|Charlie Bell RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16|
|Judy Bauer Editor|
Just finished Northwest of Earth, just started Black God's Kiss. So far I like Jirel better than NW.
I kind of felt like I got bait-and-switched with NW Smith. I went in expecting more Han Solo and less Lovecraft. The plot of all the NW Smith stories is more or less, "NW Smith makes a Will save."
Jirel, on the other hand, is still surreal, but also visceral. And she's more fallible than NW Smith, which also makes her more interesting.
I am going to start "Life of Pi" for the second time, tonight. Reading fiction tends to make me cry, but I'm going to give it my best shot.
There seems to be something curious about consciously labeling something one is reading as "propaganda."
It is what it is. I got hold of Stalin's collected works - I can't imagine anyone reading those for chuckles by any means (I'm certainly not), but it helps if you know what to expect...
As an antidote (of sorts), the first compilation of Thieves' World stories. Like it a lot!
"Propaganda," in the United States, as far as I know, goes back to the Creel Commission which brought cutting edge (of the day) psychological techniques to the dissemination of information favorable to the government. According to The Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges, a lot of these guys go on in the decades ahead to invent advertising and the whole world of Mad Men that Samnell loves so much.
In Marxism, "propaganda" goes back to an essay by pioneering Russian Marxist Georgi V. Plekhanov. He defined "propaganda" as the dissemination of many ideas to the few (a theoretical journal) vs. "agitation" which was one idea dissemintated to the many (a strike leaflet).
I, of course, mostly use the term preemptively to describe socialist newspapers. Mainly, I've been reading old issues of Workers Vanguard from around 2004-2005. WV is published by the Spartacist League, who are kind of like the Internet Trolls of Trotskyism, and are, thus, my all-time faves.
Vive le Galt!
EDIT: Stalin was a notoriously terrible writer. Lenin was very dry, but if you like flamewars, he's definitely got his moments. Trotsky, of course, was pretentious and, perhaps, overly florid.
At least, in their English translations.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Every time I read Hedges' name I want to be sick, but he's right here. The Creel Commission played a huge role in turning a public that was generally isolationist and decidedly less than enthused with the military (America has a long history of distrusting the military that vanished down the memory hole after WWII established the perpetual warfare state.) into one far more ready to go to war.
Finished Cabal. The epilogue was a tacked on short story that wasn't nearly as compelling as the author thought, though it ended with a decent joke.
I still don't know which of the above I want to go with. Foner or Morgan would be helpful to a blogging project I plan to start up on November 6* but I have a lot of time yet and they're both in paper. (I can probably buy Foner as an ebook, but I already own the tree corpse.) I much prefer reading ones and zeroes these days.
*A No Prize to the first who guesses what I'm plotting.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Back when I lived in San Francisco the medical marijuana was on the ballot; some all-to-earnest kid on the Muni was handing out bumper stickers; I took one, saying "Well, honestly? I don't smoke it for medical reasons, but I'll gladly carry the propaganda around."
Sez he: "Nono, it's not propaganda!"
Dovetailing with another thread, I said, "Dude, it's literally propaganda."
Just finished Nicola Griffith's The Blue Place. When a writer describes the sensation of falling in love as
Spoiler:you should not expect a happy ending.
"I know how the hawk's mate felt when she returned with the hare and they ripped the flesh from its bones and swallowed the raw muscle and skin and stared into each others' eyes,"
EDIT: Stalin was a notoriously terrible writer.
I'd agree with that, especially the theoretical stuff, which is widely slated both for style and content. His journalistic stuff approaches readability (sometimes), even though you can tell it's just the precursor for some poor Menshevik/Anarchist/Bundist sleeping with the fishes.
I have never read Workers Vanguard, which I think is called Workers Hammer over here (successor paper? Splinter group?), but Cde Doodlebug may want to try to find the CPGB's Weekly Worker if he enjoys Snarksist-Leninism...
Ooh! Thank you, I must look into it!
And I am so happy that I have finally ran into someone familiar with the Sparts! Yes, they publish Workers Hammer over there.
I once attended a Billy Bragg concert where he was mocking various Trotskyoid groups and he referred to it as the Druids Hammer. Hee hee!
Nothing yet Just finished a whole set of books though.
How the Irish Saved Civilization The Untold story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill
I finished a few others recentally but can not recall the names. Will post them when I recall the names.
Life of Pi
Finished An Abundance of Katherines, which ended with a heavily-telegraphed, weak conclusion but that's to be expected. It's a young adult romance/coming of age novel. Had one relatively creepy passage about how you should do somewhat dangerous things you have no interest in just to please your friends. Seemed very out of character for the author, especially in the same book where he goes on at some length about how inauthentic it is to always go around trying to be what other people want you to be.
Then I read the prologue for the last Wheel of Time book, which was worth the $3. Like a proper WoT prologue, it was more than a hundred pages long. Also either Sanderson is using more RJ prose or he's managed to smooth out a few more of his clunky writing ticks.
Not sure what's up next.
Reading "Life of Pi" has made me extremely depressed. So depressed that I may stop posting to these boards
[Makes note to avoid Life of Pi.]
Finished Billy Bathgate. I thought it was really, really great. I kind of don't want to watch the trailer that I just linked, because I think it will ruin it for me, but I will anyway.
Yeah, I was thinking of renting this, 'cuz I fondly remember NK getting naked, but now I think I'll pass.
[avoid]Anything that may have the appearance of meaning coming from >Terquem<[/avoid]
I think Life of Pi was great, just reminded my how bad a writer I really am
All of this Frenchie stuff made me turn back to Georges Lefebvre's The French Revolution.
In the meantime, read some excellent essays by Gore Vidal about E. Nesbit, Edgar Rice Burroughs (more Tarzan than John Carter, but still, turns out GV was a fan!) and four generations of the plutocratic Adamses of New England. Good stuff.
I did not buy this book with the intent to read it cover-to-cover, but my hopes of using EB Long's The Civil War Day By Day purely for reference are probably in vain. I think I want to have this book's babies. It's a shame the thing's gone out of print (last printing was in 2007) but I scored a first edition for a penny plus four dollars shipping via an Amazon reseller. Beautiful condition. Even the dust jacket looks good for a book that's forty years old.