L. Longear's 'Atlas Shrugged' Diary of Pain


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1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.


Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.

I first read it over a weekend. Had to flogg myself to finish it. Haven't been motivated to seek out the two sequels.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.
I first read it over a weekend. Had to flogg myself to finish it. Haven't been motivated to seek out the two sequels.

Two? I only knew of one sequel.


So it's like a moderately sized Stephen King novel.

Just imagine everyone as a middle-aged washed up alcoholic writer that no one would believe anyway.


thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.
I first read it over a weekend. Had to flogg myself to finish it. Haven't been motivated to seek out the two sequels.
Two? I only knew of one sequel.

Salon had this announcement for Atlas Shurgged Part 3 back in 2014. Don't know anything that came of it though. Sean Hannity apparantly was in the second film.

The Fountainhead on the other hand was a far better film than movie, but then again anything with Patricia Neal in it already has a leg up on my list.


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The only way to make Atlas Shrugged remotely tolerable is to take as many government-subsidized amphetamines reading it as Ayn Rand took while writing it. That's an objective truth.


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Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.

Seriously, I don't think it's worth the slog. If you want to know the story (and the "moral" "lesson" it conveys), there are lots of summaries available. The writing is turgid, the characters are wooden and implausible, the plot is dreadful when there is a plot at all -- it's often interrupted for Author Filibusters -- to the point that it's often considered one of the worst books ever written. Up there with The Pilgrim's Progress, and for the same reason. If you're already a member of the Church, it's a straight-up reaffirmation of your faith in the form of straight-up allegory,... and if you aren't already a member, then it's simply a heavy-handed statement of doctrine that will not convince you.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.
I first read it over a weekend. Had to flogg myself to finish it. Haven't been motivated to seek out the two sequels.
Two? I only knew of one sequel.
Salon had this announcement for Atlas Shurgged Part 3 back in 2014. Don't know anything that came of it though. Sean Hannity apparantly was in the second film.

There was only one book. It's being filmed in installments, losing more money each time, but that's okay because they're being made by true believers.


Hee hee!

Try and have fun, comrade. Can't imagine it will be any more of a slog than The Castle of Otranto.

That being said, The Fountainhead is one of the (not many) books I started and never finished.


I coped very well with the 'Castle of Otranto' and the 'Pilgrim's Progress' (I didn't think either of them were too bad, although I only read Bunyan out of historical interest). However, I remember giving up on both 'Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson' and 'The Secret Doctrine' by Madam Blavatsky about 2/3rds of the way through, and this looks like a similar sort of pancake.


thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.
I first read it over a weekend. Had to flogg myself to finish it. Haven't been motivated to seek out the two sequels.
Two? I only knew of one sequel.
Salon had this announcement for Atlas Shurgged Part 3 back in 2014. Don't know anything that came of it though. Sean Hannity apparantly was in the second film.
There was only one book. It's being filmed in installments, losing more money each time, but that's okay because they're being made by true believers.

There's at least one sequel which deals with the post-Galt trial collapse of the rest of the world and the Magic Valley's actions subsequent to that. But I don't know whether that's Rand-authored or a fanfic.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.

Seriously, I don't think it's worth the slog. If you want to know the story (and the "moral" "lesson" it conveys), there are lots of summaries available. The writing is turgid, the characters are wooden and implausible, the plot is dreadful when there is a plot at all -- it's often interrupted for Author Filibusters -- to the point that it's often considered one of the worst books ever written. Up there with The Pilgrim's Progress, and for the same reason. If you're already a member of the Church, it's a straight-up reaffirmation of your faith in the form of straight-up allegory,... and if you aren't already a member, then it's simply a heavy-handed statement of doctrine that will not convince you.

Well, I slogged through it because a friend pushed the book on me and I agreed to do it. Which I did during my weekend off hours.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
1,068 pages of fairly small text (not including handy biog of Sexey Ayn and exposition of the principals of Objectivism) is going to be a bit of a slog, so to motivate myself, every time I pass a significant milestone, I'm going to blow a fanfare on the bugle and note down any comments I have here.
I first read it over a weekend. Had to flogg myself to finish it. Haven't been motivated to seek out the two sequels.
Two? I only knew of one sequel.
Salon had this announcement for Atlas Shurgged Part 3 back in 2014. Don't know anything that came of it though. Sean Hannity apparantly was in the second film.
There was only one book. It's being filmed in installments, losing more money each time, but that's okay because they're being made by true believers.
There's at least one sequel which deals with the post-Galt trial collapse of the rest of the world and the Magic Valley's actions subsequent to that. But I don't know whether that's Rand-authored or a fanfic.

Fanfic, I think, though I've never heard of it. She certainly never wrote one.

Though there's a theory that Atlas Shrugged is the first of a trilogy, with Anthem as the final book and the middle one never written.


Limeylongears wrote:
I coped very well with the 'Castle of Otranto' and the 'Pilgrim's Progress' (I didn't think either of them were too bad, although I only read Bunyan out of historical interest). However, I remember giving up on both 'Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson' and 'The Secret Doctrine' by Madam Blavatsky about 2/3rds of the way through, and this looks like a similar sort of pancake.

I meant on length, not quality, but I looked up Castle and it's much shorter than I thought.

Sovereign Court

Orfamay has the right of it, but still looking forward to Longear's diary entries.


I think it might look a little something like Officer Barbrady's review on South Park.


TA TA TA TAAAA!!!!


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So far, it's a bit like the Gor books, in that someone will frequently break off from whatever they're doing (building railway empires or creating super new sorts of steel by strength of will alone rather than engaging in dubious BDSM practices and eviscerating people, in this case) to indulge themselves in long, tedious, fillerstuflickal monologues, which serve as a good excuse for skipping a few paragraphs at a time.

I don't really give a bollox who John Galt is, though I am wondering whether Ayn will write herself into the book. I bet she does. No spoilers, please.


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Pan wrote:
Orfamay has the right of it, but still looking forward to Longear's diary entries.

Meh, I read a lot of trash myself. Doc Smith space operas, S.S. van Dine mysteries, John Norman sword-and-sorcery, Chick tracts, Fox news web comments,... And, to be honest, Atlas Shrugged isn't THAT much worse than if Jack Chick tried to write a space opera. Actually, there's a lot in common between Rand and Lovecraft -- moral oversimplification, stilted writing, cardboard characters, and a relentless essentialist "othering" of <the wrong sort of people> in pursuit of a morally reprehensible social ethos. The difference is that Lovecraft didn't absolutely suck at the actual task of writing.

But the thing about trash is that I read it for pleasure. And the thing about pleasure reading is.... wait for it,.... it's pleasurable. If it ever got to the point where I felt that reading Insurance Salesmen of Gor was "a [bit of a] slog," I'm doing something wrong and I should put the book down.

Hence the warning.


Quote:
So it's like a moderately sized Stephen King novel.

It's considerably longer. The longest King novel (THE STAND) is 470,000 words, ATLAS SHRUGGED is about 650,000 words. The only work of SF or fantasy that is longer is VARNEY THE VAMPIRE (at 670,000 words).

It's a long, long-arse book. And really not worth the effort.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:


Meh, I read a lot of trash myself. Doc Smith space operas, S.S. van Dine mysteries, John Norman sword-and-sorcery, Chick tracts, Fox news web comments,... And, to be honest, Atlas Shrugged isn't THAT much worse than if Jack Chick tried to write a space opera.

<...>

I think of Doc Smith's Subspace Explorers as what Atlas Shrugged *could* have looked like, in the hands of a reasonably competent author.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And make no mistake, Doc Smith was philosophically not far distant from some of the more out-there aspects of modern conservativism. There's a part in the Lensman series where the Port Admiral tells Kim Kinnison that by cutting the income tax to a quarter of a percent and eliminating unnecessary regulations, IIRC, the Galactic Federation's economy has boomed to the point where their tax receipts are at record high levels. Or in the aforementioned Subspace Explorers, where the Soviets show up quoting from the Declaration of Independence (the "We hold these truths to be self-evident" part).


John Woodford wrote:
And make no mistake, Doc Smith was philosophically not far distant from some of the more out-there aspects of modern conservativism. There's a part in the Lensman series where the Port Admiral tells Kim Kinnison that by cutting the income tax to a quarter of a percent and eliminating unnecessary regulations, IIRC, the Galactic Federation's economy has boomed to the point where their tax receipts are at record high levels.

While meanwhile running essentially a military dictatorship where the unelected and uncontrolled self-styled "Lensmen" have nearly unlimited power.


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Basically,

* If H. P. Lovecraft had more talent, he would be Joseph Conrad
* If E. E. "Doc" Smith had more talent, he would be H. P. Lovecraft
* If John Norman had more talent, he would be "Doc" Smith
* If Jack Chick had more talent, he would be John Norman
* If Ayn Rand had more talent, she would be Jack Chick.


thejeff wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
And make no mistake, Doc Smith was philosophically not far distant from some of the more out-there aspects of modern conservativism. There's a part in the Lensman series where the Port Admiral tells Kim Kinnison that by cutting the income tax to a quarter of a percent and eliminating unnecessary regulations, IIRC, the Galactic Federation's economy has boomed to the point where their tax receipts are at record high levels.
While meanwhile running essentially a military dictatorship where the unelected and uncontrolled self-styled "Lensmen" have nearly unlimited power.

I think philosophers since Plato have all agreed that enlightened despotism is the best of all possible governments, but that it's impossible to ensure the "enlightened" bit. It's astonishing, but not really surprising, what a bit of Arisian magic can do.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
And make no mistake, Doc Smith was philosophically not far distant from some of the more out-there aspects of modern conservativism. There's a part in the Lensman series where the Port Admiral tells Kim Kinnison that by cutting the income tax to a quarter of a percent and eliminating unnecessary regulations, IIRC, the Galactic Federation's economy has boomed to the point where their tax receipts are at record high levels.
While meanwhile running essentially a military dictatorship where the unelected and uncontrolled self-styled "Lensmen" have nearly unlimited power.
I think philosophers since Plato have all agreed that enlightened despotism is the best of all possible governments, but that it's impossible to ensure the "enlightened" bit. It's astonishing, but not really surprising, what a bit of Arisian magic can do.

Basically.


When I was a wee lad in my collection of books (and nobody in my family knows how it got there, particularly since 95% if my books are fantasy stories) was a copy of The Fountainhead.

I TRIED to read it. Unsuccessfully. It's the only book I've stopped reading partway through besides Acorna's Children.

If the sequel is any comparison to the original, godspeed.


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Sundakan wrote:

When I was a wee lad in my collection of books (and nobody in my family knows how it got there, particularly since 95% if my books are fantasy stories) was a copy of The Fountainhead.

I TRIED to read it. Unsuccessfully. It's the only book I've stopped reading partway through besides Acorna's Children.

If the sequel is any comparison to the original, godspeed.

The Fountainhead is substantially better than Atlas Shrugged.

Funny how something can be "better" (as in "better than Atlas Shrugged") or even "the best" (as in "Rand's best work") without actually being any good.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I personally found We The Living to be better than The Fountainhead. Among other things, it's the only Rand novel in which the characters have any trace of three-dimensionality.

Probably not coincidentally, it's also the one most closely based on event she had real experience with.


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It occurs to me that maybe John Galt is the punchline to an Objectivist 'knock knock' joke, should such a thing exist.

Also, it's an anagram of Lajthong.

I thought this might mean something in, say, Korean, but it don't.


Best line so far, after the Hero has effortlessly made beeelions of $:

'When did you have time to watch the stock market?'

'Whilst I was writing a thesis on the influence - on subsequent metaphysical systems - on Aristotle's theory of the Immovable Mover' (And dissecting a porpoise, riding a unicycle, masturbating left-handed, baking a birthday cake and whistling through my ears)

I also wonder how someone's mouth can resemble a 'soft globe', unless they've filled their cheeks with orange squash or been punched in the gob.

Finally, '...the most feminine of all aspects - the look of being chained'

Oho. This is going to be one of those books, I see. Wonder Norm (of Gor) would be proud.


On the bright side, you have all of us to share your pain with. o wo So there's that.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Pan wrote:
Orfamay has the right of it, but still looking forward to Longear's diary entries.
Meh, I read a lot of trash myself. Doc Smith space operas, S.S. van Dine mysteries, John Norman sword-and-sorcery, Chick tracts, Fox news web comments,... And, to be honest, Atlas Shrugged isn't THAT much worse than if Jack Chick tried to write a space opera. Actually, there's a lot in common between Rand and Lovecraft -- moral oversimplification, stilted writing, cardboard characters, and a relentless essentialist "othering" of <the wrong sort of people> in pursuit of a morally reprehensible social ethos. The difference is that Lovecraft didn't absolutely suck at the actual task of writing.

As a Lovecraft fan, I love this description of his work.

A big, important difference between Lovecraft and Rand is that Lovecraft didn't think he was making some kind of huge political or social statement. He was just a conservative person with a lot of anxiety and fear of all the changes happening in the world at the time he was writing.

Rand, on the other hand, was a hypocritical, self-absorbed cult leader with delusions of adequacy. Objectivism is hilarious in that it is completely disconnected from objective reality.


Doomed Hero wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Pan wrote:
Orfamay has the right of it, but still looking forward to Longear's diary entries.
Meh, I read a lot of trash myself. Doc Smith space operas, S.S. van Dine mysteries, John Norman sword-and-sorcery, Chick tracts, Fox news web comments,... And, to be honest, Atlas Shrugged isn't THAT much worse than if Jack Chick tried to write a space opera. Actually, there's a lot in common between Rand and Lovecraft -- moral oversimplification, stilted writing, cardboard characters, and a relentless essentialist "othering" of <the wrong sort of people> in pursuit of a morally reprehensible social ethos. The difference is that Lovecraft didn't absolutely suck at the actual task of writing.

As a Lovecraft fan, I love this description of his work.

A big, important difference between Lovecraft and Rand is that Lovecraft didn't think he was making some kind of huge political or social statement. He was just a conservative person with a lot of anxiety and fear of all the changes happening in the world at the time he was writing.

Rand, on the other hand, was a self-absorbed cult leader with delusions of adequacy.

Lovecraft was also a racist. And I'm not talking ordinary, I'm talking hyper-racist to the point that would embarrass even his fellow Victorians.


I actually enjoyed Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead (although a lot of the criticism here is valid).


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Lovecraft was also a racist. And I'm not talking ordinary, I'm talking hyper-racist to the point that would embarrass even his fellow Victorians.

You're mostly right. He certainly started out that way in his youth. There's pretty significant evidance that his racist notions lessened dramatically as he got older. He never came out and renounced anything or apologized, but he did change the way he wrote and did discuss the views of his youth with colleagues.

When he was 45, In a letter to a woman named Jennie K. Plaiser, when discussing social politics he wrote: “…I realised what an ass I had been. The liberals at whom I used to laugh were the ones who were right—for they were living in the present while I had been living in the past.”

Unfortunately for him (and us) he did most of his writing in his 20s, so the older, wiser Lovecraft doesn't get talked about much.

Please note that I am not trying to apologize, whitewash or diminish Lovecraft's well-documented racism. The man was racist for his time (especially in his youth), and shockingly, abhorrently racist when viewed by the standards of today. I just wanted to point out that Lovecraft is a great example of how hateful people can change their views.

It is interesting to compare this with Rand, who only got more bigoted, hypocritical and crazy as she got older.


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I'm beginning to think that, perhaps, Ayney-waney was a secret Deep Cover Surrealist.

"She was a girl in her late twenties, whose harmonious, impenetrable face had a quality matching the best office equipment"

I suppose trying to penetrate office equipment is pretty difficult. God knows I've tried.

Come to think of it, I suppose having a face like a fax machine would help you fit in, in certain situations.

And there has been a sex scene, i.e. two lines of ponking followed by about a page and a half of soliloquizing, then:

"When he threw her down on the bed, their two bodies met like the two sounds that broke against each other in the air of the room: the sound of his tortured moan and of her laughter"

I can't really make any sense out of this, but that's presumably because I'm a Looter and an Untermensch.

Also, I notice that 'Dagny' (as in Dagny Taggart, Our Heroine) is an anagram of 'DG Ayn', but I don't know what 'DG' stands for. Director General? Damp Gusset? Darned Guvmint? Dirty Girl? Dominatrix Gorilla?


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Well, if Taggart's involved, at least you can hope that at some point someone will declare that, "there's been a morder."


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But Kajehase, there has been a morrderr - the morrderr of the Human Spirit! (Apparently)


I've had objectivism explained to me about three different times now but I still don't fully grok it. Anyone interested in breaking it down for me? (Without spoiling the book)


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Spastic Puma wrote:
I've had objectivism explained to me about three different times now but I still don't fully grok it. Anyone interested in breaking it down for me? (Without spoiling the book)

I've got mine, because I'm morally superior to you.

You are morally inferior, because you don't have what you need or want. And it would be immoral for me to give it to you. And it would be even more immoral for a third-party, like the government, to tell me that I have to give it to you.

Liberty's Edge

I'll give it my best shot.

Everyone should dedicate all of their efforts and resources toward serving their own self interests. People are at their best and most productive when doing so. Anything that enables people to not pursue their self interests hurts society as a whole. Government that stops people from pursuing their own self interests hurts society as a whole.


Spastic Puma wrote:
I've had objectivism explained to me about three different times now but I still don't fully grok it. Anyone interested in breaking it down for me? (Without spoiling the book)

I'm not sure Rand fully understood it as I don't believe any of her characters followed it fully.


Oh man, it's even dumber than I thought.


This thread has been a balm for my soul


I feel like there are some interesting conclusions one could attempt to draw from these explanation, but they might detract from the purpose of the thread.

I also feel better for having never actually read the book in question.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This looks like as good a time as any to break out John Rogers' quote from 2009:

Quote:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.


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Another Sparkling Randism:

'Then start being elastic right now, because I'm not and neither are railway catastrophes'

Two things have occurred to me so far. The first is, if you replaced the granite-chinned, steely-willed Plutocratic lords of mine and mill with granite-chinned, steely-willed Proletarian whelk tribblers in the Barents Sea, what you'd have is a '30s Soviet Socialist Realist novel. That ought to tell me something. The second is that the book wouldn't be nearly so Epic and Inspiring if Rearden and d'Anconia were manufacturers of thermal underwear and miracle cabbage soup diets instead of owners of steel mills and copper mines.

However, look on the bright side.

1) Just over half way through!
2) There are pirates. Strictly speaking, *a* pirate, and a pretty rubbish one, but still.
3) Dangly seems to have a very rich and fulfilling sex life. Good for her! If things go t#+@-up with Hank R., maybe we should set her up with Tarl Cabot.

TO THE SLASHFIC ENGINES!


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Rand definitely had some issues with sex (and basic human interaction.) I remember watching the movie The Fountainhead after having read the book and correctly guessing which scene they would leave out.

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