Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives

Message board

* FAQ    * Search   * Register   * Login 



Reply to topic
Author Message Previous topic | Next topic
TheConqueror1
With a 120 mm gun!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 569
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:19 pm 
 

I'm reading R.A. Salvatore's The Demon Awakens. I decided to give up on the philosophy because I have a difficult time understanding the concepts. Although, I might try to read philosophical novels, not just philosophy in general.
_________________
Through chemicals and meditation
I find my self
Denying society and the laws of undoing
Our temple of denial

Top
 Profile  
Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 6002
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:30 pm 
 

So I read...er, well, "read" Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" recently, and it was pretty damn engrossing. I really didn't like the ending, though--it just felt like a wet blanket on a blazing fire of build-up.

That scene where Tagomi
Spoiler: show
accidentally wanders into the real world

was fucking awesome, and I wanted more of it. But alas, we did not get more of it.
_________________
I write anime reviews. They're good for your health!
My Most Recent Review: Your Lie in April!
Coming Up Next:
801 T.T.S. Airbats
After That: Battle Angel Alita and Violet Evergarden

Top
 Profile  
failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 12327
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:33 am 
 

Just finished the whole Harry Potter series (on audiobook) for the first time. It was okay. I guess I can see how some people would get super invested in it, it's just begging for self-insert fantasies, but plotting and pacing were sloppy throughout and the hero-worship of Harry just got incredible toward the end. Dumbledore's ghost telling Harry that he's a better man? C'mon. Rowling is good at writing characters though, and at putting together a good scene.

On the whole it passed the time, I was invested while listening, but now that it's over I don't really feel much of anything for it. Probably something I needed to read while I was younger to get the full effect.
_________________
MorbidBlood wrote:
So the winner is Destruction and Infernal Overkill is the motherfucking skullcrushing poserkilling satan-worshiping 666 FUCK YOU greatest german thrash record.

Top
 Profile  
Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4543
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:21 am 
 

Interesting, I've thought about reading em too, never did when I was younger. Would you call em page-turners? That's the vibe I've always gotten.

I'm glad I read Earthsea and Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy, served similar roles for me as a kid I think. But missing out on the collective phenomenon of HP kinda sucks (except for my elitist, nonconforming cred ofc).
_________________
and we are born
from the same womb
and hewn from
the same stone - Primordial, "Heathen Tribes"

Top
 Profile  
caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
Posts: 6679
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:23 am 
 

Miles better when you first read them as a kid. I devoured them for a while as HP was exactly my age for the first few books. I must've read Azkaban close to 100 times. Just reread the thing nonstop for a year solid.

Anyway was bored so tried them again recently- 6 months ago? oddly enough fsm I reckon Rowling is terrible at writing characters. Hagrid's characterization is based entirely off his accent, and I'd say most of the characters, except for maybe, I dunno, Ron? are completely one dimensional. A lot of it's pretty cheesy and seems a bit cliche and generic but I guess it's worth remembering that it only seems cliche and generic because of these books. The best analogy would be like listening to Reign in Blood nowadays and saying it's full of generic thrash riffs, get what imma saiyan? But yeah Rowling was sure good at keeping you strung along until the plot inevitably explodes in the last 25% of the books.

Still, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. I think I forgot that you peel away the godawful fanbase and that vague association with cringe liberalism it's got now (we need an auror for trump!!!) then you're left with a pretty damn solid series.

I wonder if Animorphs are due for a rereading...
_________________
https://strangercountry.bandcamp.com/al ... the-chebar new album! Power shoegaze? Dream-doom???

Top
 Profile  
Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 4218
Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:29 pm 
 

Oh man, Animorphs, that takes me back a ways. I remember enjoying two of the stand-alone books a bunch when I was about...10? Jesus :lol:

I read the first four HP books when I was in middle school and liked them well enough; I remember I read the 4th book all in one day. Yep, all 750-odd pages of it, think I went to bed around 4am that night. So yeah, the phrase "page-turner" is apt for that series. I just sort of lost interest after that.
_________________
iamntbatman wrote:
On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

FloristOfVampyrism wrote:
That wasn't meant as a k.o. though, he specifically targeted an area of the cerebellum which, if ruptured, renders you a Jehovah's witness indefinitely

Top
 Profile  
Xlxlx
Argentinian Asado Supremacy

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 7706
Location: The Land Down Under (no, not THAT one)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:10 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Just finished the whole Harry Potter series (on audiobook) for the first time. It was okay. I guess I can see how some people would get super invested in it, it's just begging for self-insert fantasies, but plotting and pacing were sloppy throughout and the hero-worship of Harry just got incredible toward the end. Dumbledore's ghost telling Harry that he's a better man? C'mon. Rowling is good at writing characters though, and at putting together a good scene.

On the whole it passed the time, I was invested while listening, but now that it's over I don't really feel much of anything for it. Probably something I needed to read while I was younger to get the full effect.

I always thought of J.K. Rowling as being fantastic as a world builder but just kinda shit at everything else. The wizarding world she created is entirely believable as a living, breathing character of its own, and it's very easy to get immersed in it. By contrast, her capacity to write compelling characters and plot lines is just... not quite there, save for some exceptions. I guess I'd just much rather read a story about, say, Luna Lovegood than one about Harry "Mary Sue of the Century" Potter.

Also, Snape was an awful human being and I'm constantly amazed at how people fail to see that :-P
_________________
Napero wrote:
(...) Bolt Thrower is to the soul what coffee is to the earthly shell.

Top
 Profile  
failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 12327
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:05 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
Interesting, I've thought about reading em too, never did when I was younger. Would you call em page-turners? That's the vibe I've always gotten.

Yeah, I guess. Keep in mind I listened to the audio versions read by Stephen Fry, but I didn't have trouble concentrating for multiple chapters at a time. Good if you have a job where you can listen to whatever you want, or a long commute, I think.

caspian wrote:
Miles better when you first read them as a kid. I devoured them for a while as HP was exactly my age for the first few books. I must've read Azkaban close to 100 times. Just reread the thing nonstop for a year solid.

Yeah no doubt, I was super into Star Wars novels when I was a kid. Probably read the Thrawn and Jedi Academy trilogies 10x each. They each had decent parts and some cool ideas, there's a reason they were successful, but no way am I wasting time with them now.

caspian wrote:
oddly enough fsm I reckon Rowling is terrible at writing characters. Hagrid's characterization is based entirely off his accent, and I'd say most of the characters, except for maybe, I dunno, Ron? are completely one dimensional.

To elaborate on what I said about characters - it's not so much that she's good at writing deep characters, as pretty much every character is centered on one big conflict/event - Dumbledore was a borderline Nazi focused on power "for the greater good", but the accidental death of his sister showed him that that was a Bad Thing and made him a Good Guy. Forever. Same with Snape and everyone else who gets a backstory. What Rowling IS good at is writing people who feel like real living people - Hagrid is a fairly shallow character, true, but at the same time he feels like a real person to me. She wrote a fairly large number of supporting characters and was able to make them all feel realistic and also distinct from one another, which is more than I can say for a great many authors. Granted, this was probably helped a lot by Stephen Fry giving them all excellent and distinctive voices.

Anyway I didn't mention it above, but my main complaint about Harry Potter is just how dull and small it makes magic seem - which is a complaint I have about a lot of fantasy. When you can make magic be anything, why do so many authors make it super basic and dull? Probably the only spell in Harry Potter that actually seemed magical and intriguing is the one Voldemort used to resurrect himself. Everything else felt about as exciting as middle school homework.
_________________
MorbidBlood wrote:
So the winner is Destruction and Infernal Overkill is the motherfucking skullcrushing poserkilling satan-worshiping 666 FUCK YOU greatest german thrash record.

Top
 Profile  
dystopia4
Thumbman

Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 4371
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:53 pm 
 

Zizek - The Fragile Absolute

First time reading Zizek and kinda left me scratching head. Thought this would be a pretty interesting synthesis of Christianity and communism but he's kind of all over the place. It seems to oscillate between societal commentary/pop culture references (the dude sure loves using movies to illustrate his points) and fairly opaque theoretical analysis. I'm a relative philosophy noob, so the constant references to philosophers I haven't read got me a bit lost at times. Overall some interesting stuff, but he jumps around a lot and kind of an inconsistent read.

Nabokov - Lolita

Figured I'd read this because it's frequently near the top of best novels of all time lists. The subject matter is obviously a bit uncomfortable/creepy but the writing is pretty brilliant and the plot is really engaging. One of the better books I've read from a Russian author so far.
_________________
http://ifthisishellthenimlucky.blogspot.ca/

Top
 Profile  
Amber Gray
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:30 am
Posts: 541
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:06 pm 
 

I'm reading every Haruki Murakami book because they are hella sweet

I read the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and Norwegian Wood all in the last week
_________________
https://www.last.fm/user/templeruins

Q'uq'umatz (Avant-garde/progressive metal/psychedelic/noise rock)
Noosefiller - Noosefiller (Avant-garde/industrial black metal, IDM
Trouble Salad - A whole plethora of things

Top
 Profile  
Jonpo
Hypercolombowler

Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:05 am
Posts: 7014
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:57 pm 
 

A buddy snagged me an old-school paperback edition of It. It's beat to shit but has a really cool cover, just the paper boat and drain in a rough 80s illustration style. (this one)

I just started reading it last night and I couldn't put it down. I was a little nervous about the daunting size but the way it's broken up, at least so far, into little bite-size "scenes" is phenomenal. I'm hoping to get more in tonight after the Halloween festivities.
_________________
I'm livin' for givin' the Devil his due...

Top
 Profile  
theposega
Mezla

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:42 pm
Posts: 4957
Location: Yareth Ghanatan
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:01 pm 
 

Read It earlier this year and yeah, it's a marathon but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Just finished Thomas Tryon's The Other. Would thoroughly recommend to anyone looking for a good, slow horror novel. It makes you wait, but man is it worth it. Really, really great.
_________________
"Throw some soy beans in every room for me" - Lil B

Top
 Profile  
Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 26145
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:53 pm 
 

It isn't perfect, and it has some weird shit near the end where you could tell King was on psychedelics as well as the issue of how he wrote women that I was never a fan of back then - though it was the time I suppose. But it's undeniably great as a book in spite of that. The descriptions, the scope, the atmosphere, the way the kids are done; holy shit, it's just something else on a lot of levels.

I finished Something Wicked This Way Comes the other day. Really great evocative writing style. So atmospheric it bled off the page. The story I was a bit shaky on, it was slightly weird and I felt like the conflict was kind of softball at times, I guess I was hoping for something more dire or apocalyptic than a carousel that could change your age being the main source of the conflict. But honestly, I did kinda like how he tied it together in the end. It was a neat story about the end of childhood and about treasuring your time and not wanting to move on too quick. The Charles Halloway character was fascinating and the circus characters were very well done. Overall I liked it although it was kind of a tall order at times, a bit much in some places.
_________________
Cinema Freaks latest reviews: The Open House

Top
 Profile  
Amber Gray
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:30 am
Posts: 541
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm 
 

Image

been reading all his books and I hate to say this one was a total bomb. Super weak and pointless. All kindsa things brought up early as usual, but this time around nothing came back at all. None of it really ended up having any meaning. It's literally like half of a book.

Also in reading so much in a concentrated burst, it becomes redundant. Superb writer but pretty much writes the same book over and over.
_________________
https://www.last.fm/user/templeruins

Q'uq'umatz (Avant-garde/progressive metal/psychedelic/noise rock)
Noosefiller - Noosefiller (Avant-garde/industrial black metal, IDM
Trouble Salad - A whole plethora of things

Top
 Profile  
Azmodes
Ultranaut

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:44 am
Posts: 9554
Location: Gradec, Austria
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:56 pm 
 

i'm almost done with Simon Singh's The Code Book. What a lucid, highly entertaining account of the history and milestones of cryptography. The stuff about cracking Linear B in particular was great, now I have to get some books on that as well as the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations.
_________________
Da Däéfö schlåft nèd. || Last.fm | Discogs | Goodreads | BOINC
Quote:
Napero: Two tons of wood, 90 meters... I'd give him 13 minutes
Derigin: Works for me. I'll be right on over

Top
 Profile  
Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 6002
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:11 pm 
 

Continuing in my dystopian-future kick, I finally read 1984. It was fucking awesome/terrifying, especially with regard to current events. Now I'm making my way through The Handmaid's Tale, and it's not quite as intense as I was hoping, but I'm only a third of the way in so that could change at any time.
_________________
I write anime reviews. They're good for your health!
My Most Recent Review: Your Lie in April!
Coming Up Next:
801 T.T.S. Airbats
After That: Battle Angel Alita and Violet Evergarden

Top
 Profile  
Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 26145
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:18 pm 
 

I also read 1984 a month or two back - hated it actually. Just such a miserable, awful book with a similarly terrible view of humanity - though I get why it's important and it was no doubt very prescient in some ways (the endless wars were certainly like a glimpse into today's future), and terrifying for its time. But in a modern context, with what's actually happening today, I just wasn't moved by it. The whole thing just came off angry, which it was, but I found myself just questioning if Orwell maybe needed to go talk to someone professionally. The last 80 pages or were essentially torture porn.

I also found the romance and character development to be very shallow and simple. Not the focus of the book all the time, but even so.

I guess I just don't care for these dystopian stories. Not my thing. I just can't get into stuff that posits that the mass of humanity in the free world would ever let things turn into something that awful.
_________________
Cinema Freaks latest reviews: The Open House


Last edited by Empyreal on Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Top
 Profile  
AboveTheThrone
Village Idiot

Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:56 pm
Posts: 689
Location: Cleveland, OH, USA
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:20 pm 
 

Any non-fiction recs for me? I'm mostly looking for something on politics or true crime/mysteries.

Top
 Profile  
Amber Gray
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:30 am
Posts: 541
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:33 pm 
 

I'm reading Infinite Jest and really like it so far though it consistently makes me lose faith in my vocabulary

also I wish these were all real movies http://pooryorickentertainment.tumblr.com/filmography
_________________
https://www.last.fm/user/templeruins

Q'uq'umatz (Avant-garde/progressive metal/psychedelic/noise rock)
Noosefiller - Noosefiller (Avant-garde/industrial black metal, IDM
Trouble Salad - A whole plethora of things

Top
 Profile  
Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
Posts: 5419
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:08 pm 
 

Amber Gray wrote:
I'm reading Infinite Jest and really like it so far though it consistently makes me lose faith in my vocabulary

also I wish these were all real movies http://pooryorickentertainment.tumblr.com/filmography


Nice! Hardly anyone here seems to like DFW, but I'm a huge fan and Infinite Jest is one of my favourite books. Have you read his short story collection, Oblivion? It's amazing and I usually recommend people try it out first just because it's obviously a lot shorter and you can get a sense of his style and decide if it's something you like, but if you're already underway on IJ and enjoying it, well, then just keep going.

"Cage III - Free Show" is my favourite James Incandenza movie.

Top
 Profile  
Morrigan
Crone of War

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2002 7:27 am
Posts: 12361
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:11 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
I just can't get into stuff that posits that the mass of humanity in the free world would ever let things turn into something that awful.

I have bad news...
_________________
Von Cichlid wrote:
I work with plenty of Oriental and Indian persons and we get along pretty good, and some females as well.

Markeri, in 2013 wrote:
a fairly agreed upon date [of the beginning of metal] is 1969. Metal is almost 25 years old

Top
 Profile  
Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4543
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:41 pm 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
Continuing in my dystopian-future kick, I finally read 1984. It was fucking awesome/terrifying, especially with regard to current events. Now I'm making my way through The Handmaid's Tale, and it's not quite as intense as I was hoping, but I'm only a third of the way in so that could change at any time.


Handmaid does improve IMO, but honestly I think the show is better.
_________________
and we are born
from the same womb
and hewn from
the same stone - Primordial, "Heathen Tribes"

Top
 Profile  
Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 26145
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:09 am 
 

Morrigan wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
I just can't get into stuff that posits that the mass of humanity in the free world would ever let things turn into something that awful.

I have bad news...


I know people always say that but I can't agree. I see too many good people to let that kind of world ever happen in a modern society - the Trumps of the world aren't omnipresent evil like the 1984 government but more bumbling incompetence.
_________________
Cinema Freaks latest reviews: The Open House

Top
 Profile  
Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 4218
Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:28 am 
 

Russians did "let things turn into something that awful," and for a good chunk of the world it was precisely that awful for almost 3/4ths of a century. The book is more descriptive than predictive.
_________________
iamntbatman wrote:
On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

FloristOfVampyrism wrote:
That wasn't meant as a k.o. though, he specifically targeted an area of the cerebellum which, if ruptured, renders you a Jehovah's witness indefinitely

Top
 Profile  
Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 26145
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:12 am 
 

True enough. I guess I am just saying the book did nothing for me and had none of the human insights I personally want out of a book. Just too over the top for my taste, not what I want to read.
_________________
Cinema Freaks latest reviews: The Open House

Top
 Profile  
Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 6002
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:26 am 
 

I love when shit gets super-dark like that. The "It is a human face being trampled by a boot. Forever." speech is one of the best moments in literature, if you ask me.
_________________
I write anime reviews. They're good for your health!
My Most Recent Review: Your Lie in April!
Coming Up Next:
801 T.T.S. Airbats
After That: Battle Angel Alita and Violet Evergarden

Top
 Profile  
failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 12327
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:30 pm 
 

I like 1984 but I agree that the characters aren't written super well and it's not the most enjoyable book on an emotional level. Personally, I prefer Darkness at Noon, the novel which was a big inspiration for 1984. It's historical fiction about Stalin's consolidation of power in Soviet Russia, as seen through the eyes of a fictitious Old Guard communist. For my money it's much more emotionally engaging, with much better-written characters, and also much more realistically dark. Something about the way 1984 was written always made the world seem sorta fake to me; even though I don't think the dystopia is super far-fetched, it never quite feels like a real lived-in world to me. Darkness at Noon seems almost too real. And it was.
_________________
MorbidBlood wrote:
So the winner is Destruction and Infernal Overkill is the motherfucking skullcrushing poserkilling satan-worshiping 666 FUCK YOU greatest german thrash record.

Top
 Profile  
Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4543
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:14 pm 
 

It's a sort of negative romanticization of the dystopia it seems like, glossy aesthetics, more of an image with a message than a fleshed out world. I doubt it was meant to seem super realistic. That other book sounds interesting!

What do yall think about Brave New World? I keep meaning to read it.
_________________
and we are born
from the same womb
and hewn from
the same stone - Primordial, "Heathen Tribes"

Top
 Profile  
Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 6002
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:37 pm 
 

Brave New World has interesting ideas in it, but from a narrative perspective, it's dogshit. We follow our main character around, we learn about him, stuff happens, and then the author's like, "Bored now! Let's make a NEW main character!" and we proceed from there.
_________________
I write anime reviews. They're good for your health!
My Most Recent Review: Your Lie in April!
Coming Up Next:
801 T.T.S. Airbats
After That: Battle Angel Alita and Violet Evergarden

Top
 Profile  
CorpseFister
Veteran

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 2609
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:59 pm 
 

The Handmaid’s Tale definitely does pick up as the story goes on. I think what makes it work so well as that while you get glimpses into the larger world, it doesn’t lose its focus on being an intensely personal story.

Agreed about Darkness at Noon, I just read it a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It’s maybe not as well-known because it is quite specific to the Stalinist purges, but it’s very well written. The interrogation/conversation scenes, and the inevitable outcome, are grim as heck.

Speaking of dystopian fiction, anybody ready We by Yevgeny Zamyatin? It’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, might be about time to get to it.

Top
 Profile  
Norrmania
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:42 am
Posts: 1082
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:15 pm 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
Speaking of dystopian fiction, anybody ready We by Yevgeny Zamyatin? It’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, might be about time to get to it.


Yep, it was probably the book that turned me into a massive fan of dystopian fiction back in high school. It's a great read and would highly recommend it. Also found the math symbolism throughout kinda fun.

Empyreal wrote:
I know people always say that but I can't agree. I see too many good people to let that kind of world ever happen in a modern society - the Trumps of the world aren't omnipresent evil like the 1984 government but more bumbling incompetence.


Except dystopian fiction arose as social critique precisely because these kinds of oppressive societies have occurred in the modern world and throughout history. Their original primary purpose was to remind people of existing or previous regimes, encourage people to be aware and critical of the world around them, not to mention highlighting the tendency of otherwise "good people" to fall in line under oppressive conditions. "Good people" turn a blind eye to oppression and atrocities every day. Can our world be a different and better place? Certainly. I'm also believe that we shouldn't always assume the worst of people or the types of future societies we create. And there are more and more dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic novels that, at least in part, explore more potentially optimistic alternate futures. As an aside, I also think there's a danger in simply dismissing people like Trump as bumbling incompetents.

failsafeman wrote:
I like 1984 but I agree that the characters aren't written super well and it's not the most enjoyable book on an emotional level. Personally, I prefer Darkness at Noon, the novel which was a big inspiration for 1984. It's historical fiction about Stalin's consolidation of power in Soviet Russia, as seen through the eyes of a fictitious Old Guard communist. For my money it's much more emotionally engaging, with much better-written characters, and also much more realistically dark. Something about the way 1984 was written always made the world seem sorta fake to me; even though I don't think the dystopia is super far-fetched, it never quite feels like a real lived-in world to me. Darkness at Noon seems almost too real. And it was.


It's not particularly common in general for earlier dystopian fictions to focus on character development, though. The focus for a fair chunk of the early authors in the genre was social critique or thinly veiled political treatises (think the Iron Heel) rather than writing relatable characters. Find the general trend starts to change in the 70s and 80s where more authors of dystopian fiction started to care just as much about developing characters and writing a good story as they did about providing coherent and relevant social critiques of their own or closely related societies. I guess it really depends on what you're looking for when you read the earlier stuff.

Top
 Profile  
failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 12327
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:20 pm 
 

As I mentioned, Darkness at Noon was written prior to 1984 and did a much better job of writing fleshed-out and realistic-feeling characters. I suppose technically it was a historical novel set in a real-life dystopia rather than a dystopian novel, but just because it was common is no excuse for poor writing. I do like 1984, but it could've been much better and more gripping if the characters had felt more real. I mean the whole point of writing a dystopian novel instead of a speculative essay is to emotionally involve the reader in the plight of the characters - otherwise why bother at all?
_________________
MorbidBlood wrote:
So the winner is Destruction and Infernal Overkill is the motherfucking skullcrushing poserkilling satan-worshiping 666 FUCK YOU greatest german thrash record.

Top
 Profile  
Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 6002
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:03 pm 
 

I feel like the "realistic dystopia" subgenre is one that can get away with being scant on character development as long as the world-building is done well, and 1984 certainly nails it on that front.
_________________
I write anime reviews. They're good for your health!
My Most Recent Review: Your Lie in April!
Coming Up Next:
801 T.T.S. Airbats
After That: Battle Angel Alita and Violet Evergarden

Top
 Profile  
Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 26145
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:27 am 
 

Norrmania wrote:

Empyreal wrote:
I know people always say that but I can't agree. I see too many good people to let that kind of world ever happen in a modern society - the Trumps of the world aren't omnipresent evil like the 1984 government but more bumbling incompetence.


Except dystopian fiction arose as social critique precisely because these kinds of oppressive societies have occurred in the modern world and throughout history. Their original primary purpose was to remind people of existing or previous regimes, encourage people to be aware and critical of the world around them, not to mention highlighting the tendency of otherwise "good people" to fall in line under oppressive conditions. "Good people" turn a blind eye to oppression and atrocities every day. Can our world be a different and better place? Certainly. I'm also believe that we shouldn't always assume the worst of people or the types of future societies we create. And there are more and more dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic novels that, at least in part, explore more potentially optimistic alternate futures. As an aside, I also think there's a danger in simply dismissing people like Trump as bumbling incompetents.


I know, which is why I can see how they resonate with some people. For me dystopian fiction is too easy a lot of the time - it's easy to dream up a fiction where the US or UK is some kind of fascist hellscape where people are beaten up for expressing their thoughts and the revolution is quashed and the big lesson is that humanity sucks and deserves to die, paralleling it with enough real-life dictatorships to make it resonate and have some kind of poignance. It just isn't interesting to me. I find it both more challenging as a writer myself, and more fulfilling to consume, to read stories written in more normal settings and where the characters can have some nuance and subtlety, not constantly afraid of the government and what not as their sole motivator eclipsing everything else. It's more interesting to me to pen a good tale about different kinds of human ambition and development, how people interact, what drives them in a regular first-world type of society, etc.

I finally gave up on trying to find a 'good' starting point and picked up a Jack Vance novel - it's called The Brave Free Men and it seems fun so far even if it is the second book in a trilogy I didn't read the beginning of.

Also just read the first story in George Saunders' Tenth of December - this is going to be a fun read. His style is super offbeat and expressive and the storytelling seems good so far.
_________________
Cinema Freaks latest reviews: The Open House

Top
 Profile  
Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4543
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:15 am 
 

I actually returned to Vance's Demon Princes recently, got tired of the meanderings of Samuel R. Delaney's "Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand." I honestly think the prologue was the best part and it's been kinda slow after that. Lots of weird experimental-ish language and scenes and conversations and stuff. I'll give him another shot at some point, but right now I want something a bit more straightforward, but still well realized and intriguing and stuff. Vance is great for that. I'm into the third book now, "The Palace of Love."
_________________
and we are born
from the same womb
and hewn from
the same stone - Primordial, "Heathen Tribes"

Top
 Profile  
Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 4218
Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:45 am 
 

I've just finished the first two parts of Canticle for Leibowitz. This is very good stuff.
_________________
iamntbatman wrote:
On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

FloristOfVampyrism wrote:
That wasn't meant as a k.o. though, he specifically targeted an area of the cerebellum which, if ruptured, renders you a Jehovah's witness indefinitely

Top
 Profile  
Norrmania
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:42 am
Posts: 1082
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:38 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
As I mentioned, Darkness at Noon was written prior to 1984 and did a much better job of writing fleshed-out and realistic-feeling characters. I suppose technically it was a historical novel set in a real-life dystopia rather than a dystopian novel, but just because it was common is no excuse for poor writing. I do like 1984, but it could've been much better and more gripping if the characters had felt more real. I mean the whole point of writing a dystopian novel instead of a speculative essay is to emotionally involve the reader in the plight of the characters - otherwise why bother at all?


That's why I was saying that it was the trend among most early dystopian writing rather than all. I don't really see it as poor writing, either. It's simply understanding that literature has changed over time. I guess for me I see it as enjoying different books for different reasons, or I guess just drawing different ideas or whatnot from different books based on what I think it was trying to do. With dystopian fiction I think that the focus has generally changed over time. The average reader then and now was/is more likely to read a fictional novel than an essay about the political conditions in their own countries. The audience were meant to be "gripped" by the details of oppressive conditions rather than by the emotional responses of individual characters to those conditions.

Personally, I find it more common now in general for books to have better characterisation than pre-70's/80's. Over time writers have begun writing more and more multi-dimensional characters with complex emotional responses, lives, perspectives etc. In general fictional characters have tended to become more less stereotype-y/one dimensional and just more realistic to me. Again, I'm talking in general which isn't to say there aren't/weren't exceptions.

Empyreal wrote:
I know, which is why I can see how they resonate with some people. For me dystopian fiction is too easy a lot of the time - it's easy to dream up a fiction where the US or UK is some kind of fascist hellscape where people are beaten up for expressing their thoughts and the revolution is quashed and the big lesson is that humanity sucks and deserves to die, paralleling it with enough real-life dictatorships to make it resonate and have some kind of poignance. It just isn't interesting to me. I find it both more challenging as a writer myself, and more fulfilling to consume, to read stories written in more normal settings and where the characters can have some nuance and subtlety, not constantly afraid of the government and what not as their sole motivator eclipsing everything else. It's more interesting to me to pen a good tale about different kinds of human ambition and development, how people interact, what drives them in a regular first-world type of society, etc.


Different perspectives. To me that's part of what makes the genre interesting. People have a tendency to see oppression more clearly when they're looking elsewhere than their own societies. I think for that reason dystopian novels can encourage people to look at their own lives, living conditions and society differently. I don't really see this as "easy" writing considering the breadth of stuff available out there. Novels like Station Eleven (post-apocalyptic, not dystopian), Earthseed or Madd Addam to me don't just highlight and recognise oppression, but also tell the story of characters who aim to move in a positive direction as communities despite of that oppression, rather than falling pray to it or acting as strictly self-interested beings. I think these types of imaginings are important because even today the mainstream perception tends to be that under certain conditions we must always give up our hard-won rights supposedly for the sake of survival. At what point does society suddenly see it was "reasonable" for women's rights or worker's rights or queer rights to be thrown out the door. To me those underlying discussions are what really interests me among particular niches of dystopian (or post-apocalyptic) literature, challenging the dominant perception that falling back on humanity's worst possible traits is necessary for survival as some kind of "brutal truth" or that it's inevitable. But then again if the genre doesn't call to you, it doesn't call to you. We all have our preferences, but for me that's what interests me. Not to say I don't read a ton of other stuff, but it's definitely among my favourite genres.

Top
 Profile  
Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 4218
Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:15 am 
 

Finished Canticle. Very good. The world was very convincing and there's lots of little details for lapsed Catholics like myself to pick up on.
_________________
iamntbatman wrote:
On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

FloristOfVampyrism wrote:
That wasn't meant as a k.o. though, he specifically targeted an area of the cerebellum which, if ruptured, renders you a Jehovah's witness indefinitely

Top
 Profile  
failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 12327
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:33 pm 
 

Yeah it's a good one, but I think it suffers a bit with the third part being the weakest of the three. I totally get what he's going for thematically, it just didn't grip me the way the other two parts did.
_________________
MorbidBlood wrote:
So the winner is Destruction and Infernal Overkill is the motherfucking skullcrushing poserkilling satan-worshiping 666 FUCK YOU greatest german thrash record.

Top
 Profile  
Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 10905
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:15 pm 
 

Lots of good stuff being talked about in here lately. I'm going to revisit Canticle sometime. When I tried to read it many years ago, I think I ended up giving up partway through the second part. I can't really explain why. To be honest, I think all the catholicism might have put off my nineteen-year-old self. But well, if I can handle G. K. Chesterton without more than a few scoffs nowadays, i really shouldn't have a problem with this. The thing is that the memories of the book that I did retain were all positive ones. I guess we shall see.

Also seems I should give Darkness before noon a try. I personally am really glad that 1984 exists. I've read it twice and while it's not altogether an enjoyable experience and certainly a grim little thing, I can see why it's so resonant with people. There are just so many memorable images and phrases and ideas that were expressed in this book. Not sure when, or if, I'll read it again. Actually since seeing the 1950s BBC production with Peter Cushing as Winston and Andre Morell as oBrien, I'm not really sure I will ever need to. :D

I noted the Harry Potter discussion earlier. I never made it through the first book. The beginning was cool and reminded me of Roald Dahl, a staple of my childhood (more on him later), but then they got to the magic school and it all started to seem a bit silly to me. i'm aware that there might be a double standard at work here as I've just been enjoying Fritz leiber's Lankhmar series again and it's full of silly sorcery stuff, but I guess the style is just the thing. But about Rowling...how about her detective novels? I actually read one that I got from my old work: A Career of Evil. Every chapter was named after a Blue oyster Cult lyric and she managed to work the band's sort of esotericism into the plot into an interesting way, even though the group itself doesn't feature at all. I dunno if I'd call it a classic-to-come, but I would definitely say that book at least was a "page turner". Quite fucked up in parts, too; I'm not sure, but I think some folks might be surprised that this one is by "The harry Potter woman".

I've been reading tons of short stories, as usual. I mentioned Roald Dahl earlier and I recently started getting into some of his more "adult oriented" stuff. The stories in Switch Bitch are hilarious and very well written, especially "The Visitor". My favourite book is kiss Kiss, though. Most of these stories ended up on the Tales of the Unexpected TV series, but I think they definitely lost a little something in translation. The stories are wicked, funny and sometimes horrible in a delicious way. i mean, it's Dahl; if you read him as a kid you kind of know what to expect. The most unsettling story was probably "Pig", which reads like a weird nightmare.

I've also been checking out this guy named Brian Evenson. he writes weird and disconcerting short stories, some of which I guess you could categorise as horror, but most of which are just strange and creepy and leave you wondering what the hell you just read. Although I have to take frequent breaks between the stories, they're actually really enjoyable to me and I appreciate the creepy, world-coming-unhinged vibe they give me. I've got both Windeye and Fugue State, and I can recommend both of them, but especially the former anthology. Some of the tales have a kind of post-apocalyptic flavour to them, but it's done in a way that I've not quite seem before -- very casually, without really explaining much, but just throwing you in at the deep end, like you, the audience, should already know what made the world go to pieces so there's really no need for the characters to talk about it. There are stories about people passing somehow from one world to the next; falling out of time, or out of sync with the world at large; stories about murder and limb transplants and some very strange spoofs on spy fiction. There's also a tale about Bon Scott becoming a mormon prior to his death, which is one of the more grounded/light-hearted ones I guess, even though the ending is fucking sad. A few of the stories just left me perplexed, and I couldn't even begin to say what they were about, but I have to say taht when this guy is "on" he has something really special and interesting going on in his head. The tales can also be surprisingly humorous at times. Good stuff.

I've been revisiting some Stephen King myself, in the short story format, my preferred way to experience him. I was re-reading Night Shift, my favourite book of his, and got Skeleton Crew, a rather thick anthology he published later on, though it still contains a bunch of early works. Someone told me they liked SC better because it was less pulpy or something. Well, I guess I just prefer my King pulpy, because some of the stories in here are a bit bad, to me. There's a piece in here about a 1920s jazz band, for instance, and having just recently read Charles Beaumont's "Black Country", as well, the King just pales in comparison and comes off as just trying too hard with all the lingo and everything. Still, some good stuff in here nonetheless. King does really well when he writes about writing and writers; particularly the kind of weird neurotic things that might befall an artist, and maybe a writer in particular. "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" is one of these, and although I've been picking up the book off and on like I usually do with short story anthologies (rather than reading them cover to cover/without breaks for other things), this might be my favourite story in the thing thus far. There are a few attempts at pure science fiction, too. They don't quite come off, mostly because King seems afraid to fully commit to the world he is creating. Anyway, it's interesting that I've not really considered King a favourite since I was fourteen or so, but continue to periodically return to his work. I think i have more respect for the man himself than I have enjoyment for his work, nowadays.

Finally, I've been slowly making my way through The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, a mammoth set of thirteen (!) volumes I got as e-books. This guy started writing in the late 30s and continued right up to the early 80s or so. He's probably most known for his science fiction work (both literary and for the original Star Trek TV series), but he wrote in other genres as well. The back matter shows that Ted was an interesting guy: a former merchant marine who became a nudist in the 1950s and was married something like six times, and got involved with "hippies" and lSD experimentation at a comparatively old age. he had a lot to say about understanding and love, and a quite strong perception of people. He could do vintage SF but he could also do mainstream, mysteries and westerns with aplomb. A few nice horror pieces, too, especially among the early works. he wrote a story called "It", for instance, which I'm positive was an inspiration on a certain writer named King, and not just because of the title. Anyway, there's a lot of stuff in here and it's at times a bit overwhelming, but I'm determined to take my time with it and savour as much of these as I can. if by chance you want to get into these, don't start with volume 1, as the stories are compiled chronologically and many of the ones in that first volume are formula pieces written for American newspapers. These often have a romantic and patriotic slant to them, which is interesting if you've already read anything by him or know about him, since he's thought of as kind of a counter-culture figure. That stuff was written when the guy was nineteen, though, so...*shrugs*.
_________________
Hush! and hark
To the sorrowful cry
Of the wind in the dark.
Hush and hark, without murmur or sigh,
To shoon that tread the lost aeons:
To the sound that bids you to die.

Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic Go to page Previous  1 ... 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143 ... 145  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Storm of the Light's Bane and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

 
Jump to:  

Back to the Encyclopaedia Metallum


Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group