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

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:35 pm

A friend of mine also recently came out of the Born-Again closet, and I'm waiting for the fossil record speech.

In anticipation I'm slogging through Darwin: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Howard. It is proving of very limited use so far.

Finally dug up a copy of Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and am enjoying it a great deal. Often these classics need to be forced down like broccoli, but not Twain.

My favorate Vonnegut is probably Bluebeard or God Bless you Mr. Rosewater. Humour and humanity abounds.

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Vonnegut

Postby Tony Rabig » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:36 pm

David,

"Harrison Bergeron" still holds up (as does "Monkey House") and if memory serves "Report on the Barnhouse Effect" might be worth a look. And "Who Am I This Time?" is worth a look too. (Assuming you haven't checked 'em out already. Which you probably have.)

And re: "Who Am I This Time?" -- PBS ran an adaptation of this as part of the American Playhouse series, and it was finally put on DVD last year. Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon were delightful in it.

Bests,
--tr

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:52 pm

I'm assuming all the titles you've named are from Welcome to the Monkey House, Tony. It's been aeons since I read it, so I don't remember a thing from it, except for "The Long Walk to Forever," a rather sappy, un-Vonnegutlike (and incidentally autobiographical) love story that I encountered first in the Martin Levin collection Love Stories.

I haven't managed to score a copy yet, but I hope to in the next couple of days. That book may be my salvation for this gig.
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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Vonnegut

Postby Tony Rabig » Tue May 01, 2007 5:21 am

David,

All three are in WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE.

"Report on the Barnhouse Effect" was also included in the anthology TOMORROW, THE STARS, and "Harrison Bergeron" was included in one of Gunn's ROAD TO SCIENCE FICTION volumes. Not sure about other anthology appearances for "Who Am I This Time?"

Bests,
--tr

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 03, 2007 10:09 am

Did I say I was disappointed in Vonnegut?

I take that back. My friends Joe and Jamie (Laura knows 'em, even though I think they've never met) cadged a new copy of Welcome to the Monkey House from a far suburban Barnes and Noble yesterday and handed it to me from their car at 6:00.

I've now read half of it, and it's WONDERFUL!

Almost every story is a joy and a delight of one sort or another. "Who Am I This Time?" is indeed a treasure (Walken and Sarandon? interesting. . . .); "Harrison Bergeron" is admittedly fine in an edgy sort of way, but I liked the quirky "Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog," the taut Cold War thriller ""All the King's Horses," and the utterly sui generis "Hyannis Port Story" better.

Like somebody else we could name, Vonnegut strikes me as so much better at the trim short story form. There's so much more variety of style and subject matter than in his short but flabby novels, which play on the same themes and catchphrases over and over.

Current best candidates for Monday's reading: "Miss Temptation" (one of the best and entertaining analyses of social gender relations I've seen in a a while) and the tongue-in-cheek noir "Next Door."
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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Postby FrankChurch » Thu May 03, 2007 2:07 pm

Vonnegut is in my top ten, so is Bukowski. As you can see I fall nuts over descriptive writing. A good tale is never enough, but I do love a good tale, go figure.

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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 03, 2007 2:18 pm

I should add that I'm on the downside of Player Piano, and that, too, is very very good -- maybe even better than Slaughterhouse-Five for writing quality and craft, as opposed to just the rocking great story.

Its hero and his situation/response to it reminded me a little of Richard Yates's stunning Revolutionary Road, which came along a few years later and is a tigher, more sardonic book, but there are similarities. Imagine my grin when, last night, I read the newest piece in Monkeyhouse, a review of the new Random House dictionary, circa 1967, and it mentions that Vonnegut has been hanging with Yates. They were probably drinking buddies a bit, in those days.
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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Postby FrankChurch » Fri May 04, 2007 2:43 pm

Bukowski's problem was that he had too many drinking buddies.

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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 10, 2007 8:22 am

The File - Timothy Garton Ash

been wanting to read this for years -- used to see his byline a lot when I read "The New Republic"; it's about reading the Stasi file and learning about all the friends and neighbors who reported on him to the government when he was a student and journalist in East Berlin in 1980; I was inspired to turn to it finally by "The Lives of Others," of course

The Last Chinese Chef - Nicole Mones

brand-new novel by a friend that I want to get read before her publishing party next Friday

Short Stories - Jack London

looking for material to record
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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Postby markabaddon » Thu May 10, 2007 9:26 am

About halfway through The Best of Henry Kuttner, a short story author who was prolific through the 1940s and 1950s. Ray Bradbury does the introduction to this collection, which he titled "A Neglected Master," and I would say he is correct in this regard.

The first story in the collection "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" is one of the more unique time travel stories I have read. Especially from this story, I can see how Kuttner influenced Bradbury, especially in his representation of children.

I have read about 7 or 8 stories so far and their quality ranges from excellent (Mimsy, Two Handed Engine), to just merely good (Or Else).

I have no idea how I have never heard of this author before, but his writing is on par with some of the other masters of the Golden Age.

Are others familiar with his writing, or is this a case of a truly great writer becoming a "Neglected Master?"
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 » Thu May 10, 2007 10:39 am

David Loftus wrote:looking for material to record


David - Might I suggest three of my all-time favorite short(-ish) stories: Raymond Carver's A Small Good Thing, Ernest Hemingway's The Hills Like White Elephants and Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer Abroad (actually, more of a novella).

None of the three, to my knowledge, have ever been adequately recorded.
- 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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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 10, 2007 10:56 am

I've never read Kuttner and/or his partner C.L. Moore, but have occasionally heard them cited in reverent tones from the Golden Age of SF.

I was an extra (and observing journalist) on a Jeff Daniels/Ariana Richards movie written and directed by David Twohy (shortly to become more famous for his screenplays for "The Fugitive" and "The Arrival") back in the summer of 1990. It was based on the Kuttner/Moore novella "Vintage Season," working title "The Grand Tour."

It went straight to video as "Disaster in Time" . . . although I notice it's gotten positive reviews on the IMDb from British viewers who have seen it on TV as "Timescape."
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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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 10, 2007 10:58 am

Barber wrote:David - Might I suggest three of my all-time favorite short(-ish) stories: Raymond Carver's A Small Good Thing, Ernest Hemingway's The Hills Like White Elephants and Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer Abroad (actually, more of a novella).

None of the three, to my knowledge, have ever been adequately recorded.



The first two are out, at least until I become a real professional audio reader/recorder, because they're undoubtedly copyrighted and I can only work with material in the public domain for recording purposes.

I read a bunch of Twain for Story Time a year ago, but am not familiar with that one.
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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Kuttner/Moore

Postby Tony Rabig » Thu May 10, 2007 11:43 am

Run, do not walk, to your sf dealer or to the Science Fiction Book Club's site (gotta be a club member) and order TWO-HANDED ENGINE. "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (recently filmed as The Last Mimzy--don't know how good a job they did, because I haven't seen it), "Vintage Season," and "A Cross of Centuries" are each easily worth the price of admission.

Bests to all,
--tr

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Postby Moderator » Thu May 10, 2007 11:51 am

From the everluvin' Wikipedia:

Tom Sawyer Abroad is a novel by Mark Twain published in 1894. It features Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in a parody of Jules Verne-esque adventure stories. In the story, Tom, Huck, and Jim set sail to Africa in a futuristic hot air balloon, where they survive encounters with lions, robbers, and fleas to see some of the world's greatest wonders, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx.


It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Not Twain's best, but certainly a lot of fun.
- 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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