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For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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markabaddon
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Postby markabaddon » Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:26 am

Barber,

No need to apologize, we have disagreed before and undoubtedly will do so again. Is Slan on the same level as Canticle? No, I would say it is not but I did think it was a refreshing and original story.

What I particularly like was the intepretation of telepaths/slans to have a physical difference (their tendrils) that set them apart from the rest of the human race. Adding in the third race of tendril-less slans and accusations of atrocities by all sides made the story very complex.

While I felt the last scene was rather predictable, I was unable to determine where the story was going until that point.

JohnG comments are spot on. I would describe the book as great on ideas, a strong sense of idealism and wonder, but the writing style takes may nto appeal to all readers. It worked for me, but I can totally understand how it might have a more limited appeal now
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:22 pm

I bought "A Canticle for Leibowitz" on the recommendation of a clerk in a used bookstore. I had mentioned to him that I enjoyed Pohl's "Coming of the Quantum Cats" and its alternative realities. Of course, the novel is more of an alternative future history. I liked the story's suggestion that saints and prophets might really be ordinary people who became immortalized through circumstance.

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:20 am

Mr Barber mentioned ALAS BABYLON, a personal fave from way back, and probably the best of the "After the Bomb" novels. As far as I know it has not been out of print since its publication in the early 60s which is remarkable on the face of it.

CANTICLE of course has always been one of those novels you give snooty literary types who think SF is just junk. It never fails to confound expectations. And then you give them something like Silverberg's DYING INSIDE or BOOK OF SKULLS. And then you polish them off with Lem or the Strugatsky Brothers (who sadly are out of print in English except for FAR RAINBOW! How can ROADSIDE PICNIC or HARD TO BE A GOD be out of print in the US!?!)

The best Van Vogt are the short stories beginning in the late 30s and running through the 40s. After that there is a marked drop in quality. The NESFA edition is definitely the way to go.

Carstonio if you like alternative realities look for Ward Moore's BRING THE JUBILEE (does for the Civil War what Dick's MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE did for WW2). And if you like that look for GREENER THAN YOU THINK.

It sucks how many great books languish in obscurity while STAR TREK adaptations sell in the millions.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:13 pm

Striber basically went nuts, thinking he was abducted by Aliens, and he milked that in a series of books. His books have confused a flock of gulled little doe-eyed geeks. Harlan is right to be ticked off.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:47 am

-- The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, by Niall Ferguson (making good progress; I'm on p. 474)

-- Let There Be Rock: The Story of AC/DC, by Susan Masino (almost finished; as rock bios go, this one's pretty lame, so it'll be fun to review for the California Literary Review)

-- Germinal, Emile Zola (my book group's December selection)

-- A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson (book group's January selection; it's fairly big, so I thought I'd get started on it early, but it's also the kind of book you can leave off for several weeks and not really get lost, since it's in discrete chapters of info)


What I'm looking forward to next: an advance reading copy of Out of Thin Air: dinosaurs, birds, and earth's ancient atmosphere, by Peter Ward[/i]
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:31 pm

Everybody should read Possessed, The Rise And Fall Of Prince, by Alex Hahn. Will make your socks call out to Allah.

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:08 am

"A War Against the Truth" by Paul William Roberts, a long time Middle-East, Iraq correspondant. As vicious a condemnation of the invasion as any your likely to read. . .

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:07 pm

Is he a radical Steve?

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markabaddon
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Postby markabaddon » Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:13 pm

Just finished The Old Gods Awaken by Manly Wade Welman. Not sure if this is still in print or not, but it was tremendous. Almost like an updated version of Lovecraft. Ezra, if you have not ever read this, I think, based on books you have mentioned in the past, that you would greatly enjoy it.

The story is a fairly tight one, with a local bard-type character running into two brothers who live on a remote mountaintop who are trying to bring back some old Indian and Druidic gods.

More later if anyone is interested, off to catch a bus.
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Postby Moderator » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:19 pm

markabaddon wrote:Just finished The Old Gods Awaken by Manly Wade Welman.



Mark - This is one of my favorite books. You'll be happy to know that Wellman wrote a number of "John" novels and stories over the years. You're right, Old Gods was a terrific read.

I just picked up and am enjoying Ralph Steadman's THE JOKE'S OVER about his time with Hunter S. Thompson.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:55 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Is he a radical Steve?



More likely a radical Paul.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:02 pm

David, you get a kiss and a light weenie rub for that.

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:03 am

I finished Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation" and I am two-thirds through Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion." Great books. I was greatly saddened when I read about this study:

http://hometown.aol.com/toexist/ltn09.html

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:25 am

Carstonio wrote:I was greatly saddened when I read about this study:

http://hometown.aol.com/toexist/ltn09.html



I don't find this study that surprising, or even disturbing. As I understand it, small children are more interested in justice and rules than mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.

What would be more disturbing is if you got the same figures from a survey of adults. I think the numbers would be better there -- say, 25 percent A, 50 percent B, and 25 percent C, ballpark . . . though that's not a GREAT improvement, granted.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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markabaddon
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Postby markabaddon » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:42 am

Steve, after finishing the book I looked up Manly and saw that there were a number of other Silver John books, both novels and short story collections. I am not sure they are in print any longer, but will definitely keep an eye out for them at Half Price Books.

For those who have a chance to read it, the stories are excellent and well worth your time.

Going to have to agree with David's assessment on that study, that I did not find the results surprising. It simply reinforces that religion can be used to justify any atrocity. In the study they used a control group and substituted Joshua for General Lin and Israel for China 3,000 years ago and found markedly different results.

I once asked my rabbi about the level of violence in the Torah, using both the Fall of Jericho and the destruction of Amalek as examples. His response was that God was not perfect yet. Since I like the rabbi, I declined to bring up the idea of omnipotence and how that factored into his response
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class


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