just about what you're reading but turn it into something more "intelligent" and help this thread grows.

As the first post said metal could be a hell of a literate subculture.

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LordOfTerror
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 7:33 pm
Posts: 280
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:06 pm 
 

Currently reading Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness. I've never read anything by him before, but I love Apocalypse Now, so I decided it's about time I read it. Not too far in yet, but so far it's great.

Next up for me is probably going to be Umberto Eco-The Name of the Rose. Never read anything by him, but this thread has inspired me to finally read some. Am I correct in thinking that this is a good one to start with?

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10261
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:39 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Well, I don't entirely mean to sound like a pompous artistic snob here, but it kind of disheartens me to note the proliferation of the video games thread, the SImpsons quote thread, etc, and yet find that whenever someone starts a thread like this one it quickly gets pushed off the first page.


Like the poor sci-fi/fantasy literature thread...we're the only Vance fans here. :( But that won't happen to this thread, no no!

Abominatrix wrote:
I just finished the short novel "Roadside Picnic", by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, probably Russia's most known science fiction writers, and they always worked as a team. I think their writing is marvelous but wonder sometimes about the quality of the english translations. This book was the inspiration for Andrei Tarkovsky's film "Stalker", one of the few great science fiction movies ever to be made. It's about aliens making a very brief (six seconds!) stopover or visitation at six locations on earth simultaneously and leaving behind them huge amounts of what seems to be garbage and detritus. The title comes from a theory one of the characters has about the visitations .. that the aliens were traveling along a sort of cosmic roadway and decided to stop for a proverbial picnic, and simply didn't bother to clean up after themselves. The result leaves the areas extremely dangerous, subject to freak and very localised weather phenomena, gravitational anomalies, mutational effects and pools of corrosive toxic sludge.. and there have also been many artifacts left behind that science is trying desperately to crack, while all the time the "stalkers" are traveling into the contaminated zones and retreiving items they think might be of value and selling them to the highest bidder. The novel is written in a weird style that kind of resembles American hard-boiled detective novels of the 1930s .. the characters have names like Buzzard Burbridge and use strange euphemisms for beating the crap out of someone. This is doubly amusing because the book is supposed to take place in Canada. It's very good though, and like all of the other Strugatsky work I've read, there are a lot of metaphysical implications and currents working beneath the surface. I appreciate writers that don't spell everything out for their audience and leave us with many things to ponder, and the Strugatskies always do this, and they only prod you very gently in the direction they might conceivably want your ponderings to go. I also highly recommend their book "The Final CIrcle of Paradise". These books were written in Russia in the 1970s but their future settings seemed to let the brothers get away with stuff that might have been considered decadent and undesireable in the Soviet clime. The ending is very perplexing and I'm sure that's the way it was intended. It's a bit more subtle than the total anomie of the "Stalker" movie.


Hot fucking damn...I loved Stalker (easily one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, right up there with Blade Runner and Brazil), but I didn't know it was based on a book! (or short novel, whatever.) I'll have to check those brothers out, they sound interesting, and I've never heard of them.

Abominatrix wrote:
Can't say I'm really a Hemingway fan. Most people seem to think that you're either going to love Hemingway or just not get him, and I guess the style just fails to capture me .. you're right that it's clear and concise, and in principle that isn't a bad thing,, but I like my writers to be a bit more .. purple? Hahah .. all the same, I've only ever read short works from Hemingway, so I may yet give one of the novels, like "A Farewell to Arms", a try.


Oh shit! Read For Whom the Bell Tolls, in my opinion his best. Just amazing, captures the violence of war (even though it's only a very small part, geographically and chronologically) very realistically and viscerally, more so because it's not embellished. Some of Hemingway's stuff is a little dull (The Sun Also Rises, though interesting in concept, was just rather bland after reading his others), but For Whom the Bell Tolls is a fantastic novel. A Farewell to Arms is good too, but I can't say as much about that one since I last read it about 5 or so years ago...may be about time for a re-read.

DeathForBlitzkrieg wrote:
Franz Kafka - In der Strafkolonie (In The Penal Colony), Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis)

All latter three for school, but I wanted to read some Kafka anyway.


I've read Die Verwandlung, but not In der Strafkolonie...maybe I should. Das Urteil (The Trial, for you non-German-speakers) has got to be my favorite Kafka work, though; the relationships between the characters, the father & son in particular, are just amazing. The scene/symbolized struggle in the father's bedroom is great, my favorite in the book. And of course, like all Kafka, there's more symbolism than you can shake a stick at. :)

Abominatrix wrote:
I love Kafka. I always feel like shit after reading his writing! I'm mostly familiar with the short stories, but "The Trial" was a very engrossing, if incomplete, novel.


Oh, it's complete, you just have to appreciate it on a symbolic level. My German lit professor (himself a native German, visiting from Augsburg) was really great at helping me to understand it (i.e. he didn't just tell me what was going on, he helped me to reach my own conclusions). You just have to ask certain questions about certain strange events in the story, for it to become clear...who IS "the friend"? What exactly is he doing, if his business is failing and he doesn't have a social life? The way I understand it, the "son" and his "friend" are actually two sides to the same person; namely, the social, businessman side, and the artistic, reclusive side (Kafka once said something to the effect that artists ought to be reclusive, removed from social lives and business lives, so that they could study their inner selves). The former has "exiled" the latter in favor of himself, which is why he's been so successful in his social life and business; when the father "sentences him to death", it is in favor of the artistic side of his son, and the "jumping into the river" is just a metaphor or symbol. If you think about it that way, it makes a lot of other weird things make sense...for example, why the father (after their metaphorical/symbolic power struggle in the bedroom) says that he has been in contact with the friend the whole time (it's just another side of his son), and why no one seems to care when the son jumps into the river "the traffic continues over the bridge" or something like that is the final line, which implies no one stopped to watch him kill himself, which in turn implies that there wasn't really anyone killing themselves...anyway, I could go on about this, but my analysis is a year old and I don't have the original text or my original paper on it sitting in front of me, so I'll leave it at that. I'm not saying that's the One True Interpretation or anything, but that's why I got out of it. One thing I love about Kafka, as I mentioned before, is the fact that the symbolism is genuinely deep enough to be analyzed to this extent, without ever straying into silly deconstruction.


That's brilliant; I never thought about it in this light, but it makes a sort of sense. However, aren't you talking about the short story "The Judgement"? I saw this earlier and didn't comment because I had to go home and look it up in my "Complete Short Stories of Kafka". Did he re-use this idea for the nnovel "The Trial"? If so, I'd better re-read that, since I just read "The Judgement" last year and the questions I had kept me returning to it .. I must have read it three times over. And yes, I definitely got the sense that there was something "fishy" about the way the son kept talking about his friend, and the father seemed to know this individual as though he were his own flesh, too. So many layers. Argh, now I awnt to read Kafka again.

I only got through the first Amber book. I may yet try the series again, but I've discovered that I have to be careful with Zelazny as his self-conciousness, which you point out and which I think gets in the way of me fully enjoying his work, often gets in the way of my immersion in his tales. Does he ever take himself seriously?

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NeglectedField
Onwards to Camulodunum!

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:19 am
Posts: 1390
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:53 am 
 

Currently:
Keith Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge

Just recieved today:
Matthias Gardell, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism

Kinda stopped reading cos I got overloaded with other books to read for academic reasons:
Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10261
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:55 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Failsafeman, yeah, it's quite unfortunate that so few have read Vance in general!! Sounds like you found yourself "Tales of the DYing Earth"? Ah, those books are so marvelously written, even "Rhialto the Marvelous" (hah!), where it seems as though Vance was in a particularly bitter and surly mood .. the descriptions of magics and the petty squabbles of the wizards is so entertaining, and i'd have loved to learn more about the Sandestins, but Vance always leaves us with plenty of enigmas, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Yea, Vance is simply a superb author. I've read quite a bit of his stuff so far, and all of it I've loved. With his books I always feel the unique need, upon finishing them, to immediately go back and read my favorite parts over again. Well, except for The Book of Dreams, as the ending was rather emotional and depressing. That part where all the Paladins begin to leave Howard Alan Treesong was tragic. Abandoned by his own split personalities!

Yes, that was a brutal ending! And then, the girl asks Gersen, "what happens now?" and he says, "Nothing. It's finished." And that's it .. the quest, the mammoth undertaking, si done and there's this overwhelming sense of bleakness ... as though with a huge burden being lifted from Gersen there's no purpose and little hope of any meaningful future. Of course Vance never wastes time on drawing out endings and it's something I appreciate him for .. it's quite possible that Gersen gave all his money to the IPCC (hahahaha) and went off to start a farmer's life with Alice and Navarth the mad poet! :P

Quote:
Next I think I'm going to read the Lyonesse series, which is supposed to be right up there with the Demon Princes and the Dying Earth.

I have still only read the first voluem of Lyonesse. It's definitely Vance, but it feels as though he has toned down his usual flamboyance a bit for this series. It's probably what I would recommend to a "normal" person who loves "high fantasy" if they wanted to start enjoying Vance. I can't say too much about it until I crack the rest of the trilogy, though.

The last Vance I read was his "Planet of Adventure" saga. It's another multi-volume (though these are pretty saga, this time about a space explorer from Earth landing on an alien world in a pod after his ship and crew are destroyed by an unknown force and exploring all the societies and cultures of this strange planet, all the while trying to figure out a way to get home. It's funny how a Vancian planet is often a lot like a bizarre, foreign country ... there's a lot of culture shock but his protagonists manage to adapt, and in the end even though there are four alien races on this planet vying for control, all of whom appear to have enslaved men to a certain degree, its' the <i>men</i> of the planet that are the interesting characters; the aliens are more of a background, which we only get hints about.. There were some really choice passages in these books though, and some brilliant dialogue.

I've got "The Night Land" and will probably read it soon. The faux-seventeenth century writing style does put me off a little bit. I absolutely love Hodgson's "House on the Borderland" and, unlike Terry Pratchet, who wrote an essay about Hodgson's novel in this book of horror commentary I have, I feel that the slight romantic elements were very necessary to the power of the story and not at all unsubtle or overdone. Maybe that isn't the case with "The Night Land". But yeah, it annoyed me how Pratchet only really seemed to grasp what was on the surface of "House on the Borderland", without really bothering with the deeper metaphysical/theological implications that are suggested by the book. The borderland is clearly not only connected with a distant dimension in space and time but with the afterlife and our conceptions of heaven and hell. The spontaneous cosmic journey to the end of time in the second half of the book is one of the most disturbing and brilliantly strange things I've ever read.

I'd have loved to see more stuff of this weird nature from Hodgson. Some of the sea tales are a bit more standard but he always seems to inject a moribund sense of decay and wrongness, maybe stemming from the fact that though he sailed the seas and proved himself by becoming a hale and hearty sailor, he never really felt at home on the ocean, or so I've read.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10261
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:21 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Nahsil wrote:
I'm multi-booking right now with:

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
The Essential Conan by REH
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Plato's Republic

after those I'm gonna read:

G.K. Chesterton - The Everlasting Man
Descartes - First Meditations on Philosophy

Oh, and I just finished Fahrenheit 451. Loved it, but the ending wasn't very satisfying.

I borrowed a copy of Divine Comedy from my highschool library years ago and never got around to returning it. :)


How was that Russel Hoban book? I've been considering checking out a couple of his titles. One was recommended to me very highly but .. sadly, that's one I can't seem to find at the moment. I'll have to see if I can find the title as I've forgotten what it was now .. not the one you were reading, however.

Does "THe essential Conan" include all the completed Conan tales, or is it a selection of "highlights"?

For some reason Bradbury has never totally clicked with me. I like some of his stories well enough but I've never really had the urge to re-visit them and many of his "classics" I've simply never read. I did read Farrenheit though; the ending did underwhelm me too, but I read "1984" at around the same time initially, and that could be part of the reason .. I was unconciously prone to compare the two novels. Bradbury's book is really much more of a personal story and there's not a lot of detail about the societyy these people aliv in.

What do you think of "The Man Who Was Thursday"? SO far, it's the only Chesterton novel I've read (I've read one or two of his plays as well). I loved the book, though the ending didn't really satisfy me .. that's probably because I don't really share Chesterton's worldview .. still, the subtitle "A Nightmare" was very appropriate and I raced along on the atmosphere and sense of mystery and magic crackling beneath the surface.


Riddley Walker is extremely unique, but I haven't gotten far enough to say much more than that. It's written in Hoban's primitive version of English with slang and misspellings to reflect the crude post-apocalyptic atmosphere, so it's kind of dense at times. I'm a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, and it comes highly recommended, so I'll get my way through it eventually.

Speaking of post-apocalyptic stuff, A Canticle for Leibowitz is absolutely amazing. The scope is huge, spans thousands of years, and it's a beautiful novel, full of Latin, and it touches on just about everything, from religion and ethics to politics, science, war, human knowledge, etc. And it has a sense of humor to boot! It's too big to cover in a paragraph:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_For_Leibowitz

The Essential Conan includes: The Hour of the Dragon, The People of the Black Circle, Red Nails, The Devil in Iron, A Witch Shall Be Born, Jewels of Gwahlur, Beyond the Black River, Shadows in Zamboula, and The Hyborian Age.

Those first three are the main stories and are novella-ish. I've only read the first one.

The only other Chesterton book I've read is Orthodoxy. The Man Who Was Thursday is fiction, isn't it? With blatant religious undertones, of course.

As for Bradbury, Fahrenheit is the first I've read from him. I've heard that his Mars chronicles are pretty good. Sadly, I still haven't read 1984. I want to badly, but I just haven't gotten around to it.


You know, I've been thinking of giving "A Canticle for Leibowitz" another go. I didn't care for it when I first read it in 99 or so (god damn, so long ago) and only made it part-way through the second section. It bored me at the time and there was a lot of catholic-talk that kind of put me off (yes, I know how lame that sounds). Perhaps I was expecting a different sort of novel and wasn't quite prepared for what I got.

Speaking of catholicism, yeah, "The man Who was Thursday"" is a novel, and the christian overtones come pretty heavy toward the end of the book especially. I still think it's great, though. Very weird and nightmarish.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9725
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:46 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Yes, that was a brutal ending! And then, the girl asks Gersen, "what happens now?" and he says, "Nothing. It's finished." And that's it .. the quest, the mammoth undertaking, si done and there's this overwhelming sense of bleakness ... as though with a huge burden being lifted from Gersen there's no purpose and little hope of any meaningful future. Of course Vance never wastes time on drawing out endings and it's something I appreciate him for .. it's quite possible that Gersen gave all his money to the IPCC (hahahaha) and went off to start a farmer's life with Alice and Navarth the mad poet! :P


Any ending would either involve Gersen totally changing himself, or not being able to, and working for the IPCC going after more villains or something. That or perhaps going nuts and becoming obsessed with dispensing vigilante justice everywhere. Certainly an interesting question: what could he do, after having devoted his entire adult life to bringing the Demon Princes to justice? Could he go back to a normal life? Of course Gersen himself asked this question a number of times during the series. In my opinion, he'd probably try to, but fail; after a life of such excitement (and meaning), simple pleasures would pale quickly.

Abominatrix wrote:
I have still only read the first voluem of Lyonesse. It's definitely Vance, but it feels as though he has toned down his usual flamboyance a bit for this series. It's probably what I would recommend to a "normal" person who loves "high fantasy" if they wanted to start enjoying Vance. I can't say too much about it until I crack the rest of the trilogy, though.


In most Vance novels, the plot is essentially only of secondary concern to the style, characters, settings, and dialog; I've read that in the Lyonesse series, he actually made the plot much more important than he usually does, and was successful (at least I think that comment was in reference to the Lyonesse series, he's got such a giant body of work it's easy to get confused).

Abominatrix wrote:
The last Vance I read was his "Planet of Adventure" saga. It's another multi-volume (though these are pretty saga, this time about a space explorer from Earth landing on an alien world in a pod after his ship and crew are destroyed by an unknown force and exploring all the societies and cultures of this strange planet, all the while trying to figure out a way to get home. It's funny how a Vancian planet is often a lot like a bizarre, foreign country ... there's a lot of culture shock but his protagonists manage to adapt, and in the end even though there are four alien races on this planet vying for control, all of whom appear to have enslaved men to a certain degree, its' the <i>men</i> of the planet that are the interesting characters; the aliens are more of a background, which we only get hints about.. There were some really choice passages in these books though, and some brilliant dialogue.


I would've read the Planet of Adventure series last year, when I started the Demon Princes, but my campus library has the incredibly infuriating tendency to have incomplete series. For example, it had a wonderful old hardcover copy of the final Planet of Adventure book, with illustrations, maps, beautiful binding, etc., but none of the other ones. Also, they had similar copies of the Demon Princes series, but only the first, third, and last books; I had to read the first one and then sit on my thumbs until I could order the recent re-prints (of BOTH volumes, no less, because of the missing books). I'm guessing they got the copies of all of them decades ago, and maybe they were stolen or simply ruined and gotten rid of...anyway, they were never replaced. Still, it's pretty cool that my library has a decent collection of Vance. They also had most Gene Wolfe's output, quite a bit of Zelazny, and I started The Worm Ouroboros there too, but unfortunately had to come home for the summer before I could finish it. Still haven't picked it up again, but I will eventually (we've discussed this before, and though I really, really liked some things about it, other things just infuriated me).

Abominatrix wrote:
I've got "The Night Land" and will probably read it soon. The faux-seventeenth century writing style does put me off a little bit.


I don't have a copy on hand, but supposedly that's only for the first chapter, haha. He sets a frame narrative, just like in The Worm Ouroboros, and the protagonist from England dreams about the far future. The frame isn't mentioned again after the initial setup.

Abominatrix wrote:
I absolutely love Hodgson's "House on the Borderland" and, unlike Terry Pratchet, who wrote an essay about Hodgson's novel in this book of horror commentary I have, I feel that the slight romantic elements were very necessary to the power of the story and not at all unsubtle or overdone. Maybe that isn't the case with "The Night Land". But yeah, it annoyed me how Pratchet only really seemed to grasp what was on the surface of "House on the Borderland", without really bothering with the deeper metaphysical/theological implications that are suggested by the book. The borderland is clearly not only connected with a distant dimension in space and time but with the afterlife and our conceptions of heaven and hell. The spontaneous cosmic journey to the end of time in the second half of the book is one of the most disturbing and brilliantly strange things I've ever read.


Ha, I like the Terry Pratchet I've read, but frankly I don't think he'd be the kind of person who'd "get" such things. That sort of thing reminds me of Lovecraft; people either "get" him right off the bat, or they don't, and trying to explain why he's great to the latter sort of person is nearly impossible. They just see a monster story that's not really that scary, and trying to force-feed them the deeper psychological and social commentary is like trying to jam a square peg into an asshole; it's unpleasant for everyone.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:55 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
DeathForBlitzkrieg wrote:
Franz Kafka - In der Strafkolonie (In The Penal Colony), Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis)

All latter three for school, but I wanted to read some Kafka anyway.


I've read Die Verwandlung, but not In der Strafkolonie...maybe I should. Das Urteil (The Trial, for you non-German-speakers) has got to be my favorite Kafka work, though; the relationships between the characters, the father & son in particular, are just amazing. The scene/symbolized struggle in the father's bedroom is great, my favorite in the book. And of course, like all Kafka, there's more symbolism than you can shake a stick at. :)

Abominatrix wrote:
I love Kafka. I always feel like shit after reading his writing! I'm mostly familiar with the short stories, but "The Trial" was a very engrossing, if incomplete, novel.


Oh, it's complete, you just have to appreciate it on a symbolic level. My German lit professor (himself a native German, visiting from Augsburg) was really great at helping me to understand it (i.e. he didn't just tell me what was going on, he helped me to reach my own conclusions). You just have to ask certain questions about certain strange events in the story, for it to become clear...who IS "the friend"? What exactly is he doing, if his business is failing and he doesn't have a social life? The way I understand it, the "son" and his "friend" are actually two sides to the same person; namely, the social, businessman side, and the artistic, reclusive side (Kafka once said something to the effect that artists ought to be reclusive, removed from social lives and business lives, so that they could study their inner selves). The former has "exiled" the latter in favor of himself, which is why he's been so successful in his social life and business; when the father "sentences him to death", it is in favor of the artistic side of his son, and the "jumping into the river" is just a metaphor or symbol. If you think about it that way, it makes a lot of other weird things make sense...for example, why the father (after their metaphorical/symbolic power struggle in the bedroom) says that he has been in contact with the friend the whole time (it's just another side of his son), and why no one seems to care when the son jumps into the river "the traffic continues over the bridge" or something like that is the final line, which implies no one stopped to watch him kill himself, which in turn implies that there wasn't really anyone killing themselves...anyway, I could go on about this, but my analysis is a year old and I don't have the original text or my original paper on it sitting in front of me, so I'll leave it at that. I'm not saying that's the One True Interpretation or anything, but that's why I got out of it. One thing I love about Kafka, as I mentioned before, is the fact that the symbolism is genuinely deep enough to be analyzed to this extent, without ever straying into silly deconstruction.


That's brilliant; I never thought about it in this light, but it makes a sort of sense. However, aren't you talking about the short story "The Judgement"? I saw this earlier and didn't comment because I had to go home and look it up in my "Complete Short Stories of Kafka". Did he re-use this idea for the nnovel "The Trial"? If so, I'd better re-read that, since I just read "The Judgement" last year and the questions I had kept me returning to it .. I must have read it three times over. And yes, I definitely got the sense that there was something "fishy" about the way the son kept talking about his friend, and the father seemed to know this individual as though he were his own flesh, too. So many layers. Argh, now I awnt to read Kafka again.

I only got through the first Amber book. I may yet try the series again, but I've discovered that I have to be careful with Zelazny as his self-conciousness, which you point out and which I think gets in the way of me fully enjoying his work, often gets in the way of my immersion in his tales. Does he ever take himself seriously?


Oh, fuck me in the ass, I got them confused again. Yea, I was talking about The Judgment/Das Urteil, rather than The Trial/Der Prozess. It's because the names are so damnably similar (a judgment is obviously what comes after a trial) that I get them mixed up all the time when discussing the translations, since I've only read them in German. It's really strange; now that I'm close to fluent in German, I get translations mixed up sometimes even though I know what the words mean individually. When you're first learning a language, you always think of it in terms of your native one; but once you get good, you start to have separate, unrelated "entries" in your brain's encyclopedia for the different languages, and sometimes they don't interact well...yea, I pretty much just feel dumb now, haha. I even remember thinking "man, Das Urteil doesn't mean The Trial, I wonder why it was translated that way."
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Byrgan
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:36 pm 
 

Just got done reading King's Christine. Like with the The Shining, it had some minor and major alternating sections compared to the movie release. Like where the movie had the car that was killing people more ambiguous of who it was. The book flat out told you who it was. The book was almost told entirely in first person as well. Overall, it had some entertaining moments.

Has anyone else shopped online for used books? I just got a bunch of horror related novels in the mail the other day from Ebay. Legion, The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, The House Next Door, The Godsend, The Sentinel, The Hungry Moon and The Parasite. Some have original dates and were $1 something a piece with shipping included.

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Zdan
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:49 pm 
 

I am re-reading my Conan books and I have to come to a conclusion that Howard was a much better writer than it is generally conceived. His character constructions are fairly obvious (Leiber was much better than him in this) but the construction of the stories and their pacing is spectacular. Really good stuff - but I admit that his absolute top in atmospheric, grim and dark writing was Solomon Kane. That character just has the design and aura that screams "Cool!".

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:52 pm 
 

Byrgan wrote:
Just got done reading King's Christine. Like with the The Shining, it had some minor and major alternating sections compared to the movie release. Like where the movie had the car that was killing people more ambiguous of who it was. The book flat out told you who it was. The book was almost told entirely in first person as well. Overall, it had some entertaining moments.

Haha, Christine is an awesomely fun read.

Just finished Palahniuk's Lullaby, and I loved it.
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Byrgan
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:19 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Byrgan wrote:
Just got done reading King's Christine. Like with the The Shining, it had some minor and major alternating sections compared to the movie release. Like where the movie had the car that was killing people more ambiguous of who it was. The book flat out told you who it was. The book was almost told entirely in first person as well. Overall, it had some entertaining moments.

Haha, Christine is an awesomely fun read.


It was the first time I read it. He seems to have a crude narrative to guide you along the read. For instance, him using "shit" references throughout the book, which was hilarious at times.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:25 pm 
 

He doesn't really do that in all of his books, I suppose it was just based on how the book was about a bunch of high school kids. I haven't read it in years though, makes me want to go back to it.
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UnserHeiligeTod
Lagompräst

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:25 pm 
 

Byrgan wrote:
It was the first time I read it. He seems to have a crude narrative to guide you along the read. For instance, him using "shit" references throughout the book, which was hilarious at times.

Isn't that a very common narrative element of King's? He's very fond of overtly vulgar language and kind of tongue-in-cheek crude imagery. Thinner, Pet Sematary, The Eyes of the Dragon and The Shining all have plenty of crude language (Thinner, in particular, being specially vulgar).

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:29 pm 
 

I don't remember Pet Sematary and The Shining being vulgar in the way that Christine was, but yeah.
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ReigningChaos
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:43 pm 
 

I think I'm starting to prefer non-fiction to fiction. After reading the Harry Potter books--which were great--I read A Separate Peace by John Knowles. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't that great either. Since then, I've begun Towing Jehovah by James Morrow, which sucks. I gave up on it after about 80 pages. It looks like I'm about to do the same thing with Wicked. I'm a hundred pages in and don't have much incentive to continue. I plan on going to the library today and seeing if they have First Blood.

Meanwhile, I've enjoyed the last two non-fiction books I read very much: Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman, and The Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen. The former was excellent both in its writing and in its content. Ehrman essentially crushes any claim that fundamentalists make regarding the literalism of scripture, because it's been changed so many times that even if the originals were divinely inspired...no one knows what they said! Keen is also a great writer, and although he didn't change my mind, he does an excellent job pointing out the flaws of Web 2.0. Everything has a dark side.

I'm currently reading The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong, which is great thus far. I'm less than 30 pages into it, and I've already learned a lot and gained a ton of insight from her research.
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EzraWeeden
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:48 pm 
 

I'm re-reading the Case of Charles Dexter Ward right now (anyone recognize my username?). I had to read the Pearl and Of Mice and Men for school. I loved Of Mice and Men, but the Pearl didn't quite catch my interest.

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ReigningChaos
Metal newbie

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:07 pm 
 

ReigningChaos wrote:
I plan on going to the library today and seeing if they have First Blood.


They didn't have it, so I got the latest Chuck Palahniuk book instead.
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Peregrin
Cricket Bat of Longinus

Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 3:09 am
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:16 pm 
 

Mors_Gloria wrote:
While I'm sure that most of you will disagree I find the concept of Metaxiosis in Nietzsche's works pretty similar to the ideology of Anarchism, in which the old ideals are overturned for the creation of new ones.


What he said about Anarchism wasn't exactly kind, though, I remember him calling Anarchists little better than religious puritans and of the same overall mindset.
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Scourge441
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:02 pm 
 

I just finished Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman, and I thought it was great. For those who haven't heard of it, it's about an assignment he had with Spin where he went around the United States going to places where rock stars died, and it deals with the experiences he has along the way and how it relates to him as a person. There's one segment where he compares each of his past girlfriends to the members of Kiss.

I was reading I Am America (And So Can You!), but stopped when I started reading Killing Yourself. I should probably finish it.

On another note, I got The Worm Ouroboros for Christmas, and have yet to read it. I'm wondering what the fantasy readers here think of it.

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ucayali
Metal newbie

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Location: Romania
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:57 pm 
 

The story with "Stalker" and "Roadside Picnic" goes like this: Tarkovskii red the novel and liked it and wanted to do a movie based on it, so he asked the Strugatskii brothers to write a script. They wrote it... and he didn't like it, more exactly he wanted a lot of things changed. So they re-wrote it, and he (again) wanted a lot of things changed.
The 17th version of the script is the one that was used for the movie.

Now, of course there is SO much more in the book, more than just adventure and brilliant dialogue and realistic fantastic writing... the ending left me crying. I guess one message that is found in all the books written by Strugatskii brothers is "find out for yourself, wonder, scratch the surface of things, don't let your mind rot, nobody's going to solve matters for you, either ethical, moral or spiritual matters, or ANY matters, don't be afraid to suffer".

In my opinion there are about 2-3 percent REAL sci-fi books. Lem and Strugatsky's... these are the first authors that come to mind. By a REAL sci-fi book I mean not one that simply translates an ordinary subject/intrigue in outer space (Dune, for example). I mean something really DIFFERENT... anybody knows what I mean?

Lem's "Solaris", for instance, is a superb example of "DIFFERENT". But you have to have a special spiritual structure to like these works.

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PriestofSadWings
Bishop of Dark Spaces

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:29 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:05 pm 
 

The book that I read most recently for pleasure was Asimov's The Gods Themselves. I liked it, but I had some problems with the way he discards characters. You spend most of the first part of the book focused on a guy named Fremont, and after the first part is over, he never appears again, except for other characters talking about him. The science was interesting, and the plot was great, though.
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Zythifer
RP's left nut tastes like breastmilk

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:28 am
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:24 pm 
 

I'm about 40 pages into Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. I'm rather indifferent at this point, but it's getting increasingly absorbing.

I also picked up and stumbled around in Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski. Now I loved House of Leaves, but this...I can't decide if it's ingenious or complete crap.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:45 pm 
 

Scourge441 wrote:
On another note, I got The Worm Ouroboros for Christmas, and have yet to read it. I'm wondering what the fantasy readers here think of it.


It had some very, very excellent parts, but some other extremely frustrating parts. The writing itself is definitely excellent, but (as I've mentioned before) the characterization of the villains is five thousand times better than that of the heroes. In any case, it's well worth your time.
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woeoftyrants
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:45 pm 
 

Well, right now I'm in the process of reading a compilation of R.W. Emerson's works named The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I love it; I originally started reading Emerson in my junior year of high school and immediately fell in love, and just recently got around to reading more of his material in-depth.

After I finish this one, I'll probably read Nietzsche's The Gay Science, and then I'll be reading Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.

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Johnie_Duper
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:37 pm 
 

I'm currently reading Ramayana (and Mahabharata is on schedule). Halfway there. Quite a fantastic tale; I think I prefer it to western epics (Homer, Virgil, etc.). But, as often is the case with Hindu tales & stuff, it's a bit too "colourful" in certain aspects.

What really bugs me, though, is that I couldn't find a fully translated version from all those big western publishers, so had to wait for 3 months for my dad's friend to send it from India to here. Is it me who's the noob in searching for stuff; or is it the publishers who are lacking the enthusiasm for eastern literature? :???:

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seirizziim
Mallcore Kid

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:08 am 
 

I'm currently reading Moby-Dick and have mixed thoughts on it. I enjoy Melville's meandering style and the plot is interesting, but the religious aspect really bothers me on occasion. I just finished the 83rd chapter, 'Jonah Historically Regarded', which was beyond ludicrous. I've still got a third of the book to go and I've been really enjoying it overall, so I'll reserve judgement until the end.

Before Moby-Dick I read Gogol's Dead Souls (the David Magarshack translation) which I absolutely loved. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book so much in my life. It frequently had me laughing out loud, but I'm not sure how much of the humour is inherent in the novel and how much is a result of the impossibility of perfectly translating Russian idiom into English. It was definitely a better translation than the one available on the Project Gutenberg website, which is practically unreadable. Anyway, Dead Souls came at the end of a Russian lit binge for me--Gorky, Bulgakov etc., and also Conrad's Under Western Eyes which half fits the bill and is excellent. After I finish Moby-Dick I'll probably start on The Idiot.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:15 am 
 

Got the following today:

Charles Dickinson's Oliver Twist
Dostoevsky's The Gambler/Notes from the Underground
Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club
Carl Hiaasen's Skin Tight
Carl Hiaasen's Native Tongue
Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns
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ReigningChaos
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:20 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Notes from the Underground


What an AMAZING novel. The following passage from it is one of my favorites in all of literature:

"The impossible means the stone wall! What stone wall? Why, of course, the lwas of nature, the deductions of natural science, mathematics. As soon as they prove to you, for instance, that you are descended from a monkey, then it is no use scowling, accept it for a fact. When they prove to you that in reality one drop of your own fat must be dearer to you than a hundred thousand of your fellow-creatures, and that this conclusion is the final solution of all so-called virtues and duties and all such prejudices and fancies, then you have just to accept it, there is no help for it, for twice two is a law of mathematics. Just try refuting it.
"Upon my word," they will shout at you, "it is no use protesting: it is a case of twice two makes four! Nature does not ask your permission, she has nothing to do with your wishes, and whether you like her laws or dislike them, you are bound to acc ept her as she is, and consequently all her conclusions. A wall, you see, is a wall . . . and so on, and so on."
Merciful Heavens! but what do I care for the laws of nature and arithmetic, when, for some reason, I dislike those laws and the fact that twice two makes four? Of course I cannot break through the wall by battering my head aginst it if I really have not the strength to knock it down, but I am not going to be reconciled to it simply, because it is a stone wall and I have not the strength."

-Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky; Notes from Underground


:bow::bow::bow::bow::bow:
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:37 am 
 

Haha, I like it already.
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:56 pm 
 

PriestofSadWings wrote:
The book that I read most recently for pleasure was Asimov's The Gods Themselves. I liked it, but I had some problems with the way he discards characters. You spend most of the first part of the book focused on a guy named Fremont, and after the first part is over, he never appears again, except for other characters talking about him. The science was interesting, and the plot was great, though.


Let's keep this damn thread on the first page!

This book was probably written as a serial/episodic work like a lot of Asimov's other stuff. In effect, what you see is three interconnected stories. A lot of people love this one but I dont' remember it too well ... mostly what sticks in my mind is the second part, which is the only piece of the puzzle written from the point of view of the alien culture.

It's been so long since I read an Asimov novel. I think nowadays I would rather go for some of his short stories, which really are exemplary most of the time.

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Thorgrim_Honkronte
Imperius Rexxz

Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:40 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:58 pm 
 

"The Last Question" by Asmiov is my favorite of his. Check it out.
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:21 pm 
 

Thorgrim_Honkronte wrote:
"The Last Question" by Asmiov is my favorite of his. Check it out.


Is that the one with Multivac spanning over millions of years, or the one where the physicist dies and meets god and is forced to think up a way to kill him? I always get the two confused, probably because the titles are so similar. They're both great!

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Thorgrim_Honkronte
Imperius Rexxz

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:28 pm 
 

The former.
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Lokar
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:12 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:17 pm 
 

Holy shit, I've been buying too many books lately. Fortunately I got them all used and for less than €5 apiece. This is what I've gotten just within the past week:

Hermann Hesse - Siddartha
Hermann Hesse - Demian
Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf
Henry David Thoreau - Walden; or, Life in the Woods
George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Irvine Welsh - Trainspotting
William James - The Varieties of Religious Experience
William Faulkner - Light in August

I had already previously read two of the Hesses, as well as the Thoreau, Orwell, and Burgess (especially Orwell and Burgess, those two are absolute classics), but when I finally found 'em for cheap, I reckoned it's good to have a private copy sitting in the shelf for consecutive re-reading.

Right now I'm working my way through Trainspotting. Getting used to the phoetic version of Scottish dialect the book is written in was a bit of trouble at first, but now I'm about 150 pages in and hardly notice it anymore.
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