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What Are You Reading Now?

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Jeff
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Jeff replied on Fri, Nov 15 2013 7:40 PM

Popular Mechanics, I think, over here had a pretty good takedown of the conspiracy theories aligned with the WTC collapse and the Pentagon attack. It's been a while since I read them but as a physicist/engineer they made complete sense to me when I did. Worth looking up their analysis online, you should be able to Google it. Of course, I also love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy too, I'm even a member of the Church of the Subgenius...Praise Bob!

No, actually, I am an ordained minister in the Church...and I have an Illuminati thing too.

On another topic, it amazes me how often the tale of Beowulf is retold in different forms, and movies. There's a pretty direct telling of it, Beowulf, with Gerard Butler that is really quite good, filmed in Iceland, wonderful scenery. And it's hysterical, though true I believe, seeing these huge hulking Vikings riding along on these tiny Icelandic ponies.

The movie Outlander, where a man of an advanced race crashes on earth in Viking times, bringing with him this hideous creature that stowed away on his ship. Earth was an abandoned seed colony of this race, so he has to work with the Vikings to fight and kill this creature, you'll recognize the whole take as a resetting of Beowulf. It's a pretty good movie too.

I can't remember what the other film was that suddenly I realized was a stylized Beowulf. There's an odd movie with Christopher Lambert kind of a futuristic/post Apocalypse kind of fantasy vibe called Beowulf too, kind of clever and different.

Hey, like Tom Lehrer says, plagiarize, let no one elses work evade your eyes, remember why the good lord made your eyes, so don't shade your eyes, but plagiarize plagiarize plagiarize, always remembering please to call it "research." Big Smile

Jeff

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Fri, Nov 15 2013 10:51 PM

Now I've had to google Popular Mechanics and Church of the Subgenius!

I don't think I've seen a copy of Popular Mechanics since I was about 12 years old, but I really don't know whether or not it has been continuously available in the UK. I found their online summary of 9/11... It is pretty convincing on most fronts, but I like to keep an open mind simply on the basis that theories always move on and develop with time, especially when new evidence emerges. I guess we all get conditioned by what we read, but what I can say is that everything that I have ever read in the popular press concerning anything where I had personal first hand knowledge was always wrong. On that basis I've always imagined that someone somewhere would always be condemning the accuracy of anything and everything that I was reading! With professionally reviewed Papers there is usually a discussion and response to refer to where most areas of contention get ironed-out. (But I've spotted the odd bit of professional plagiarism in my time, not to mention phoney references!)

Talking of Iceland, one of the things I noticed when visiting in the 90's was the numbers of fields holding those Icelandic ponies. I formed the opinion that they were as much as source of food as anything else. They certainly appeared on many restaurant menus, often as 'Viking' steaks. On today's news Princess Anne/ The Princess Royal (Illuminati?) was suggesting that if we ate horse meat then horses would be better cared for. Not sure about her logic, but she has spent half of her life riding in competitions.

Just returning to Beowolf. It's a version translated by the Irish poet, Seamus Heany, with the original text on the opposite pages where you might spot the odd recognisable original word or phrase!

Graham

Edit.

For those who might be interested, I should emphasize that Phillip Marshall's book 'The Great Bamboozle'  is all about the financing and training of the Saudi pilots involved in 9/11 and is not about how the buildings came to collapse.

vikinger
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vikinger replied on Sat, Nov 16 2013 10:07 AM

Hi Jeff,

just read the Wikipedia entry on Church of the Subgenius, and the obituary of Robert Wilson.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1539330/Robert-Anton-Wilson.html

I need to catch-up on American culture and evidence that irony is not entirely missing from US humour!

Graham

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valve1 replied on Sun, Nov 17 2013 9:48 AM

Enjoyed 'Out ' by Natsuo Kirino a Japanese author. Thought I cold relate to it best as I have been there a lot but my friends who have never been thought it a good read.

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Jeff replied on Sun, Dec 1 2013 4:51 PM

Speaking of Japanese authors, some time ago I read both "The Ark Sakura" and "The Woman In The Dunes" (of which there also is an excellent film version), by Kobo Abe. Strange works, fascinating and introspective, they offer a lot of interesting social commentary. 

I'm back to reading Sirius, and the description of the brain augmenting techniques reminds me of Flowers For Algernon. 

Jeff

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Speaking of Japanese authors, and I aplogize if this has been posted before, but Haruki Murakami is a great author and all of his books are worth reading. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle being the most well known of his novels. His stories are often very surreal and don't always end up in a neatly wrapped up package. There are many authors who can tell a good enjoyable story but in Murakami's case the stories are always interesting and every paragraph Murakami writes is a joy to read. Several of his works have been made into films in Japan including a short story called Tony Takitani and a book Norwegian Wood. After Murakami wrote Norwegian Wood it was so popular in Japan, that the reclusive Murakami couldn't stand the attention and moved to the USA for a while till his fame died down a little. I have read most of his books but the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a good place to start.

John

 

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Jeff replied on Sun, Dec 1 2013 7:19 PM

Interesting, thanks for the recommendation! Sounds like exactly the kind of literature I enjoy. I find the same true of Gene Wolfe, every paragraph and story are wonderfully wordsmithed, he writes things that stick in your mind hauntingly for quite a while, and things are seldom neatly wrapped up, leaves you thinking. 

Off to see of I can download some of Marakami's work...

Jeff

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Severian:

I'm back to reading Sirius, and the description of the brain augmenting techniques reminds me of Flowers For Algernon.

Jeff

From fading memories ... Made into a film starring Claire Bloom ?

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Jeff replied on Mon, Dec 2 2013 12:16 AM

Yes! With Cliff Robertson as Charly, in fact that was the name of the movie, Charly. I saw this as a kid and found it absolutely heartbreaking. 

Jeff

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vikinger
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Taking a bit longer with Beowolf than I expected. Tending to read one or two pages at a time then scanning the original text to see if anything is recognisable.

Have just started Memoirs of Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay first published 1841. First part is about John Law, France and the Mississippi money mania. Free Kindle download (but apparently text only without illustrations.) 

Graham

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vikinger replied on Sun, Jan 5 2014 10:45 PM

Just returning to ..... The Madness of Crowds..... after not doing too much reading over Christmas.

Finished the first chapter on the Mississippi scheme of John Law, now moving on to the South Sea Bubble. Have found it easier to read the Guttenberg project version of this book on the iPad rather than the Kindle.

Anyone who's an amateur at economics like me but is interested in how the economy works will be fascinated by the parallels between the money printing of the early 18th century and its disasterous outcome and the present day printing of money otherwise known as Quantitative Easing.

Graham

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elephant replied on Sun, Jan 5 2014 10:50 PM
In buying Christmas books for the family I discovered a new old book by John Wyndham - written in parallel with "the Day of the Triffids" but never published until recently rediscovered.

Nowhere near the standard that the Triffids and subsequent novels had, but Academically Interesting Smile

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vikinger
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elephant:
In buying Christmas books for the family I discovered a new old book by John Wyndham - written in parallel with "the Day of the Triffids" but never published until recently rediscovered.

Nowhere near the standard that the Triffids and subsequent novels had, but Academically Interesting Smile

The Day of the Triffids, another great science fiction story. What was the title of the other book you discovered? Looking Wyndham up i've just realised that he had the most bizzare name, "John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris", and that he sometimes published under other combinations of his many names.

A 1960 interview;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/writers/12206.shtml

Graham

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beocool replied on Mon, Jan 6 2014 6:06 PM

vikinger:

elephant:
In buying Christmas books for the family I discovered a new old book by John Wyndham - written in parallel with "the Day of the Triffids" but never published until recently rediscovered.

Nowhere near the standard that the Triffids and subsequent novels had, but Academically Interesting Smile

The Day of the Triffids, another great science fiction story. What was the title of the other book you discovered? Looking Wyndham up i've just realised that he had the most bizzare name, "John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris", and that he sometimes published under other combinations of his many names.

A 1960 interview;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/writers/12206.shtml

Graham

I read it for my English literature list in secondary school. Can't open the link BTW

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

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elephant replied on Mon, Jan 6 2014 10:37 PM

vikinger:
What was the title of the other book you discovered?

"Plan for Chaos" Penguin, ISBN 978-0-141-04877-2

And for Beocool, this link will take you to the page, but you probably like me will have trouble starting their iPlayer as it tends to restrict itself to UK residents.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/writers/12206.shtml

I noticed that there was a link to H.G.Wells interviews on the left-hand side-bar ... seems to be quite a collection of views by that great story-teller.

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vikinger replied on Sat, Jan 11 2014 8:29 PM

I am still plodding through the Madness of Crowds. Tulip Mania next chapter.

Searching on Google I can see that several financial or investment websites are now referring to this book. 

I'm intending to pick out another Stapledon book next having picked up a group of reprinted Stapledon novels with a separate study guide. But I might leave the study guide until last as I find that reading someone's study or analysis of an author's works can destroy the enjoyment of reading the originals.

Graham

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Jeff replied on Wed, Feb 12 2014 6:39 PM

I just finished reading "Fallen Angels" by Larry Nivem and two other coauthors who's names I forget. In it the earth is in another ice age, brought on bt the Greens and Luddites who stopped all pollution and CO2 generation, which was what was holding the ice age off. These types had taken over society and government, forcing abandonment of technology, inappropriate tech and knowledge, and taking scientists and even Sci if fans and reeducating them. 

This meant the space platforms and moon base were abandoned and left on their own. They could get oxygen and hydrogen from moon rocks and such but needed nitrogen, as the air leaked slowly out no matter how well sealed the stations were, so they used scoop ships to skim the atmosphere and scoop up and compress air. The Greens and Econuts blamed the ice age on them for stealing hundreds of tons of our air(!). On a scoop ship run a scoop ship was shot down and landed on the glaciers in northern Michigan. They were rescued by science fiction fans who had all gone underground and had their networks across the country. 

A fun little book, kind of satire, not too serious, written in a way as a tribute to the fans and kind of a same caustic tweak of radical greens. 

Jeff

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elephant replied on Sun, Feb 16 2014 10:46 AM

Jeff:
I just finished reading "Fallen Angels" by Larry Nivem and two other coautho

your plot outline rings a bell - maybe I read it a long time ago - I have one of his latest waiting for me - I think its Ringworld revisited as a sphere Smile

 

Have you ever read any of Richard Morgan's novels ? "Broken Angels" being the one that resonated when I read your post, but the first in the series is "Altered Carbon".

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Wouter replied on Mon, Apr 28 2014 9:18 PM

I'm halfway through "why I left Goldman Sachs" I have to admit, up until now it only promotes the company... Any investment bankers here?

Wouter

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vikinger replied on Mon, Apr 28 2014 11:13 PM

Wouter:

I'm halfway through "why I left Goldman Sachs" I have to admit, up until now it only promotes the company... Any investment bankers here?

Not here, but read 'The Madness of Crowds' and you will see that certain thngs have been exploited for centuries!

Graham

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elephant replied on Mon, Apr 28 2014 11:40 PM

On the last day of the vacation I was stuck with all the luggage in a hotel lobby's library nook ... and I picked up a battered paperback by Robert Harris.

I got to page 45 before the taxi van arrived and so I simply had to buy a personal copy at CDG - not finding a bookstore amongst all the brand names in the mall that used to be called gate lounges I resorted to buying an electronic copy to read on the phone during the flight.

It's not a bad read and is called "The Ghost".

None the less it is airline fodder.

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Jeff replied on Tue, Apr 29 2014 1:56 AM

I've gone back a ways and am rereading the John Carter on Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. So far I'm remembering why I thought it was great fun back in college when I first read it. As in Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, there's something romantic and hypnotic about tales of a dying world with remnants of vanished civilizations. 

Speaking of Bradbury, I need to reread The Illustrated Man too.

Jeff

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elephant replied on Tue, Apr 29 2014 10:10 AM

Jeff:
rereading the John Carter on Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. So far I'm remembering why I thought it was great fun back in college when I first read it.

Never read it - but sort of enjoyed the movie.

I did however read as a 14 year old Captain (of Biggles fame) John's books about Mars - I think I still have one on a shelf somewhere ! 

At that time I really enjoyed Robert Heinlin's "children's" books.

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Jeff replied on Tue, Apr 29 2014 3:10 PM

elephant:

Jeff:
rereading the John Carter on Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. So far I'm remembering why I thought it was great fun back in college when I first read it.

Never read it - but sort of enjoyed the movie.

I did however read as a 14 year old Captain (of Biggles fame) John's books about Mars - I think I still have one on a shelf somewhere ! 

At that time I really enjoyed Robert Heinlin's "children's" books.

I liked the movie too, it wasn't as bad as the critics said but it still is a bit Disneyfied compared with the books. The Thalls who keep showing up and running things behind the scenes aren't in the books, and the Tharks are a lot more vicious and less human. Plus since it's several books the depth and breadth of the stories are greater. Deja Thoris is younger.

I know what you mean about Heinlein, I tended to outgrow him eventually as my tastes changed. Plus he got a lot more demented and libertine at the end. I also grew tired of Asimov. My favorite authors in the genre now tend to be Philip K. ***, Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe, Ray Bradbury, authors who are a bit more complicated and darker.

Jeff

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Wouter replied on Sat, May 3 2014 9:38 PM

vikinger:

Not here, but read 'The Madness of Crowds' and you will see that certain thngs have been exploited for centuries!

Graham

I'll add it to the to-read list! Next will be "Capital in the twenty-first century" I think.

Wouter

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My favorite sci fi writer has to be Ursula Le Guin. She writes really insightful allegorical stories with interesting social underpinnings. A great book to start with is Left Hand of Darkness which is about a race of people who go through physical gender transformations so that they could be one child's mother and another's father. Despite my inept description it is well written. In 1980 Bruce Davison starred in a made for TV movie based on one of her books a Lathe of Heaven.

John

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elephant:

On the last day of the vacation I was stuck with all the luggage in a hotel lobby's library nook ... and I picked up a battered paperback by Robert Harris.

I got to page 45 before the taxi van arrived and so I simply had to buy a personal copy at CDG - not finding a bookstore amongst all the brand names in the mall that used to be called gate lounges I resorted to buying an electronic copy to read on the phone during the flight.

It's not a bad read and is called "The Ghost".

None the less it is airline fodder.

Mission completed, a reasonable conspiracy read.  Must confess I did not see the final twist and its consequences coming . . . .

BeoNut since '75

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Jeff replied on Tue, Jun 17 2014 5:27 PM

Still slogging my way thru the entire Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter on Mars set, not as fast as some books, it's long and the style makes it harder for me to read long periods of it than I remember.

In the interim, I finished The Day The Sun Rose Twice about the Trinity atomic test, and to pardon the pun, fallout afterwards. Fascinating book, lots of interesting stuff you never hear about.

Now I've just started rereading the Ender series (starting with Ender's Game) by Orson Scott Card. I never made it thru all 5 the first time so am interested in trying to make it thru the whole series. I was prompted to do this by the fact that the movie Ender's Game has just come to the movie cable channels. I had planned on rereading it when I saw the movie in the theater but didn't get around to it until now.

So far, I'm amazed at how well they captured the book, given the confines of a short movie compared to a long book, and the need to make it nominally a kids movie in that they have kids that aren't brutalized by the training as much in the book. The kids are older too, it was amazing to be reminded in the book that when Ender was sent off to Battle School he was 6 years old. These were genius level kids that were being harshly and rapidly trained for an existential fight with an alien race. Enjoying the reread so far.

 

Jeff

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Just started reading 'A Man Called Ove' by Frederik Backman. 

Although only translated from the Swedish this year, the cover claims it to be an international best seller. It has already featured on BBC Radio 4 Book Club. 

I was attracted to the book by the fact that it features a grumpy old Saab driver. There are still a few of us about.

Graham

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elephant replied on Tue, Sep 9 2014 11:22 AM

vikinger:
a grumpy old Saab driver. There are still a few of us about.

Almost took a picture of a Saab convertible for you fellows.

It was parked around the corner in the sun.

Its hood was down.

However it had a severe case of liver spots and the odd melanoma across its bonnet.

 

As for the the ad's topic, I have just received the latest Jack Reacher novel ("Personal") and I have started reading that.

I love Lee Child's style - the down side is that I will rip through this in less than a week.

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Jeff replied on Wed, Sep 10 2014 2:40 AM

Currently reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir. It's about one of six astronauts on the third mission to Mars who gets left behind and stranded. Right after they landed a huge storm came up and they had to cancel the mission and leave, he got speared by an antenna and he was thought to be dead.  He's an engineer and botanist, and so far it's very technical and believable what he has to do to try and survive for four years until the next mission. The book alternates from his log entries to what NASA is doing after they figured out he's alive. Very enjoyable. 

Jeff

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Cleviebaby replied on Fri, Sep 19 2014 10:51 AM
vikinger:

I was attracted to the book by the fact that it features a grumpy old Saab driver. There are still a few of us about.

Graham

Indeed there are, Graham! And getting grumpier by the day. My local SAAB specialist repairer has just closed down their local operation.

Cleve

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vikinger replied on Fri, Sep 19 2014 5:08 PM

Cleviebaby:
vikinger:

I was attracted to the book by the fact that it features a grumpy old Saab driver. There are still a few of us about.

Graham

Indeed there are, Graham! And getting grumpier by the day. My local SAAB specialist repairer has just closed down their local operation.

Cleve

 Hi Cleve, sorry to hear that. Many dealers and specialists seem to have gone, and those surviving have mostly done so by diversifying with Saab becoming a bit of a sideline. There is a separate Saab thread, so apologies to all for taking this thread off topic!

Graham

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Rich replied on Tue, Sep 23 2014 5:35 PM

Bought David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks over the weekend.  Just under 100 pages in, and I'm as hooked as I was on Cloud Atlas.

Blah blah blah, blah blah ba ran

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Rich replied on Thu, Oct 23 2014 6:03 PM

Finished The Bone Clocks the weekend of October 10-12 while on a trip to Michigan.  I have such a backlog of unfinished books to read I'm not sure where to start....guess I'll just put another record on instead.  Big Smile

Blah blah blah, blah blah ba ran

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Jeff replied on Thu, Oct 23 2014 6:25 PM

Rich:

Finished The Bone Clocks the weekend of October 10-12 while on a trip to Michigan.  I have such a backlog of unfinished books to read I'm not sure where to start....guess I'll just put another record on instead.  Big Smile

I can relate, I seem to always have at least two or three books in progress at a time. I finished The Martian, very very good. I also read In The Sargasso Sea, a late 1800's book about a man stranded in the Sargasso Sea, which in the book is this impassable collection of weed in the Atlantic that scoops up and accumulates all the assorted wrecks and flotsam and jetsam of the ocean. He describes being lost in the collection of aged ships dating back 500 years, he tried to get to the edge and got lost and wandered for days among these decaying wrecks. Creepy and eerie.

Currently reading She, famous novel, and also a novelization of Asimov's short story Nightfall, about a planet that has 6 suns, once every 2000 years it happens that they get darkness, unheard of, so everyone goes insane and burns civilization down trying to get light. The short story was much better, the book drags everything out, and there's just not enough there for that, and it loses the impact of the short story. In the story by the time you figure out what's happening bam, the end of the world happens. You have so long to get ready in the novel it's not much of a shock.

Jeff

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Jeff replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 2:55 AM
Just finished Clive Barker's story The Hellbound Heart which the movie Hellraiser is based on. Really enjoyed it. Also reading The Egyptian by Watari Mika as I always was fascinated by the movie version as a kid. One scene in the movie where a Hittite iron sword was compared with an Egyptian bronze one was an early introduction to the kinds of power shifts technology can cause.

Jeff

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Rich replied on Thu, Nov 20 2014 6:15 PM

I picked up Doris Lessing's Shikasta at a used book store this week and began reading it.  I've been meaning to read the Canopus in Argos series for 20+ years and just never got around to it.  When Lessing died I vowed to begin reading the series within a year and finally have.

I also found 2 of the other 4 in the 5 book series.  In addition, several cassettes were purchased, including the Led Zeppelin boxed set.  I am now officially a hoarder:  I have the Led Zeppelin boxed set in LP, CD and cassette.

Blah blah blah, blah blah ba ran

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Jeff replied on Thu, Nov 20 2014 6:43 PM

Just looked Shikasta up, sounds interesting, I hadn't heard of this series before. Will be interested in your opinion once you've gotten into it.

I just finished "She." Greatly impressed, very interesting and had some truly creepy parts in it. My wife had been trying to get me to read it for years as she'd read it as a kid and was fascinated by it. I kept putting it off as I'd seen a couple of horrible movie adaptations of the book. Well, if that's also what's stopping you from reading it you should give it a try. The book is so completely different than any of the movies, and She Who Must Be Obeyed is a completely different character than the one dimensional tyrant the movies present, She is complex, powerful, and not the mindless evil tyrant portrayed in film. Much more layered and complex (and sympathetic) character, and an enjoyable fantasy romp.

Just started reading the "official" novelization of the movie Alien, so far it's interesting and well written, and just enough different from the movie in places to be unpredictable, even though the main plot points are the same. Very interesting and deeper character development of the different crew members, you understand them a lot better by reading the book.

Jeff

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