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Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
False start on Some Summer Lands as I realized I should probably read some of the books I got for Christmas. Mr. Comrade and the Nigerian Princess got me a book by Octavia Butler
Thanks for the heads up about the Clockshop and Huntington celebrations. I remember reading something about it on the Huntington's website but I'd forgotten about it.
When I went to school in Santa Monica my sister would point out this house she said Octavia Butler used to stay at. One of those small Santa Monica stucco bungalows they've probably torn down by now.
Celestial Healer wrote:
Burroughs, along with the other Beats, is one of my dad's obsessions.
I've finished A is for Arsenic, and I've started the last book in the Darwath trilogy. So far it's not so bad, but there's more of a Shaver-like bent to the story once the protagonists start confronting the monstrous "Dark" (a collective monster kind of like a cloaker with ESP and magic).
"[Describing chiral compounds by analogy] Hands have identical components (fingers, thumb, palms and so on) but they are arranged slightly differently on each hand, forming mirror images that cannot be superimposed onto each other (hence the labeling in chiral compounds: l- for laveo, 'left' in Latin, and d- for dextro, 'right.'"
--A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup.
I finished book two in the Darwath trilogy. Man, was it a slog! It felt like a big book with a skinny book inside it waiting to get out... and it was only about 300 pages! But I'm still probably going to read the last book, "The Armies of Daylight" because I do want to find out what happens to the protagonists. This trilogy isn't really a recommend from me, but YMMV. Be prepared for cardboard villains if you do read it.
I'm now reading A is for Arsenic: the poisons of Agatha Christie by chemist Kathryn Harkup. I'm already at H in the alphabet-titled chapters: H is for Hemlock. If you are a Christie fan and/or a chemistry fan, pick this book up! It goes into all the details about the drugs Christie uses in her novels, the real-life cases that inspired her (and that she inspired!) and how the drugs function to disrupt the body's systems.
In the wings: The Devil's Rooming House: the true story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer. I picked this one up at the library and just KNOW I'm going to enjoy it! This is the true case that inspired the classic play/movie Arsenic and Old Lace.
I liked table-reading Shakespeare when I was in college. I felt I learned the most with that combination of hands-on acting and reading, with background reading/research sloughing off of it as needed. I also really liked Shakespeare in high school, but I was reading him on my own as well at the time so I didn't have much trouble with his language. After the weak-sauce of "Romeo and Juliet" I got to study "Henry IV" - & my English elective teacher looked like Falstaff!
They had an article on the recent DVD release of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Los Angeles Times today. It works as a film, apparently because Tom Stoppard directed it. But it is also post-Walter Benjamin's "Task of the Translator", an Absurdist play working on different levels. Which is kind of why I like Julie Taymor's film "Titus" and her adaptation of "The Lion King" as a play. Things don't always have to resemble themselves. Plays can be films, if the difference of the medium is respected. Kurosawa's "Ran" is a great movie! & I own a comic-book version of the Iliad!
However, my favorite "Hamlet" movie is the scene in Last Action Hero, with Arnold. ; P
Aaron Bitman wrote:
I tried to go back to my undergrad notes and realized the computer they were on was stolen years ago! I think the text I read this in was "The Origins of the Gothic" but it could have been any number of books. Literary Women maybe? WH was written in a Gothic style while not being strictly (or actually) a gothic novel (it's a Victorian novel). The actions taken by the characters ape the extreme psychology and cluelessness of those in Ann Radcliff (which Jane Austen also mimics/satirizes in Northanger Abbey, and which Charlotte Bronte takes more seriously in her themes in Jane Ayre, though that story is partly biographical). I think that's the sum of it.
Mentions Larry Turtledove...
Gregory Feely has a great essay about alternative history and its discontents in his introduction to his short story "The Crab Lice" in Nebula Awards 33. "The Crab Lice" is about the impossibility of alt-hist fiction and the role of the author to effect change. "The Crab Lice" is one of my favorite short stories! Anyway, you aren't the only one who can't stand Harry Turtledove.
Foucault's Pendulum = awesome. Though perhaps not quite as awesome as Michel Foucault, who really has nothing to do with the book. (I had gone in expecting it to be related to his post-structuralist theory and it wasn't, though it is slightly related in that there are the traditional Eco-ian concerns with semiotics).
I couldn't stand Wuthering Heights when I read it as a teenager, but years later I learned it was intended as satire and it completely changed my view of the novel.
The only book I ever really had a hate on for was Humans by Donald E. Westlake. I threw that book across the room and enjoyed the smacking sound it made as it hit the wall. Too bad it was a library book.
I'm still reading Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark. It's taking waaaay too long because my suspension of disbelief keeps getting un-suspended. Some parallels to our own world I can stand and accept because they're all part of the portal-fantasy genre: Earth-like gravity, horses, similar weather, etc. This isn't sci-fi, it's fantasy. But she goes too far! Why are the signs of the zodiac the same ones we have in Western culture when they are so obviously specific to the late Greek & Roman cultures of Western Europe? Why is the main symbol of the faith a cross (with no alternate explanation or meaning because a cross in itself could signify lots of things, leaving me to assume Jesus somehow died for the sins of the people of this fantasy world, too?)
Other than that, Hambly is great at describing things, and the "dark" is a really cool concept. Still, not as creepy/scary as I'd anticipated.
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Except in "With folded hands..."
the humans don't take back control, and most of them are totally find with their new robot overlords; it's just that one paranoid guy who thinks its awful. When he tries to take back control, he fails miserably. Your summary of Wall-E reminded me of that story. That's all.
Here are some other writers' perspectives on writing long series fantasy fiction:
I read a dual-language edition of the Quijote/Quixote. I'm trying to improve my Spanish.
I think I'd like The Alloy of Law, since I'd like to read more fantasy/western genre, but I haven't read the Mistborn books. Would I be lost picking up Alloy without having read the previous novels? Or should I stick to reading a plain-old Western?
Following Kajehase's example:
1) Don Quixote, by Cervantes. Loads of humor and much more lighthearted than the Dale Wasserman musical!
2) Hold Tight, Don't Let Go, by Laura Rose Wagner. Set in Haiti after the earthquake, this is the only book that made me cry this year. Excellent!
3) Nightglass, by Liane Merciel. For a story set in Nidal, very tastefully done and the traditional redemption arc made me feel good. It reminded me I haven't read a Western in a long time.
I started Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark. Book 1 of the Darwath trilogy. So far it is not as weird/scary as I'd expected it to be. I also had this strange notion that it would be closer to Francis Steven's style of portal fantasy than L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s. It's not... But it's hard to get that gonzo and still be publishable.
I kinda want to write some Francis Stevens fan-fiction.
Thanks, Hitdice and thejeff!
I like "action/adventure-ey." What I found boring about the Spellsong Cycle was that Modesitt spent a lot more words worldbuilding than he did moving the plot along or giving new insights into the characters. I found his lengthy descriptions of meals and landscapes annoying. He only needed to go into Anna's voracious appetite to fuel her magic once; he didn't need to describe each time she ate! Also, there were some weird shifts in tense and point of view.
I ordered some more portal fantasy from my local library for next year. Barbara Hambly's Darwath series.
So has anyone read the Darwath series, or any of Barbara Hambly's other books? What did you think?
I finished The Girl with Ghost Eyes.
It was excellent! All the kung-fu and monster-killing action I could want. My only peeve is
that Li-lin isn't reconciled with her father at the end. I understand it had to be that way, he had to reject her, but it just made me sad in an otherwise satisfying ending.
One caveat: anyone looking for "authentic Chinese wuxia" should probably read an authentic Chinese author - this book is more "Kung Fury" meets "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," as it says on the inside cover. Read it for the fun, not its historical accuracy or authenticity.
My first Pratchett book was "Reaper Man." I hadn't even heard of any of the others at the time, but there was nothing in it that you had to know from prior books: it was enjoyable on its own.
Like the rest of Pratchett, it is full of pop-culture references. In "Reaper Man" it does help if you've seen zombie movies or have a passing familiarity with George Romero's oeuvre.
Have you read the sequels, too? What do you think of Eight Skilled Gentlemen as the concluding volume? I found the plot in BoB the most straightforward of the trilogy, but in its own way ESG just has this luminescence to it - despite the nearly impossible-to-follow plot.
My bad, I should have said "Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi" for all the people who might be confused. It set a high bar that other films like Krull couldn't live up to.
Also: the name of this thread is "Bad movies you actually like."
Krull is a bad movie I actually like. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.
Why it bombed: sci-fi fantasy mashup with cheesy special effects and plot (didn't help that it went up against "Star Wars" during its release).
Why it rocks: soundtrack, cheesy-aweome sets, so very, very Dungeons & Dragons in the manner of its sci-fantasy mashing. Really the whole reason I like Numeria in Pathfinder is because I saw "Krull" as a kid.
I guess it's nostalgia for my misspent youth, but I still like the movie.
CI also has some of Frank Langella's worst acting moments ever caught on film, and that's including the 2000 mini-series of Jason and the Argonauts, a Dino de Laurentiis production (he was also a producer on Flash Gordon!).
Finished The Madman of Piney Woods. It was entertaining, but not as good as the first book in the series. There were some loose plot threads at the end, mostly about the guy who
shoots the madman of piney woods... and whom we never hear about again; you'd think there'd be consequences, but no.
Now I'm continuing with The Hare with Amber Eyes.. The plot (what there is of it for a biographical non-fiction book that covers four generations) seems to be picking up, now that the netsuke have reached Vienna and the family drama is becoming more intense.
One of my coworkers loved this book; my mom didn't even finish it. I'm on the fence - it's too good to stop reading, but not so good as to not be able to put it down. It's one of those "in-between" books: the kind you read in-between other books, and on trips to the dentist and such.
I finished Nightblade. It was fun and distracting, but not as good as Nightglass. Isiem didn't have as strong a character arc in the sequel and despite some of the interesting things that could have been done with Ascaros' character, the plot remained a pretty standard dungeon crawl.
Now I'm reading some juvenile hist-fic: The Madman of Piney Wood, by Christopher Paul Curtis. It's a sequel to Elijah of Buxton with a split narrative (2 main viewpoint characters). Starts out with strong, distinct voices for the characters but I can already feel the plot points coming a mile away, and there was bit of awkward exposition that I didn't expect from Curtis in the first chapter.
Cole Deschain wrote:
I think you're right. Though it may be asking to much to draw any direct parallels between the Kansari and any real-world culture.
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
What is it with Native American-inspired cultures and giant elevators? Atruaghin Clans in Mystara, Tauren in Warcraft, this... is there some real-world reference of which I'm completely unaware?
There's a Buffalo connection... but that's really, really tenuous given it's just a homonym and doesn't have much to do with actual bison.This Link includes more about the inventor's connection to Native Americans.