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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:37 am 
 

As for Conan - just buy the 3 books that are out now - The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown Of Conan and The Conquering Sword Of Conan. I think those feature all of the Conan stories Howard ever wrote.

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BloodyPollyanna
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:34 am
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:26 am 
 

Ooh, book thread! Man, I keep losing interest in this board then checking back and missing the start of good threads!

I actually expected more people to be reading uber nerdy sci-fi ;) I'm reading Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy at the moment, a rather HUGE fucking BRICK of a book, which I'd been working myself up to embarking on for years.

Today I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, though - one of those books without chapters that keeps you turning pages without being particularly.. good.. I don't know. This is the man (I assume Cormac is male) who wrote No Country For Good Men which I loved as a movie- don't know that I'm going to read it anymore, though. Something about his writing style really irked me, probably because I've been reading this marathon India-based novels for a while now.

Anyway, yay books!

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BM_DM
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:07 am 
 

JabukJanezBanana wrote:
I'm currently reading Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot. Pretty cool stuff, based on some 50 pages I've already read. :)

Will add more when I read it.

Great choice, and my personal favourite, but Dostoevsky's entire oeuvre is worthy of your time.
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woeoftyrants
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:08 pm
Posts: 148
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:38 am 
 

Has anyone in this thread ever read Gravity's Rainbow or Going Native? I can't remember the proper authors of either book, but they were recommended to me by a friend of mine; he said both of them were incredible books, especially Gravity's Rainbow. So, does anyone here care to enlighten me?

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nightofthelivingdead
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:37 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:31 pm 
 

fave book:american psycho
and the books of henry miller.

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AnimalBones
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:03 am
Posts: 80
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:17 pm 
 

woeoftyrants wrote:
Has anyone in this thread ever read Gravity's Rainbow or Going Native? I can't remember the proper authors of either book, but they were recommended to me by a friend of mine; he said both of them were incredible books, especially Gravity's Rainbow. So, does anyone here care to enlighten me?


I only know, Gravity's Rainbow, it's by Thomas Pynchon. I've tried to read it 4 times and given up every time, once I got almost half way through. The only other book I've tried to read and given up in despair is Hermann Brochs The Death of Virgil, it makes Joyce look like Enid Blyton.

Good luck with the Pynchon, people say it's great. A good place to start with Pynchon might be Mason and Dixon which is much more readable, maybe even Vineland or Crying of Lot 42 but Gravity's Rainbow is really going for the jugular.

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BM_DM
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:11 pm 
 

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.

Thanks for having another stab at a such a thread as this. I hope it can be kept alive.

Abominatrix wrote:
I firmly believe that metal is, or at least has the potential to be, one of the more literate subcultures around and that a metal fan who doesn't read regularly does himself a grave disservice.

Well said. An interest in esoteric music doesn't necessarily infer a similar mindset when it comes to literature, history, and philosophy, but I'd like to kid myself that there is a connection.

Abominatrix wrote:
I've got a couple of things on the go at the moment. I'm nearly done with my second reading of Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum", a mind-spinning novel about a group of academics becoming embroiled in world conspiracy theories and the total fragility of truth.

The world went Eco-mad when 'The Name of the Rose' was published. I succumbed and read it, but it left me cold. I found 'F's P' far more engaging.

Abominatrix wrote:
Peake's "Gormenghast"... it's not as bizarrely mad as Peake's masterwork.

Personally, I am a great admirer of Peake. The three grey-blue Penguin Modern Classic editions I have of the 'Gormenghast' trilogy with the original illustrations are much prized, and frequently read, by me. However, I chose 'Titus Groan' as my suggestion for a reading group I participated in a couple of years back (at work, over lunch, in the pub -- everyone should set one of these up at their place of employment), evilly assuming that most readers would be overwhelmed by the heady incense of Peake's prose and that their senses would necessarily be dazzled by the panopticon of violet-hued Machiavellian neo-Victorian baroque fantasies he constructs.

Inevitably, to a man and woman, they hated it.

Peasants.

Abominatrix wrote:
I'm also reading the collected short stories of Nicolai Gogol. I love them.

I'm with you on this, too. I did a minor in Russian literature when I did my first degree in the 1980s, and the raw modernity of Gogol's incisive satire, cut with a little surrealism and low-brow humour, seemed so fresh to me in the way that Tolstoy's studied formalism and turgid religiosity just didn't. Turgenev, Gorky, Zamyatin and Dostoevsky were other favourites.

Abominatrix wrote:
I just finished the short novel "Roadside Picnic", by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

The 'SF Masterworks' edition of this (Google for my blog) is on my slush pile, and on reading your account of it, it sounds most appealing.

Abominatrix wrote:
I don't read a lot of non-fiction nowadays.

I am the reverse at the moment, although my reading does tend to go through phases, usually for good reason. For most of the eighties, I read nineteenth century novels. For most of the nineties, I was racking up degrees in, and later teaching, early modern English literature and drama and literary/critical theory. As a consequence, 18th century English novels aside, I don't think I read a novel -- certainly not a 20th century novel -- for almost a decade. Just one of the many benefits of walking away from teaching was that I suddenly had time to read again. I have gone through many phases in the intervening years, but am currently reading a lot of classical history (Livy, Thucydides and Susan Wise Bauer's outstanding 'History of the Ancient World'), anything and everything about WWI aviation and, for the left brain to savour, a good deal of phenomenology (Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty).
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:22 pm 
 

woeoftyrants wrote:
Has anyone in this thread ever read Gravity's Rainbow or Going Native? I can't remember the proper authors of either book, but they were recommended to me by a friend of mine; he said both of them were incredible books, especially Gravity's Rainbow. So, does anyone here care to enlighten me?


WOa, so much stuff to comment on in this thread! Nice to see it flourishing in fine fashion, but I don't think I'll get to write much today.

Anyway, "Gravity's Rainbow" is by Thomas Pynchon. I started it quite some time ago but found it rather impenetrable and rambly. It's possible that I simply wasn't in the right mood for it. Some of the allusions and metaphors were in fact awesomely strange and compelling; I just had a lot of trouble gripping any sort of real narrative. Again, this might well be a mood thing .. I've enjoyed some pretty fractured stuff like WIlliam Burroughs in the past. Pynchon is usually classed with teh post-modernists and I'm told he's pretty straightforward in comparison to some of his contemporaries, but I really wouldn't know.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:24 pm 
 

AnimalBones wrote:
woeoftyrants wrote:
Has anyone in this thread ever read Gravity's Rainbow or Going Native? I can't remember the proper authors of either book, but they were recommended to me by a friend of mine; he said both of them were incredible books, especially Gravity's Rainbow. So, does anyone here care to enlighten me?


I only know, Gravity's Rainbow, it's by Thomas Pynchon. I've tried to read it 4 times and given up every time, once I got almost half way through. The only other book I've tried to read and given up in despair is Hermann Brochs The Death of Virgil, it makes Joyce look like Enid Blyton.

Good luck with the Pynchon, people say it's great. A good place to start with Pynchon might be Mason and Dixon which is much more readable, maybe even Vineland or Crying of Lot 42 but Gravity's Rainbow is really going for the jugular.


Ah yeah, you beat me to it, and it seems that you had some of the same problems with the book I did. Only tried once so far .. and I really hope to get further next time!

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:31 pm 
 

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.
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.

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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:32 pm 
 

Currently re-reading "White Line Fever" by Lemmy and enjoying it immensly (again). The man is full of madcap zany rock'n'roll stories that just keep coming and coming - each one more crazy then the next. The flow of the book is also pretty nice - there is a reason for the sequence and it does not feel artificial. I also agree with most of Lemmy's sentiments towards the music industry. Every metal fan should read - it is really that fun!

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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 3803
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:35 pm 
 

My favorite book is Dune, by the way.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:36 pm 
 

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:


Well, many people put the cart before the horse as it were, not reading far enough into his philosophy (and you could apply the same to other philosophers as well). It is frustrating .. rather like the people, mostly women, who seem to think that Freud is nothing but the oedipus complex and penis fixation, which is really only scratching teh surface, barely.

And yes, from what I remember (damn, its' been a while) Nietszche is all about transcending to become the better man. It's certainly easy to misrepresent him, especially with people drawing all sorts of parallels to nazism after WWII and so on.

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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:41 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
My favorite book is Dune, by the way.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.


Ahh Dune - total classic! Really great writing especially the first book - the later parts are too much towards political fiction (with sci-fi backdrop) for my tastes although they are also immense books.

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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 3803
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:42 pm 
 

I agree, the first is a masterpiece but the further into the series you go the more political and less captivating it gets. I still think the first two are mandatory.
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and hewn from
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BM_DM
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:45 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I agree, the first is a masterpiece but the further into the series you go the more political and less captivating it gets. I still think the first two are mandatory.

I've recently reshelved Dune after 100 pages or so. I'll persevere before too long, but something about it isn't clicking for me at the moment.
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:46 pm 
 

Anyone here familiar with David Lindsay's book "A Voyage to Arcturus"? It's possibly my favourite book of all time, although Lindsay isn't really my favourite writer. It is a mystical journey like no other before it and it left me with emotions and conflicts that no other book has. I will say that it's both beautiful and painful, wonderous and incredibly grim because by the end you wonder if all the beauty, not just in the novel, but in the world you live in, is in fact tainted with a terrible gut-wrenching sourness. I think this Edwardian Scottsman is a genius to have come up with this work, which has few precedents in literature .. Nietszche, perhaps, or William Blake, but I can't think of much else, although my literature scholar friend believes there is much allusion to eastern mysticism in there as well. It's another book I would call a work of true existentialism from before the real bourgeoning of the existentialists. What's more, it's also an adventure of a sort, and an exploration of an alien world .. not much of that sort of thing written in 1920 that delves so deeply into spiritual hunger and the pain of the world.. This is an extremely "cult" book and I've barely talked to anyone who has actually read it, let alone understood its seeming implications. Anybody can find it at project Gutenberg if this peaks yoru interest. Oh, and another cool thing ... the new Savoy hardcover edition of this book is adorned with Jean Belville's "The Treasures of Satan", which should be familiar to all Morbid Angel and Hex fans! Now wouldnt' you like to have that painting on your bookshelf as well?

ANyway, I'm really surprised that more isn't said about this book, but I'm glad it's such a hidden gem at the same time. I love the works of Lovecraft, for instance, but he approaches Tolkien in terms of being one of the most talked about writers in his field, and you only have to look at the number of metal bandss taking lyrical inspiration from both to see what I mean! Lindsay's books are all out of print except for this one, and even this monumental achievement is barely read by anybody, and I've never found a single allusion to the book anywhere in music, literature or film, althoughh it inspired C. S. Lewis quite a lot.


Last edited by Abominatrix on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:49 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I agree, the first is a masterpiece but the further into the series you go the more political and less captivating it gets. I still think the first two are mandatory.


Totally. The first one is genius incarnated - the dynamics and the description of the feelings of Paul Atreides are really something to behold. The study of the God incarnated retaking his paradise - really captivating stuff!

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:59 pm 
 

BM_DM wrote:
Nahsil wrote:
I agree, the first is a masterpiece but the further into the series you go the more political and less captivating it gets. I still think the first two are mandatory.

I've recently reshelved Dune after 100 pages or so. I'll persevere before too long, but something about it isn't clicking for me at the moment.


Could be the writing style? It's a little bit awkward perhaps, with thee point of view shifting at the author's convenience between the characters within individual scenes. I never noticed this in a negative light on my first reading, but although that was my favourite book for quite some time I never did re-read it, and people I talk to about it nowadays who've become recently introduced to it seem to find the style a bit of an issue.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:06 pm 
 

Susitaival wrote:
Alright, a real literature thread!

Currently I'm reading "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" by Victor Hugo. A stunning book, compelling story about love, fiery passion, revenge and French history. I've read it many many years ago but then in Finnish, now I've got an English version.

After that, these are waiting:

"Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman. My wife read it already and said it was good. Previous one, "American Gods" hit the jack-pot, interesting to see if this one beats even that.

"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.

"The Blind Watch-maker" by Richard Dawkins. Defense of evolution against creationist nit-wits.


Hm, didn't Lem write all his books in Polish? Not that there's anything wrong with reading it in English, but you might not be any closer to the author's original language. Translations are a big issue with me, and I don't know how to seek out the best translations of books I'd like to read or indeed, what criteria to use when judging what might be the best translation from a language I don't understand. I recently read "The master and Margarita" and while I loved the book I can't help but feel the translation was lacking. I dont' even know if that's the case as I know no Russian; it's just a feeling I got from reading it, as though perhaps the translators didn't quite choose the right metaphors sometimes. Another example: I've heard from my Swiss German friend that some of Nietzsche's english translations are really poor and that they occasionally will use words that simply do not encompass the scope of the metaphors used in the German or put a slant on them that differs from what was probably intended. But ti's a difficult case ... you can't be a translator and completely avoid interpretation, and as a reader, you don't want anyone placing their interpretation between yours and the author's.

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BM_DM
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:11 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Anyone here familiar with David Lindsay's book "A Voyage to Arcturus"? It's possibly my favourite book of all time.

I have a copy which is currently languishing, unread, in a box in a warehouse 3,500 miles away. I will be liberating it in June, and look forward to reading it.

I'll get back to you then -- because this thread will still be on the first page, won't it? :smile:
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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:15 pm 
 

BM_DM wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Anyone here familiar with David Lindsay's book "A Voyage to Arcturus"? It's possibly my favourite book of all time.

I have a copy which is currently languishing, unread, in a box in a warehouse 3,500 miles away. I will be liberating it in June, and look forward to reading it.


I'm sure it will provoke an intense reaction from you, even if you hate it. I don't see how anybody could really be "middle-of-the-road" about this one .. I actually got one girl to read it and she said that it was "meh, good, but not all that special" and I wondered if she'd really been paying attention at all? I've re-read it twice since first discovering it in early 2006 and I could talk about it for hours.

Edit: As for the thread .. I certainly hope that we'll keep it up here and not let it languish! Everyone on the board should post in this thread eventually!

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:25 pm 
 

UnserHeiligeTod wrote:
My favorite Poe story would be Berenice... I love how the narration seems so ethereal, almost hazy. I always picture the scenery and characters blurry, like shrouded in mist. I love it. Also, The Black Cat was my first reading of Poe, and it remains one of my favorites as well. The Oval Portrait I also enjoy, if only for its 'wtf' (excuse the non-adequate expression here) conclusion.

For some reason I've never been able to get into his police/crime stories. The only one I enjoyed was The Golden Beetle, but the others were a little boring.


Oh, I still haven't read "Berenice". I should remedy that! One great thing about poe's shorts: You never quite know what to expect. I never thought for example I would be laughing uproariously for five minutes after reading Poe, but I certainly did after reading the little farce "Four Beasts in One". :D

I'm with you on the crime stories, though. A bit ahead of their time, for sure, as Poe often was, and I can see how they are very influential, but they're just not all that interesting. I don't even think I've ever managed to make it all the way through "The Purloined Letter", and it's such a short piece!

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UnserHeiligeTod
Lagompräst

Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:45 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:43 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
I'm with you on the crime stories, though. A bit ahead of their time, for sure, as Poe often was, and I can see how they are very influential, but they're just not all that interesting. I don't even think I've ever managed to make it all the way through "The Purloined Letter", and it's such a short piece!

Oh yes, no doubt they were innovative and ahead of its time; indeed, stories such as The Crimes of Rue Morgue feel very 'fresh' and creative even today(who would've expected such an ending!). But others are just too long for its own sake; much of the plot delves too deeply into speculation and flashbacks and they become just tedious. This is the case with the aforementioned story's sequel: The Mystery of Mary Roget. I could never bring myself into finishing it. I was bored to tears by it. I definitively agree with you that the 'horror' Poe is much more entertaining (if not better) than 'detectivesque' Poe.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9609
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:09 pm 
 

Zdan wrote:
Nahsil wrote:
My favorite book is Dune, by the way.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.


Ahh Dune - total classic! Really great writing especially the first book - the later parts are too much towards political fiction (with sci-fi backdrop) for my tastes although they are also immense books.


I've read the whole series countless times since I first picked it up 6-7 years ago...on the whole, I'd probably agree with the first book being the best, but I've always greatly enjoyed God-Emperor of Dune as well. The remaining books all have good points, to be sure, but they simply don't compare. The last two especially suffer from a lack of interesting characters; with no Paul or Leto to carry them, they falter. As for the political business, that never really bothered me; however, I do have to say that the political situation put forward in the first book was the most interesting, with the Great Houses competing for power under the Emperor, with the Trade Federation and the Bene Gesserit alongside them.

I still can't bring myself to read the new entries in the series, as I'm sure they won't live up to the originals at all.
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Seriously, why ban me??????? That topic had nothing wrong with it! Theres something wrong with you i can tell you! You're immoral banning of my account! Anyways, i'm creating my own metal arcives.

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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:38 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Zdan wrote:
Nahsil wrote:
My favorite book is Dune, by the way.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.


Ahh Dune - total classic! Really great writing especially the first book - the later parts are too much towards political fiction (with sci-fi backdrop) for my tastes although they are also immense books.


I've read the whole series countless times since I first picked it up 6-7 years ago...on the whole, I'd probably agree with the first book being the best, but I've always greatly enjoyed God-Emperor of Dune as well. The remaining books all have good points, to be sure, but they simply don't compare. The last two especially suffer from a lack of interesting characters; with no Paul or Leto to carry them, they falter. As for the political business, that never really bothered me; however, I do have to say that the political situation put forward in the first book was the most interesting, with the Great Houses competing for power under the Emperor, with the Trade Federation and the Bene Gesserit alongside them.

I still can't bring myself to read the new entries in the series, as I'm sure they won't live up to the originals at all.


I felt Dune really faltered with the last two books - just as you said. The problem is that the concept of god incarnate was absent from them. That was major mistake - this concept is actually what constitutes the series novelty is one of it's defining features. The whole first book can actually be seen as a "transition to godhood" with the rest of the books building upon that concept in diffrent ways. I would love to see a book with a Bene Gesserit-take on the effects of the thing or just a book focusing on that society - which was one of the most adventurous concepts of I have have ever seen in sci-fi - basicly a coven hellbent on evolution-control for their purpose.

And for the record - I do not consider the new ones Dune. They are a abomination and do not deserve to be called that.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9609
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:10 pm 
 

I agree with you, but in defense of the last two books, they do deal with Leto's lasting influence. They're still following his plan centuries later, and at one point he even "talks" to one of the Bene Gesserit through writing she discovers in an ancient tomb, directly addressed to her. However, it doesn't FOCUS on this, which is, of course, the problem. Also, the Bene Gesserit make much better villains than heroes, and the Harkonnen make better villains still. Shit, the Baron makes a great fucking villain in the third book, and he's only a memory-shade!
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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:19 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
I agree with you, but in defense of the last two books, they do deal with Leto's lasting influence. They're still following his plan centuries later, and at one point he even "talks" to one of the Bene Gesserit through writing she discovers in an ancient tomb, directly addressed to her. However, it doesn't FOCUS on this, which is, of course, the problem. Also, the Bene Gesserit make much better villains than heroes, and the Harkonnen make better villains still. Shit, the Baron makes a great fucking villain in the third book, and he's only a memory-shade!


I do agree but see the Bene Gesserit not as villains but only as a "shadow cabinet" or sorts - they are not inherently evil or malicious. They just have diffrent goals than Paul or Leto. The same goes for Baron Harkonnen which if developed correctly and more fully would be a much more interesting and possibly more complex 'hero' then Paul who after his transition becomes one-sided and a very diffused being (still the focus is on him which is correct in the way that he is the god incarnate). I do not say the whole Dune book should be written from the point of view of the Baron but a offshoot novel would certainly be something worth reading.

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Bash
Talking Meat

Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 6:06 am
Posts: 1054
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:28 pm 
 

Don't mock the videogame thread.

I'm just about to finish Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Very good for what it is I'd say, and vastly outshines the movie which, I now realize, failed to convey the original to pretty much any degree, even with the amazing cast. I'll probably pick up the two other books in the series or the third Hyperion book next, even though the latter series hasn't really been too great so far.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:38 pm 
 

For some reason, I never got around to reading either "Heretics" or "Chapterhouse". Actually, tha'ts not entirely true, I started "Heretics"" once, but it was a shitty audiobook and I couldn't stand to listen to it, so I gave up on it and haven't read it since. I probably should someday, considering how much the first trilogy impacted me when I was a lad. And yes, the Baron is definitely quite a presence ... the first bookk is indeed the most spectacular.

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.

I didn't realise that those M. John Harrison books wereee 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.

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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:38 pm 
 

Bash wrote:
Don't mock the videogame thread.


How this was directed at? Me? How am I mocking it?

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:40 pm 
 

Zdan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
I agree with you, but in defense of the last two books, they do deal with Leto's lasting influence. They're still following his plan centuries later, and at one point he even "talks" to one of the Bene Gesserit through writing she discovers in an ancient tomb, directly addressed to her. However, it doesn't FOCUS on this, which is, of course, the problem. Also, the Bene Gesserit make much better villains than heroes, and the Harkonnen make better villains still. Shit, the Baron makes a great fucking villain in the third book, and he's only a memory-shade!


I do agree but see the Bene Gesserit not as villains but only as a "shadow cabinet" or sorts - they are not inherently evil or malicious. They just have diffrent goals than Paul or Leto. The same goes for Baron Harkonnen which if developed correctly and more fully would be a much more interesting and possibly more complex 'hero' then Paul who after his transition becomes one-sided and a very diffused being (still the focus is on him which is correct in the way that he is the god incarnate). I do not say the whole Dune book should be written from the point of view of the Baron but a offshoot novel would certainly be something worth reading.


You'd better delete this post right now, or else Brian herbert and Kevin J. Anderson might see it!!!

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:45 pm 
 

Bash wrote:
Don't mock the videogame thread.

I'm just about to finish Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Very good for what it is I'd say, and vastly outshines the movie which, I now realize, failed to convey the original to pretty much any degree, even with the amazing cast. I'll probably pick up the two other books in the series or the third Hyperion book next, even though the latter series hasn't really been too great so far.


Hey, I was just called a master of mockery a few minutes ago for some reason, but I wasn't mocking in the OP .. just expressing a hint of sadness, you know?

I didn't make much headway with "Hyperion" myself, though I kind of dug the "Canterbury Tales"-ish approach, nor with Dan Simmons' book about Dracula, "CHildren of the Night". I did, however,, enjoy his horror novel "SOng of Kali". It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that it was actually a good book. It's kind of an unpleasant read and the "protagonist" seems purposefully designed to be irritating and naive .. for a while I thought this was Dan's authorial voice but I think I now realise what he was getting at: thrusting a completely unprepared westerner with no cultural experience whatsoever into the depths of the Calcutta underworld andd exposing his ignorance and incorrect preconceptions. There's only the vaguest hint of supernatural forces at play and you're never really quite sure whether they're supernatural or not, so it's quite subtle.

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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:48 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Zdan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
I agree with you, but in defense of the last two books, they do deal with Leto's lasting influence. They're still following his plan centuries later, and at one point he even "talks" to one of the Bene Gesserit through writing she discovers in an ancient tomb, directly addressed to her. However, it doesn't FOCUS on this, which is, of course, the problem. Also, the Bene Gesserit make much better villains than heroes, and the Harkonnen make better villains still. Shit, the Baron makes a great fucking villain in the third book, and he's only a memory-shade!


I do agree but see the Bene Gesserit not as villains but only as a "shadow cabinet" or sorts - they are not inherently evil or malicious. They just have diffrent goals than Paul or Leto. The same goes for Baron Harkonnen which if developed correctly and more fully would be a much more interesting and possibly more complex 'hero' then Paul who after his transition becomes one-sided and a very diffused being (still the focus is on him which is correct in the way that he is the god incarnate). I do not say the whole Dune book should be written from the point of view of the Baron but a offshoot novel would certainly be something worth reading.


You'd better delete this post right now, or else Brian herbert and Kevin J. Anderson might see it!!!


I don't really care as I said above - I do not consider any books written by them to be "Dune". Really it has no artistic or any other type of connection to the original series except of course the world created by Herbert Sr.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10186
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:52 pm 
 

Zdan wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Zdan wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
I agree with you, but in defense of the last two books, they do deal with Leto's lasting influence. They're still following his plan centuries later, and at one point he even "talks" to one of the Bene Gesserit through writing she discovers in an ancient tomb, directly addressed to her. However, it doesn't FOCUS on this, which is, of course, the problem. Also, the Bene Gesserit make much better villains than heroes, and the Harkonnen make better villains still. Shit, the Baron makes a great fucking villain in the third book, and he's only a memory-shade!


I do agree but see the Bene Gesserit not as villains but only as a "shadow cabinet" or sorts - they are not inherently evil or malicious. They just have diffrent goals than Paul or Leto. The same goes for Baron Harkonnen which if developed correctly and more fully would be a much more interesting and possibly more complex 'hero' then Paul who after his transition becomes one-sided and a very diffused being (still the focus is on him which is correct in the way that he is the god incarnate). I do not say the whole Dune book should be written from the point of view of the Baron but a offshoot novel would certainly be something worth reading.


You'd better delete this post right now, or else Brian herbert and Kevin J. Anderson might see it!!!


I don't really care as I said above - I do not consider any books written by them to be "Dune". Really it has no artistic or any other type of connection to the original series except of course the world created by Herbert Sr.


Oh, well, I've never read any of them, but got a small sample of Brian's writing from the "Worlds of Frank Herbert" book and was very underwhelmed, and considering that Kevin is mostly known for his work with the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, where fans seem to contend that he's written some of the worst novels in both series', I just don't think I'll bother with their Dune dessicrations. I was just joking.

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The_Beast_in_Black
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:34 am
Posts: 7741
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:02 am 
 

I am presently working my way through a piece of literature called Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

It is, more or less, an account of the Old West period from the point of view of the various Indian tribes. It really is a sad book, the Indians suffered terrible injustice.
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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:57 am 
 

The_Beast_in_Black wrote:
I am presently working my way through a piece of literature called Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

It is, more or less, an account of the Old West period from the point of view of the various Indian tribes. It really is a sad book, the Indians suffered terrible injustice.


I have read into this and "Black Elk Speaks" and various other book on the Indian case quite extensively and I must say I concur. If someone has a basic grasp of their vision of the world and their philosophy they would notice that the injustice they have suffered is really immense.

If you like a modern take onto this read Sherman Alexie's "Resevation Blues" and "Indian Killer" and most definitely go for Louise Erdrich's "Tracks".

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Byrgan
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 5:35 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:27 am 
 

MinasMorgul wrote:
Right now, I'm looking for a copy of the Divine Comedy but no one stocks on it anymore. When I say anymore, I mean that they never had it or even heard of it. I finished reading most of Lovecraft's stories and I'm moving into Ray Bradbury.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/dante/index.htm

I had this link saved in my favorites, ha, but never read it. Also, if you search under "topics" on the Sacred Texts site, it has a lot of out of print books on line. http://www.sacred-texts.com/

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Byrgan
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 5:35 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:14 pm 
 

I read this week Congo and Sphere by Michael Crichton. Sphere read a little more smoothly for me because the main character was a psychologist and it dealt more with emotions. It could of been a moralistic story that dealt with our thoughts being destructive when given the power to do so. But he essentially left that up to you and let the story play.

Comparing Congo, which mixed with the story of uncharted African terrain, had a lot of technological references. Although it talks about some state of the art technological advances at the time, which from 80' are now dated. He even mentions loose talk about computers in time being connected to each other (the internet).

Right now I'm reading Relic. It is kind of uneven, as in tone. Because the writers switch back and forth between light hearted humor to grizzly murders. And every damn character has an uncommon name, that makes you stop to pronounce it.

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Susitaival
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:31 am
Posts: 23
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:43 pm 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Susitaival wrote:
Alright, a real literature thread!

Currently I'm reading "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" by Victor Hugo. A stunning book, compelling story about love, fiery passion, revenge and French history. I've read it many many years ago but then in Finnish, now I've got an English version.

After that, these are waiting:

"Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman. My wife read it already and said it was good. Previous one, "American Gods" hit the jack-pot, interesting to see if this one beats even that.

"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.

"The Blind Watch-maker" by Richard Dawkins. Defense of evolution against creationist nit-wits.


Hm, didn't Lem write all his books in Polish? Not that there's anything wrong with reading it in English, but you might not be any closer to the author's original language. Translations are a big issue with me, and I don't know how to seek out the best translations of books I'd like to read or indeed, what criteria to use when judging what might be the best translation from a language I don't understand. I recently read "The master and Margarita" and while I loved the book I can't help but feel the translation was lacking. I dont' even know if that's the case as I know no Russian; it's just a feeling I got from reading it, as though perhaps the translators didn't quite choose the right metaphors sometimes. Another example: I've heard from my Swiss German friend that some of Nietzsche's english translations are really poor and that they occasionally will use words that simply do not encompass the scope of the metaphors used in the German or put a slant on them that differs from what was probably intended. But ti's a difficult case ... you can't be a translator and completely avoid interpretation, and as a reader, you don't want anyone placing their interpretation between yours and the author's.


That's a good point. A book will almost always lose some of its original meaning in translation. Problem is, I don't understand Polish so the choice is either English or Finnish. There are figures of speech, metaphors and sayings in every language that just can't be translated in a meaningful way, and the new version will be lacking some things that made the book great in first place. Also, dialects are impossible to translate to another language. Finnish is rich with different regional dialects, and so presents problems for the translator, I think.

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