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The Athenaeum - Reading updates and Literary Review from the Obsidian Elite (this means you)

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45 minutes ago, the_dog_days said:

I hate the Starship Troopers movie. Not because I love the book, but I think it's sh!tty in a world where parody is perfectly legal to make a parody and slap the name of the thing you're lampooning and sell it to the fans with the intention of provoking them. I don't care what the IP is (book, movie, comic, romance, sci-fi, slice-of-life), don't buy the use of it to make a product that makes fun of the original and call it an adaptation. The Starship Troopers movie is probably the world's most expensive troll and it's proportionally a d!ck move.

I think you mean satire. I mean, you are correct that it is basically trolling the original content, but I disagree that it makes our world crappy. I think it is great that we can satirize basically everything, and a gung-ho propaganda book pushed out during the Cold War seems to be a perfect subject. If they didn't use the same name, it is arguable that people would really make the satirical connection. Heck, enough people struggle to recognize it for more than a standard action flick.

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Finished Long Shot, wasn't too bad.  Certainly was interesting to read the guy's path from Iran to fighting in Kobani, some funny moments as well. The one that sticks with me is whe he overhears the following on the radio

ISIS Soldier : We need assistance!

ISIS Commander : God is great!

ISIS Soldier : Yes, I know God is great, but we need help urgently!

Certainly is something absurd enough to believe out of a warzone.   Is naturally some overstated praise of the Kurds, as well.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Currently reading and thoroughly enjoying:

51mDujIhtcL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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On 6/10/2019 at 7:19 AM, Malcador said:

Going to start Voices from Chernobyl, the show gave me the idea to perhaps read a book on it rather than TV documentaries.   After Hue, that might be a bit too depressing though.

I just finished that.  An incredible, moving work.  I hope and expect it moved you too, and I encourage others to read it too.

For those who don't know, Svetlana Alexievich, the Nobel-winning author, is a journalist by trade, but she prefers to call her reporting documentary fiction.  Sigrid Nunez, another writer I enjoy, describes Alexievich's work this way: "Alexievich makes it possible for people to be heard, to get their stories told, whether they can write beautiful sentences or not."   (That's a quote from Nunez' beautiful novel _The Friend_, the book I finished just prior to picking up _Voices From Chernobyl_. )

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15 hours ago, blue said:

I just finished that.  An incredible, moving work.  I hope and expect it moved you too, and I encourage others to read it too.

For those who don't know, Svetlana Alexievich, the Nobel-winning author, is a journalist by trade, but she prefers to call her reporting documentary fiction.  Sigrid Nunez, another writer I enjoy, describes Alexievich's work this way: "Alexievich makes it possible for people to be heard, to get their stories told, whether they can write beautiful sentences or not."   (That's a quote from Nunez' beautiful novel _The Friend_, the book I finished just prior to picking up _Voices From Chernobyl_. )

Eh, opened with the very depressing tale of the firefighter and his wife. The monologues seem a bit disjointed, but isn't too bad.


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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On 6/7/2019 at 2:29 PM, Guard Dog said:

Nothing from the man himself but multiple sources say Rothfuss's Doors of Stone will be out 8/2020: https://lrmonline.com/news/third-kingkiller-chronicle-book-gets-2020-release-date/

Will think twice if I'll read that book. No way is he finishing the series in the 3rd book, and I don't want to wait for him stop doing everything else and get to writing.

On 5/25/2019 at 1:16 PM, Guard Dog said:

OK, I'm done with Sanderson. I see no point in reading any more of that series. It's not that it's bad, it's unoriginal. I think some of Kaladin's lines were later cut and pasted into his WoT books for Mat Cauthon. Good fantasy writing is rare IMO and stands out when you find it. This ain't it. 

I mean what is original. He gave his twist to the epic fantasy formula. Character writing is maybe not his strongest suit, but it certainly isn't bad. I guess the world building and plot are interesting enough for me.

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House of X #1

For those not into comic books, this is the start of the new X-Men series by legendary comic writer Jonathan Hickman. He's famous particularly for two previous series he did with Fantastic Four and Avengers. In both there'd be two separate series telling one combined story. Fantastic Four / FF (Future Foundation) then Avengers / New Avengers. The Avengers run lead to the quite popular Secret Wars story of 2015. Here we've got House of X and Powers of X. Only this first issue has come out today.

And man is it a doozy. The X-Men are now living in a pocket dimension inside Krakoa, declaring a new mutant nation with Magneto as the ambassador. Offering revolutionary medicines to the world in exchange for recognition. But everything about it is fishy as ****. Dead characters have popped up and joined this new nation without fanfare. Everyone is acting suspicious. There's talk about omega mutants and reclassification of them. The situation is so worrisome that organizations like STRIKE, SWORD, AIM, and even a small contingent of freaking HYDRA are working together to build what I can only presume is an interstellar ark out of a planet killing superweapon and a Sentinel.


"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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Now reading 

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&

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"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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Finished Voices from Chernobyl. Good read, was nice to put names at least to the event and was interesting hearing perspectives on it. Certainly was depressing to read the tales of the kids in Belarus affected by it.

Now have some 40k novels to knock off, while I look for something interesting.


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Read a book called Scott and Amundsen: The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford.

415fHip6t3L.jpg

 

Very interesting read on the lifes of Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott, culiminating in their race to the south pole. Huntford attempts to deconstruct the Scott hero myth that started after his death. The book shows how unfair history has been to Amundsen, who while being flawed, in truth should be remembered as one the greatest polar explorer of all time. He was the first to reach the south pole, first to pass through the North-west passage, and later the first to reach the North pole by plane. The amount of preperation and training he did for all of this is pretty damn impressing, including living with and learning from the Netsilik inuit people.

Scott on the other hand, was remembered as a great British hero - but is in the book presented as largely incompetent. Huntford uses Scott's diaries, and the diaries of his men, to present a terrible leader who saw enemies in everyone (he detested Shackleton), always made up excuses, and complained about bad luck (which Amundsen would call bad planning).

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On 8/14/2019 at 5:54 AM, Maedhros said:

Read a book called Scott and Amundsen: The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford.

415fHip6t3L.jpg

 

Very interesting read on the lifes of Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott, culiminating in their race to the south pole. Huntford attempts to deconstruct the Scott hero myth that started after his death. The book shows how unfair history has been to Amundsen, who while being flawed, in truth should be remembered as one the greatest polar explorer of all time. He was the first to reach the south pole, first to pass through the North-west passage, and later the first to reach the North pole by plane. The amount of preperation and training he did for all of this is pretty damn impressing, including living with and learning from the Netsilik inuit people.

Scott on the other hand, was remembered as a great British hero - but is in the book presented as largely incompetent. Huntford uses Scott's diaries, and the diaries of his men, to present a terrible leader who saw enemies in everyone (he detested Shackleton), always made up excuses, and complained about bad luck (which Amundsen would call bad planning).

This one is definitely going on my "to do" list

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"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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I read James Clavell's Shogun when I was a teenager. Loved it. Never read the rest of the books in the "Asia Series". So two nights ago I bought all six on my Kindle. That should keep me busy for a little while. Now reading

The-Asian-Saga-by-James-Clavell-Complete


"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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69915494_1997897566976347_49632782002610

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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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On 6/22/2019 at 6:59 AM, Hurlshot said:

I think you mean satire. I mean, you are correct that it is basically trolling the original content, but I disagree that it makes our world crappy. I think it is great that we can satirize basically everything, and a gung-ho propaganda book pushed out during the Cold War seems to be a perfect subject. If they didn't use the same name, it is arguable that people would really make the satirical connection. Heck, enough people struggle to recognize it for more than a standard action flick.

I would add that it's quite possible that some of the doofuses who watched the movie, which sucked on its own merits, might actually check out the book.  I seriously doubt it hurt book sales when the movie came out.  I would agree with dog-days that the movie seemed more in line with parody, although I can't say what the exact difference would be.  I suppose satire aspires to make a larger comment about the original while parody seeks only comic value?  Kind of like Weird Al Yankovich and "Like a Surgeon?"  I don't care.  The book was much more than propaganda in my reading.  Heinlein had some good books.  The politics of the book were quite whacky, but... :shrug:  It was ahead of its time in forecasting a lot of issues from the US involvement in Vietnam.  Yeah, the French were involved there and whatnot, and war... war never changes, but it was still a good read on what we had in store.


The woodwork beckons.

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Taking a break from Clavel with this one:

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"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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I got some reading done during my vacation. Y'know, sitting on a balcony with my Kindle in hand, watching the bay and enjoying the breeze is something I could really get used to. Finished the first two Harry Potter novels (which I got as my monthly Amazon Prime e-book for August and September) and grabbed a few things from Prime Reading, like The Forever War and I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.

Them Potter books were more entertaining than I imagined. I'm curious to see how much different the later films were because the first two were pretty faithful to the source material, and I heard that changed with the third one. Not curious enough to buy the books early though. Heh. :)

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