richardderus third thread of 2018
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NJ Anders, Father Reading to his Young Son
My 2018 Reviewing Goals
I'll shoot for 180 reviews written again this year. It was a doable target, but the reviews could be more exciting....
BookRiot's 2018 Read Harder "Challenge"
This is ALL KATIE KRUG'S FAULT.
1. A book published posthumously
2. A book of true crime
3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance)
4. A comic written and illustrated by the same person—My Brother's Husband reviewed below.
5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia,
India, China, or South Africa)
6. A book about nature was satisfied by Guns, Germs, and Steel here.
7. A western
8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10. A romance novel by or about a person of color
11. A children’s classic published before 1980
12. A celebrity memoir
13. An Oprah Book Club selection
14. A book of social science
15. A one-sitting book
16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series
17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author
18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
19. A book of genre fiction in translation
20. A book with a cover you hate
21. A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
22. An essay anthology
23. A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished)
My Reviews Are Here:
1 2 Jan 2018 Artemis was unsuccessful, dammit, see post 139.
2 3 Jan 2018 The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu was a 4.5-star pleasure in post 178.
3 5 Jan 2018 Touched by an Angel returned me to the Whoverse in post 253.
4 6 Jan 2018 River of Teeth was a balls-out strangeoleum wild ride reviewed in post 297.
5 8 Jan 2018 Taste of Marrow finishes River of Teeth's basic arcs in post 55.
6 9 Jan 2018 Bitter Grounds is the first Neil Gaiman I've really liked in years see post 141.
7 10 Jan 2018 Baking With Kafka made me guffaw embarrassingly loudly in post 158.
8 13 Jan 2018 My Brother's Husband is a manga but I'm counting it as a comic for the BookRiot Read Harder challenge above, in post 209.
9 15 Jan 2018 The Stainless Steel Rat didn't age too well in post 283.
10 16 Jan 2018 Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House made me froth and screech in post 287.
11 17 Jan 2018 Guns, Germs, and Steel tells a very scary version of History reviewed in post 50.
12 18 Jan 2018 Exhibit Piece gets a TV makeover that keeps the idea intact and changes stuff for the better post 68.
13 19 Jan 2018 Autofac reimagines the end of the world stakes in post 78.
14 19 Jan 2018 The Plot Against America will not only be a miniseries, but will rawk in post 90.
15 20 Jan 2018 Human Is pleased me very much as an episode of Electric Dreams and as a short story in post 124.
16 20 Jan 2018 Sales Pitch didn't do much for me as either episode or story in post 134.
17 21 Jan 2018 Passing Shadows reminded me how much I want the next novel in the Taking Shield series in post 144.
18 21 Jan 2018 The Hood Maker riled me up some in post 149.
19 22 Jan 2018 Foster, You're Dead! wasn't a good story but was turned into a good episode of Electric Dreams as discussed in post 158.
20 23 Jan 2018 Hacks: The Inside Story made me panther-screechingly furious as I detail in post 182.
21 23 Jan 2018 The Father-Thing scares the horses in post 201.
22 24 Jan 2018 The Impossible Planet isn't, but I talk about it in post 217.
23 25 Jan 2018 The Commuter turned a good PKD story into an excellent film discussed in post 247.
24 26 Jan 2018 Doctor Who: The Time of Angels revisits the scariest Whoverse monsters of them all in post 258.
25 26 Jan 2018 The Hanging Man retells the McCarthy hearings with aliens, or with politicians, depending on the era, in post 263.
I forgot to do my 2017 ANzAC Challenge because I'm just like that when it comes to challenges. So here it is again, since I need to get these books off the TBR!
Oooh, I just found the 2017 ANZAC Reading Challenge! It's October, so I'm going with a 12-entry choice, but I'm starting out with a big advantage: Text sent me a dozen books to blog about that I need to review this year for sure.
ANZAC Bingo 1x12
1) Read a book about love--I'm going with The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong because the love/hate relationship of these brothers is riveting.
2) Read a coming of age novel--Came Back to Show You I Could Fly by Robin Sloan a Text Classics entry that I've never heard of, which is exciting.
3) Read a historical fiction--Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley from Text, set in 1950s Outback Oz.
4) Read a book set on a Pacific Island--Pitcairn Pending by Kenneth Bain which it seems I'm the first person on LT to own. Hm.
5) Read a children's classic--The Fire-Raiser by Maurice Gee which you gifted me with on my 50th birthday Kerry!
6) Read a refugee story--The Road to Winter by Mark Smith is post-apocalyptic but the female lead is a "Siley" or asylum-seeker, so I think it fits.
7) Read a scifi novel--Dark Space and Darker Space by Lisa Henry, two very good gay-male led novels by Aussie romance powerhouse-cum-legend in that niche Henry. Excellent, if a small bit grim; together about 100,000 words and directly sequential, so I count them as one novel.
8) Read a book with a place name in the title--Potiki by Patricia Grace, another 50th birthday gift from Kerry whose 5-star review is here.
9) Read a bestseller--Reckoning: A Memoir is, I'm assured, an Aussie bestseller by Magda Szubanski about her Polish WWII spy father's life and how it impacts her to this day.
10) Read a black comedy/noir--Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan combines comedy and suspense in approximately equal measure.
11) Read a debut novel--When the Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea is set on Jersey during WWII, written by a Jersey native who has, I gather, expatriated to Oz.
12) Read a book of short stories--Dead Americans by Ben Peek, these are thematically linked short stories and I really like Ben so I've *finally* reviewed this book! 4 stars
I'll edit this post to add links to reviews here on LT as they appear. Thanks to Kerry for making this challenge as I needed a spur to make me write the darned reviews already.
Godstalk group read with Roni—finished chapter 8 on 11 Jan
The Odyssey translated by Robert Fitzgerald group read on Goodreads
The Odyssey translated by Stanley Lombardo group read on Goodreads
The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson group read on Goodreads
>10 Crazymamie: Thank you, Mamie darling, Perkins will take the tray.
Have a halfarigatoni:
>8 richardderus: can I get a half portion of that medal please? My times say we were FIRST =
This will do :)
Omg I got here before there were a couple of hundred posts.
>11 richardderus:. Speaking as an old Italian woman, those are very odd looking rigatoni lol. Not like anything I remember serving
>18 brenzi: Brava!
I found that idea a while ago when I needed an antipasto for 6 more than I planned to serve...mostly boiled rigatoni with eggplant rollatini stuffing in them stood on end and bacon bits crumbled on the tops.
Everyone ate 'em with pleasure so....
mostly boiled rigatoni with eggplant rollatini stuffing in them stood on end and bacon bits crumbled on the tops.
Happy New Thread, Richard!
I was wondering if I should read the Wolff book. On the one hand I'd like to support the anti-45 movement, on the other hand it isn't badly researched gossip I'm looking for, and I certainly don't want to support Bannon and friends. So I guess I won't read that one.
Italian TV ads keep telling me I must go and buy Vicks (Wick) Vapo Rub, but it was your list that convinced me I really should have some in the house.
>14 richardderus: Artichoke - yum! :)
Happy new thread, Richard Dear, without illustrations or gifs.....
but *smooches* from Madamt TVT Horrible. I skipped your review of Fire and Fury on the previous thread because I've got about 23% to go according to my Kindle.
We're getting snowed on here in central NC - looks like about 2" so far. Unfortunately, it's wet and sticky snow, not the powder we had last week.
>28 karenmarie: Thanks, Horrible, and how amazing that it's snowing there all the way to Mamie's and here it's just cold rain. Weirdness abounds.
>28 karenmarie: - Karen wet and sticky snow is PERFECT snowball snow. Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbes) will attest to that!
Morning, RD! Happy New Thread! LT has definitely been on fire, in the New Year. Love those toppers.
You nearly caused me to spew my coffee, over on Joe's last thread, with Chuckles the Dick.
Did you hear Cory Booker, yesterday, ripping a new one? We NEED to see more of this from the Dems, some of our own fire & fury. Show you have a friggin' pair!!
Happy new thread!
So sloths and guinea pigs aren't your go-to animal when in need of animal cuteness, but can you resist a red panda? I think not!
I am a bit of a carthorse at the moment, RD, but prior to despatch to the knackers yard I have made it to wish you a happy new thread.
I like the looks of the munchies around here...I'll just sit and wait for the next batch to come out.
Happy new thread Richard dear fellow, hope you are well and doing lots of reading.
>1 richardderus: Nice topper.
What? Bonhoeffer joins the Abwehr and starts to seriously get conspiratorial. At one point she shocks his best friend Bethge by throwing a 'Heil Hitler' salute in public in celebration of France's subjugation. He had never before kept his criticism of the Reich in a secret until. More important work was at hand. This was evidence that he had, as my mom still puts it, quit preachin' and gone to meddlin'. In the best way, course.
Edit: By the way, you are uber-generous to let me share my thought about Bonhoeffer on your thread. They will all likely make their way on to my thread for the review, but I really appreciate you being patient and commenting as well.
>42 johnsimpson: Hey there John! Happy to see you here. Hoping you and Karen are well.
>43 jnwelch: *baaawww* Cute li'l poochie. Dogs are almost uniformly preferable to people as companions.
>44 brodiew2: I'm enjoying the vicarious read of Bonhoeffer, Brodie! I am all over the idea of a man who stands up to a vile kakistocracy. Makes me wish I could be that powerfully certain of the value of my resistance.
11 Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Rating: 3.5* of five, rounded up because the PBS adaptation was better than I had expected it to be
I read this in the 1990s and was blown away by the fact that environmental determinism was back in the forefront of the have-vs-have-not debate. Well told tale. Persuasive, goodness knows. Maybe even partially correct, who knows, since we're facing the consequences of climate change to our civilization and they aren't good. They're only going to get worse, too. So who do we look to for models of how to change our food production?
Anyway, the 2007 revision isn't different in any significant way to the 1997 version and you'll get a lot out of reading it. I still think the 2005 PBS version is the easiest to absorb because there are no awful dreary tables and the pretty pictures are pretty. Plus, let's face it, Peter Coyote sounds great.
But do absorb the information somehow. This horror movie is real and will be your grandchildren's reality if you live in the "First World" now.
Hi Richard. I just got my Book Riot email and look what I found:
Fire and Fury Picked Up For TV Adaptation
Endeavor Content has purchased film and television rights to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the controversial book about Donald Trump’s first year as president as a TV series, though a network is not yet attached. Wolff will executive produce the series.
After your review of the book, I decided to not bother reading it. I can't even begin to imagine watching it. I wonder who will play the Stable Genius.... ;-p. Maybe they could recruit Alec Baldwin...
>51 jessibud2: And how exactly do they plan to adapt it? That's the part that leaves me in a tis-was. What're they gonna do make a mockumentary? I can't fathom who the audience is either. I'll pay them ransom to *not* make it!
>52 richardderus: - Who knows? If we've learned nothing else this past year, it is that anything is possible. Not always necessary, but possible. Heaven help us
Edited to add that tv is probably the only way trump will actually know the book. He certainly hasn't read it.
>55 Familyhistorian: I suppose not. Hope springs eternal as this is the "brain" that has access to the nuclear launch codes.
Good morning, RD! *smooch* from the frozen South. 12" of snow yesterday, 17F now.
I finished Fire and Fury and have posted a review on my thread.
>50 richardderus: I think I started Guns, Germs, and Steel and put it down for some unfathomable reason. It's sitting on shelf L84 waiting patiently for me to re-start and hopefully finish it.
>57 karenmarie: I've read it, and a fine review it is.
I'd say the book is worth reading, but is enhanced by viewing the PBS special in conjunction with it as a leavener. The book's a bit stodgy.
Big fan of Guns, Germs and Steel
Have to see if I can find the PBS Special.
Pigs in Blankets!!!!!!!!!!! (swooning) But where is the Mustard?
I'll take your word that it's a good product. I avoid all things beaver on principle.
>63 jnwelch: It's a persuasive argument until one realizes it's a case of correlation ≠ causation. It's not at all clear that the causes of inequality are as simple as Diamond paints them to be, but I think he's got hold of a big chunk of supporting data and we still need to factor in that unknowable unquantifiable thing, Luck...along with greed, concupiscence, acquisitiveness, call it what you will, being privileged by the monotheistic hegemonic religious ethos prevalent in the West.
>50 richardderus: You hit me with a BB, Richard, I reserved a copy at the library.
>65 FAMeulstee: Oh goody!! I hope you will get a lot out of the read, Anita.
12 Exhibit Piece by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4* of five
Well now! Goodness gracious me.
Real Life is a glitzy, amazingly well-cast 45min episode of the anthology series Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams starring Anna Paquin of True Blood fame as a futuristic lesbian supercop who has a flying car and lots of sex with her hawt wife.
Now that the straight guys are gone, here's what's cool about that: The character talks about that being a straight guy's SFnal fantasy world as she decides to go back in time to live as her straight male 20th century counterpart as a vacation. She needs to know: Is she expiating her survivor guilt by escaping to the future or is George expiating his survival guilt by escaping to the past? Since she's George and since George is her, this identity riddle consumes the meta level of the show's text.
Nothing about this resembles the Cold War we're-all-gonna-die plot of "Exhibit Piece" and yet the changes preserve the spirit of the original. As simple as this: What is reality? What defines reality if not experience? Can anyone rely on external criteria to define truth?
What would you do in George's place: Reality or reality are your choices, no way out, but in one you feel good and in one you feel bad but the feelings oscillate and there's no difference between...between...is there a between? Is, in fact, someone allowed to travel into time in different ways?
I love reads that leave me with big questions and this one did. I'm even happier when filmed entertainment, of which I have lower expectations than I do of reads, does the same thing. I am *shocked* when the read and the stare leave me with the same questions! Rare pleasure.
>68 richardderus: I haven't read the book, but did see the television show and agree that it was really well-done. (Here's one straight guy they didn't scare away.)
Good morning, RD! Still frozen out here, about 13F right now. Coffee, books, possibly an adventure to town mid-afternoon for some non-from-the-house sustenance if I can persuade Bill.
>64 richardderus: I know what you mean - Guns, Germs and Steel is written as if it's the whole story, and it's only part of it, although maybe a big part of it. I like most that it made me (and others) look at it all with a fresh eye and realize that these forces we'd been ignorant of had such a big impact.
>68 richardderus: Oh, how good to hear. That's classic PKD, raising the big questions. I had hopes for that series. I'll be sure to check it out.
>43 jnwelch: Awwww, look at that little face!
>45 BBGirl55: Awwww, look at that delicious cake! (Seriously, more people need to understand that berries and cake are the PERFECT combination.)
Hey Richard! *flops down in a corner and attempts to regain breath* Jeez, this place moves fast. Especially when you're being pelted with BBs the whole time. >:)
>68 richardderus: I cannot wait to watch that. And I think I have the short story, too, so I will hunt it up. LOVED your review of both together.
Birdy and I are making bacon weaves today to use in breakfast sammies tomorrow morning.
>75 Crazymamie: Ohhhhhh! *dribbles all over keyboard* Be right back, just got to go do something... very important... near the fridge... NOT IN IT THOUGH DEFINITELY NOT HOW DARE YOU INSINUATE SUCH A THING?!
There is a lot of food on here today....
Just dropping a drive by wave.
13 Autofac by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4* of five, rounded down a half-star for a few head-scratchers in the story
Available as a free download on The Internet Archive.
A wonderful indictment of mindless end-stage capitalism, this. The autofacs are destroying the Earth because they're programmed to produce goods for humans while the humans are busy destroying each other, and the autofacs aren't programmed to stop producing until ordinary human-led production is up to capacity to replace their output.
But there aren't enough people left after the war to produce goods. So the autofacs keep producing. And they've ravaged the planet, extracted *all* the resources, and are on the brink of a crisis.
Enter some human chauvinist survivors, people living on the autofacs' deliveries but longing to remake their own means of production. How? First, stop the autofacs from tunneling the Earth into a honeycomb as the automated resource locators locate more resources to make into things. They figure out how to do this by making the machines that control everything stop to figure out what the word "pizzled" means. Machine language skills are dependent upon examples and usages to interpret human wishes, so "pizzled"—a word invented on the spot—is guaranteed to stop the low-level machines in their tracks and get the problem of figuring out what's wrong to the higher-ups.
Bureaucracy/hierarchy is eternal and not species dependent.
This plot succeeds and, using the information they extrapolate from this success, the human chauvinists figure out a way to Stop The Autofacs!! And it WORKS!! But the basic question they've failed to devise an answer for is, "Now what?"
I liked the story, and have spent this much time and effort creating a book report on it, because like most of PKD's work it leaves the reader with more questions than answers. That's why I started reading his stuff long ago, and why I was willing to take up with his ouevre after a decades-long hiatus. Amazon is using some of its ungodly billions to autofac...I mean create...screen-based entertainments rooted in PKD's storytelling. Two of PKD's daughters are exec-producing a show called Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, and this story is an episode of that series.
The episode refocuses the stakes of the story in a major, major way that I can't discuss without spoilers. The episode also modernizes the manner in which Autofac, transmogrified from a descrptive term for a technological artifact into a corporate name, is hacked and what the consequences of the Big Reveal are constitute the major reorientation of the concerns of society. Consumption is still the problem, though the reasons it's a problem have shifted. For that reason, I'd give the episode an extra half-star over the source material.
I'd buttress that half-star addition with a major change that I like a lot: A woman is the center of the episode's story, and for a very significant reason. Contrast this with the role of the only woman in PKD's story, wife of one of the human chauvinists, who serves coffee and asks Mary Sue questions, which are answered condescendingly by any male around. In one of the story's illustrations in Galaxy Magazine's November 1955 edition, in fact, the woman is depicted lying in the dirt between two men, watching something unfold beneath them, IN. A. SKIRT. that's modestly covering her knees.
Ha. Ha ha. Clearly the artist has never worn a skirt. How the hell would she have gotten down on her belly in the dirt bound up by one of those things? And more to the point, how the hell would she get back up? And WHY would she wear one of those impractical items in a post-apocalyptic world when trousers are vastly more practical?
Also agreeably different in the filmed version is the inclusion of sex. As in, the female lead gets some sex and the focus is on the attractive man sexing her up to her liking. In a radical departure from previous norms, the attractive young man stays naked after the sex scene, is lingered over by the camera, and is emotionally needy of the woman's love and approval in the afterglow. He even says The Big Three to her! First!
I love this. It's about goddamned time. If for no other reason that it points up in a quiet, even positive, way the conventional tropes and their ubiquity without nastiness or negativity. Well done, producers and writers, well played, actors, and say Hallelujah, consumers! We're finally, in small first-steps ways, seeing the positive effects of the unleashed anger of a generation of mad-as-hell women. Don't take it anymore, keep reframing the conversation, and leave more questions than answers. Growth will happen.
I have 4 volumes of PKD's collected short stories on my shelf. Not very "exclusive" editions, but ones that will never leave. Actually, now that I think about it, we loaned one to a friend of my wife's. Gotta get that back :-(
I haven't read these for about 20 years. Got to put them back into circulation. It's amazing how diverse he was. Its no wonder Hollywood keeps mining his catalog for ideas. Unfortunately, not all executed to a higher PKD standard.
Just found an article B&N did, ranking the 11 movie adaptions of his work. Including both Total Recalls.
>70 drneutron: Look out, Jim, they're gonna fly thick and fast! I'm so enjoying the story-to-episode experience of absorbing PKD's work that I'm going to do all ten episodes this way. See >78 richardderus: for the next one.
>71 swynn: Scare away? I was expecting the ordinary straight guy to run as fast as possible over to Ammy to salaciously savor the onscreen lesbian sex without being accused of pornsumption!
>72 karenmarie: Good goddesses! That's way cold. It's warmish here, and going to be warmer this weekend. I'm happy to have the break from Arctic cold.
>73 jnwelch: It's the cultural bias towards "The Whole Story" that's most bothersome to me, indeed. There *is* no whole story! It's too huge and complex to be reduced to a single story. Had I felt Diamond's awareness of that fact, I'd've been inclined to give the book and the film higher marks.
Do, do, do go watch Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams! It's terrific, and I'm not down with the criticisms I've seen of it "missing the point" of PKD's work.
>74 elliepotten:, >76 elliepotten: Hiya Ellie. Yeah, there's food, there's books, there's raillery and badinage...hard to escape from here without SOMEthing tickling one's fancy.
>75 Crazymamie: Ohhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeessssssss please I want two on sourdough with mayo and dill relish! And sharp cheddar! Thank you, Mamie dearest. *smooch*
>77 BekkaJo: *drive-by smooch*
I read Dick's Time out of joint a few years back and it was weird as expected, but the ending kind spoiled the cleverness of the proceeding content.
Have you read Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold?
>82 brodiew2: How did the ending spoil the book? I've read it and was fairly sure that ending was the only one possible...at least, the only one possible from the brain of PKD!
I'm not a big survivalist-fiction reader, and these days heteronormative fiction works my nerve. Any Heinlein I consume now will be re-read at a very, very, very strong prompt of nostalgia. This one, well, the Big Twist is presented in such a ridiculous way that I wasn't at all happy even in the 1970s.
82> Heh. I dislike PKD for the same reason the people that like him like him - the unanswered questions that hover around the end of the story (I hate The Lady or the Tiger the same way!). But Farnham's Freehold is such a blunt instrument compared to PKD's scalpel... I like a lot of Heinlein, and I've read Farnham's Freehold at least a couple times. Not a favorite, though, by a long shot.
>84 jjmcgaffey: Read something not a favorite several times?! Gawdlemitey, Ms McG, there can be no more incomprehensible use of one's eyeblinks to me! I never re-read anything, back in the day when re-reading didn't seem extravagantly wasteful, that wasn't an absolute dote of mine.
Yep, ol' PKD's tropes are either catnip or wolfsbane for readers. I'm in the catnip category.
>80 richardderus: Ah. Well I guess then I stuck around because I'd already pornsumed. I maintain that I enjoyed the episode for its existential ambiguity. And, um, the articles. (There were articles, right?)
hors d'oeuvres & bacon weaves, oh my! This is not a diet friendly thread!!
>86 swynn: Numerous articles! Of the most high-minded type. *snicker*
I think PKD's daughters played a larger role in shaping the direction of adaptation the series took than I had imagined they would've. Apparently Isa Dick Hackett is a feminist. I'm pleased that the stories are being re-told in such inclusive ways. (See Bryan Cranston's views on the subject.)
>87 ChelleBearss: Nothing inside my ambit will ever be diet-friendly, Chelle. I don't approve of diets.
>85 richardderus: Basically, I read it as a kid and found it wonderful because it was Heinlein (neat ideas!). Then I reread it...oh, 10-15 years ago? and found it...less wonderful. I think I tried again a couple years later and quit before the group split up - never got to the end of the story.
I review on LT because otherwise I can't remember...not the story (I can often recite plots of things I've read, once, a dozen years ago), but how I felt about it at the time. What I remember is the good bits, the things I thought were fun. So I've reread quite a few books that my overall reaction was Yuck, but there were good bits...and a couple years later that's what I remember. If I go to reread a book nowadays, first I check if I reviewed it on LT, and often I discover I really don't want to reread it (maybe just that one good scene that's been bugging me...).
I read fast enough that, until recently, I reread a _lot_ and still found myself without books I wanted to read. Which is part of why I have huge amounts of books (that I haven't read) hanging around - "Oh, I'll read this sometime!". But a new book is more mental effort, and I don't know whether I'll like it. More recently I've managed to a) find sources of new books I'm very likely to like (authors I know, etc) - Overdrive is a wonderful thing and b) decide I'm going to read all those books, d*mmit, I gotta find out if I like them! So the last couple years I read more new books than rereads - but only in the last couple years.
14 The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
This book should be as high on your TBR as 1984, Animal Farm, Snowball's Chance, and Christian Nation are already. I hope they are, anyway.
2018 UPDATE The book is going to be a miniseries! Huzzah. Now go read the article, because Philip Roth does a 45 takedown that made me guffaw in agony.
Rating: 4* of five
In my quest for article-fodder, I reread this book. I'd forgotten how much I dislike Roth's use of "Philip Roth" as a character, it still feels like a cutesy-poo arched eyebrow and crooked little finger at a tea party given by That Cousin *pursed lips and tiny warning shakes of the head* of Your Father's.
But the election of President Lindbergh didn't so much as raise a hair in my truth-sensitive eyebrows. The slow descent into thuggish public behavior as the new norm, the collective "meh, so what" from those not affected, the disbelieving helplessness of the affected...Roth nailed it. Look around you.
Another 2018 Update: Philip Roth's *epic* takedown of 45 is below:
“However prescient ‘The Plot Against America’ might seem to you, there is surely one enormous difference between the political circumstances I invent there for the U.S. in 1940 and the political calamity that dismays us so today. It’s the difference in stature between a President Lindbergh and a President Trump. Charles Lindbergh, in life as in my novel, may have been a genuine racist and an anti-Semite and a white supremacist sympathetic to Fascism, but he was also — because of the extraordinary feat of his solo trans-Atlantic flight at the age of 25 — an authentic American hero 13 years before I have him winning the presidency,” the author explained. “Lindbergh, historically, was the courageous young pilot who in 1927, for the first time, flew nonstop across the Atlantic, from Long Island to Paris. He did it in 33.5 hours in a single-seat, single-engine monoplane, thus making him a kind of 20th-century Leif Ericson, an aeronautical Magellan, one of the earliest beacons of the age of aviation. Trump, by comparison, is a massive fraud, the evil sum of his deficiencies, devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac.”
You are quite busy with your book completions! I'm having trouble keeping up!
>89 jjmcgaffey: I think that's a fair assessment of Heinlein's appeal. Much like his views on sex, the ideas are fresh and don't bear terribly close scrutiny.
You sound like you started reviewing to keep yourself from forgetting lots of stuff about a given book, which is exactly why I started reviewing. I've read squads and fleets of books about which I recall nothing...and think I've read others that I haven't, or that made so little impression on me that I might as well not have done. In all cases, it really helps me to retain some lasting impression to have written something about the experience of reading a book/story/whatever.
But being closer to 70 than I am to 40, I don't particularly want to find reasons to re-read long-ago left behind tomes.
>91 thornton37814: I'm cheating a bit with that last one, Lori, since I read it millennia ago and decided to give it a skim preparing for the miniseries.
Agree that Guns, Germs and Steel isn't the whole picture - but the facts are there - which is more than you can say for a lot of books.
I for one have a great antipathy for Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold -- its the one book of his I cannot re-read.
It's his anti-racism book and it always seemed just smug and heavy handed - shooting fish in a barrel and shooting them with a machine gun. Perhaps it's just me.
He had written some rather stereotyped Negro characters in earlier books - perhaps this was his way of apologizing
>93 magicians_nephew: A reasonable point re: Diamond, Sir James. He isn't opinionating and offering the results as facts, and that counts for a lot.
Heinlein hasn't aged well for me. Stranger in a Strange Land was thoroughly heteronormative, which isn't okay with old me, and was invisible to young me despite being excluded by that very thing. I'm still more than a little impressed by its laissez-faire attitude towards sexuality, just recognizing that from a man born in 1907 is a huge plus. My blog review says it all. Basically all about my evolution on Heinlein, as well as on that particular book.
>94 EBT1002: I can't even, Ellen. I just can't! How...who...what...well, anyway, it's not our money they'll be wasting by making this. I doubt me much either of us will waste our eyeblinks consuming it, either.
>96 BekkaJo: I know, right?! I was almost purring with satisfaction.
You sound like you started reviewing to keep yourself from forgetting lots of stuff about a given book, which is exactly why I started reviewing.
Yeah, me, too. It's a great way to get myself to pull together my thinking on a book, and fix it in my mind way better than no review. Mark and I were talking about doing more mini-reviews, as it gets tough to keep up.
>98 jnwelch: That's a sensible response to the never-decreasing load of TBRs. I, OTOH, am aiming for 180 reviews *of better quality* this year. Fewer squibs, more appreciations.
*quakes in fear*
Quite a daunting task. I'm sure I'll be reading fewer books overall this year.
Arrghhh... I had lunch (spaghetti bolognese and a hazelnut mocha cake) 4 hours ago and thanks to my visiting your thread, I'm hungry again!
And bacon waves! No no no ... darn.. yes, yes, yes please.
>95 richardderus: Yeah, I have other plans for my precious time. You know, there are gutters to be cleaned and old files to be gone through and ....
>98 jnwelch: and >99 richardderus: I started doing reviews for the same reason, to help me organize my thinking and remember what I've read better. I am finding, though, that talking about a book actually helps more. P asked me the other day (at breakfast at our mountain retreat) to tell her the story of Nicholas Nickleby (I see that shudder) and the telling made me feel more engaged and it reminded me of some funny details.
Anyway, mini-reviews do seem like a good idea to mix in now and then. Otherwise we'll have time on our hands and we might end up watching that tv show referenced above.
Heinlein always said about Stranger in a Strange Land that it wasn't the sex that made the book hard to sell it was the religion.
Curious to know how SyFy will handle the Fosterites - if you make them clowns you water down the real and serious threat.
"When fascism comes to America it will come with the flag in one hand and the Bible in the other"
Happy Friday, Richard! Good review of The Plot Against America. We had very similar feelings. Are you a big Roth fan? There are many of his, I still need to read, although he is not a big LT favorite.
Thanks for the input on Doctor Who. I am hesitant in starting anything that massive, but Brodie suggested starting with Doctor #9? Thoughts?
>100 cameling: Here you go, dear, have a bacon weave taco:
>101 EBT1002: Heh, yes indeed, so so much of a practical, useful nature to be done.
I consider it borderline spousal abuse to inflict Chuckles on poor, innocent P! Shame, madam, for sinful wicked shame upon you!
There will always be a need for the mini-review. I myownself plan to deploy them on books I want to say bad things about.
>102 magicians_nephew: Fifty years ago, I'm sure that was so. Nowadays it's the non-conformity that'll be the killer.
Fascism came to this country long ago. It recrudesces now wrapped in the flag and clutching the bible because it always clutched the bible and shouted about "America love it or leave it" etc etc.
>103 msf59: Yes indeed, start with episode 101, "Rose," and go from there. I don't care if I never read another word by Philip Roth, frankly, as I've almost never enjoyed the ones I have read until the 45 takedown. And, TBH, ANYone could insult 45, his "administration," and his family and I'd nod and smile and cheer.
>104 BBGirl55: Hi there Bryony! Love them cupcakes.
Are these Doctor Who episodes on Netflix? I am not surprised at all, about your reaction to Roth. LOL. That one must have been a fluke.
>107 msf59: Not on Netflix, though they're all part of Prime's freebies.
>107 msf59: in the UK New Who is on Netflix. most BBC shows end up on Netflix.
>110 msf59: Yeah, Doctor Who used to be on Netflix, but as is usually the case of shows that we love (I'm looking at you House), Netflix always decides to drop them. We had just finished Season 8 or 9 when it went away. The first year of the 12th Doctor.
I just recently started rewatching the good Doctor from the beginning. At least the modern beginning with Christopher Eccleston.
>112 mahsdad: I've discovered that the majority of the cases where a series leaves Netflix and bobs back up somewhere else are due to money disagreements about licensing fees. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries moved from Prime to Netflix about the time Doctor Who made the opposite pilgrimage and it was all down to the spondulix.
Hard to know who to hate on in that unholy tangle.
I've put my stake in the ground for Netflix and Prime, plus I'm still paying for cable, which I probably should drop, but for a couple of shows that we can't get otherwise. Like the Daily Show and the stuff on H&G that my wife watches.
Not going to pay for Hulu, or Paramount TV, or whatever Disney comes up with and pulls all the Marvel shows from everywhere.
We need one consolidated service, like, I don't know ala carte cable. :)
>114 mahsdad: Fast internet for all, all across the US, for a tax-supported infrastructure fee not to exceed 1.125x the actual cost of building and maintaining the network. All entertainment services a la carte, monthly fees not to exceed $9.99 per month per service.
>113 richardderus: I don't even have a digital TV. Only in the last year or so as the graphics shrink more and more have I even considered purchasing one. I'll probably make the step before summer.
>116 thornton37814: I have a 26-inch digital TV that pretty much gathers dust. I use my 11" Chromebook for everything because it's easy. Next purchase, which is distressingly close, will likely be a Chromebox that'll use the TV as a screen and play me my shows and movies. *sigh* Like I need another expenditure!
I have The Plot Against America on my bedside table, waiting its turn. I keep eying it, and asking myself if I really want to read it or not....
>119 richardderus: - I know I must have read something of Roth's works way back in the day but I did not like the movie made of Goodbye Columbus). I will read this one, though, because I have heard from more than a few people that it is a *must* read, for our times....
The Plot Against America is the only Roth I’ve read. And I really liked the book even though alternative histories are not my thing. I’m not sure his 2018 update really adds anything shocking to the discussion.. who doesn’t know Trump is a fraud and a horribly unqualified person who is unfit for office. Oh yeah....all those who voted for him. And I’ve seen a couple of interviews with people who did vote for him who think he’s doing great. Are you kidding me? Are they all deaf, dumb and blind?
Haven't seen any Doctor Who? Don't know if you'll like the show?
Start here with the first episode of the rebooted series on Prime. It's free with your membership. The Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, was a one-season wonder. The important thing is to meet Rose, the Ninth and Tenth Doctor's wow-factor companion. She is played by Billie Piper.
>120 jessibud2: Good egg! Carry on.
>121 brenzi: I'd say Roth's 2018 comments are in keeping with the book's general tenor of anti-authoritarianism. Remembering that it was published in 2005 amid the scary-until-recently Bush years, that's unsurprising.
I never, ever thought I'd say this, but compared to 45 Bush looks positively statesmanlike.
15 Human Is by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4* of five
I'd give the episode 4.5 stars because it's a lot richer and more nuanced, and because it's got the ineffably lovely Essie Davis of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries fame as the female lead.
PKD's story is a different animal in the details...Vera and Silas Herrick are a scientist and a Colonel respectively, while Jill and Lester Herrick in the story are a housewife and a scientist respectively...but the broad strokes are the same. What exactly does it mean to be human? What makes someone a human being, mere accident of birth or some more inscrutable, indefinable something?
Both stories center on this question and answer it in the same way. These issues aren't unfamiliar to the modern audience, either. We face our McCarthyite issues by not facing them, just as our parents didn't face them in the 1950s until they were forced to do so by one courageous, outraged man.
We are still waiting for a man the equal of that one to arise, and wanna bet me he'll be a woman this time? She'd better get a wriggle on. Crap's gettin' all too real for the Dreamers and the deportees.
The episode's other beauties are all about textures of the world of 2520. The writer and the producers make this a very different Terra, and the visuals are glorious. The world-building is done so much more readily with images than it is with words. PKD did little more than sketch in a world like the 1954 he was living in but with robot servants, robants. The showrunners made the Earth Vera and Silas live on a major factor in the story, where to PKD's story it was unimportant.
Don't sprain anything hunting up the story. Sprain ankles, wrists, elbows if necessary to get the show into your eyes. It is outstanding.
I'm so so so ill after reading Donna Brazile's book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that put Donald Trump in the White House...not just for the sheer horror of the Russian hacking that swayed the election but for Brazile's quiet but obvious disdain for HRC's Establishment-ness and her clear, obvious dislike for the woman personally, which I can't help but think played a role in the debacle we're enduring now.
>125 richardderus: - I won't be reading that one but I have to wonder. Isn't Brazile considered an intelligent woman? Now, a full (if interminable) year in, is she apologetic or sorry for her hostility? Does she have any perspective on the consequences of the 2016 election results?
>126 jessibud2: Not that I can see.
She blames a lot of the problems she faced in energizing the Black, Latino, etc. vote on "Brooklyn" (where HRC's campaign HQ was) which is her code throughout the book for "New York Jews." It's part of flyover-country speak..."Manhattan" means faggots, "Harlem" means n-words. "Brooklyn" wasn't keen on spending money on anything but Major Media Outlets. This was, as we now know, a HUGE miscalculation on "Brooklyn"'s part.
The whole exercise is distasteful to me, but it's a LOT less infuriating than What Happened. That was one long mea exculpa. AWFUL human being, that HRC, a real out-of-touch daughter of white privilege.
>127 richardderus: - Apart from the fact that I am not American and therefore, never had a say, one way or another, I was never a fan of HRC either. But sometimes, reality bites, as they say, and sometimes, one must look at the lesser of the evils one is facing, especially when faced with such a grave choice. And the 2016 election was surely one of those times.
To be fair (or to play devil's advocate), I honestly think that NO ONE expected the result that occurred. NO ONE.
>128 jessibud2: You're dead right on that one! Fire & Fury is for absolute sure and certain proof that no one in 45's campaign thought for one instant they'd win. Brazile has a lot...A LOT...to say about how this debacle debacled all over us because Russia that's why.
I do not disagree with her. The only reason this nightmare occurred is that the DNC rigged the primaries, nominated someone who *failed* to win the nomination in 2008, and chose someone who has been the target of sustained media attacks since 1993 which, we can clearly see, worked.
This wouldn't have been close enough to steal had another candidate been in place.
In the film I saw yesterday (review on my thread), *The Final Year*, I remember one thing that was said (I think it was by Ben Rhodes but I may be wrong), was that they were a bit too late to realize that Putin doesn't represent interests of the Russian people. Putin only represents Putin's interests. (Echoes of SCROTUS, if I may say so...)
>130 jessibud2: Yep. In it for himself and himself alone. Like all dictators, I think, no one else is quite real to these men. Just interchangeable extras in the movies of their lives.
Happy Saturday afternoon, RD!
Stop reading books about drumpf and the 2016 election! I fear for your health.
>105 richardderus: As much as I love bacon, RD, I must admit that I felt my arteries hardening looking at the bacon weave taco. Is that mac’n’cheese? Yowza.
>106 richardderus: The counter chant to “love it or leave it” being “change it or lose it”. Now, more than ever.
*smooches* from Madame TVT Horrible
>132 karenmarie: I really need to stop. I think Brazile's will be the last one. I don't think I'll review it or I might have an aneurysm.
Back to my PKD reading and Electric Dreams watching!
16 Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 3* of five
The story is grim, grim, grim. I felt, while reading it, that I'd stumbled on evidence of PKD's time traveling abilities; the world of constant unending unrelenting BUYBUYBUYBUY messages, PAYMEPAYMEPAYME messages, etc. was too recognizable by half.
Interestingly, PKD said that he agreed with the fan response to the story (uniformly negative) in a 1978 interview. It's not a good piece, it lacks a sense of logic in the ending he's put on it, and from 21st century eyes Sally Morris, the wife-unit, could as easily have been a robot as the actual fasrad/robot in the story.
The episode? Well. Steve Buscemi did his usual desperate Joe Schmoe and the women around him were manipulative. Ordinary Buscemi. Of course he did the part well. He's a pro. Did I care? Not specially. I was amused that Buscemi sang "Flow my tears" with Jill...haw...get it, ancient music sung in a dying world and also a PKD ref because Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is a PKD novel about a pop singer in a dying-Earth police state...? Yeah, it's precious, and representative of what I think doesn't work well in the whole episode. Convoluted self-referential storytelling where the basic story isn't robust enough to support it.
But how the eff we got from story to episode I do not fathom. Like, at all. I didn't *mind* the episode, though I felt it was badly served by being presented after Human Is. That's such a great visual and storytelling treat of a show, and the story is superior to the "source material" here, so this poor little show was doomed to come off second best in every particular.
Richard, my dear, I'm glad to see you following Karen's advice and returning to some reading that is good for your health. On the other hand, I appreciate you taking so many hits for the team ~ reading your thread gives me at least an eensy peek into books I know I can't read without risking another trip to the emergency room through the back of an ambulance.
So I was looking at PKD books at Powell's yesterday and didn't purchase any. Is there one you'd recommend I read first as a toe-in-the-water exercise?
>135 EBT1002: Richard will have his own answer, Ellen, but I'd start with PKD's short stories. Or, if you'd rather do a novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Here's a pretty good primer from B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/philip-k-dick-primer-ranked-o...
Think I'm going to pass on PKD for a while longer. I've been meaning to read more of his work - I loved Do Androids Dream... but some of them seem rather painful.
Hope you are having a good weekend.
Good morning, RichardDear!
I have never read PKD, have Valis on my shelves, and the literary gods of LT say, with high confidence, that I probably won't like it. Hmmm...
Morning, RD! Happy Sunday. Mild here in the Midwest and the snow is gone for the time being...
Glad you are enjoying the PKD series. I will have to start that. Do you also watch "Black Mirror"? If not, it is very good.
>135 EBT1002: I'm just not able to hold a reasonable distance from the horrors of 45 and his shitbirds buzzing around the dungheap. Got to cleanse my brain of it.
>136 jnwelch: I agree with Joe, Ellen. Start with a collection of his stories. He rides certain hobbyhorses and those show up early and often. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a good novel just considered as a novel. The issue for most people is that they're expecting Blade Runner and they ain't a-gonna git it. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is another good novel for PKDism to take root.
>137 BekkaJo: I don't expect you'll ever particularly like PKD, Bekka, he's resolutely American in his sensibilities and, unlike non-SFnal American fiction writers, his twists and turns are probably going to be inscrutable to Brits.
>138 karenmarie: I'm not sure I agree with the LT Gods on this one. VALIS isn't PKD's best novel, but the Gnosticism might intrigue you. I suspect the thinness of the style will be what, if anything, causes you discomfort.
>139 msf59: Hiya Mark! It's a bee-yoo-tee-full day, sunny, 50°, and perfect. Yesterday was much the same. For January, I'll call that made of win. Next week rain, then cold again, but not Arctic blasty, so YAY! All the way around!
>122 richardderus: Thanks for that link! I'm having trouble finding it here in good old Canada. American Prime isn't available to me for some shows and my Canadian Prime account doesn't offer Dr Who. Netflix used to have it but I don't see it now. Boo
My silly library doesn't have it either. I'm going to cheat and see if my sister's city library has it and have her borrow for me.
Nate and I had watched an episode many years ago and didn't take to it right away, but I feel like it was a very old episode from the 60's. I will give your recommendation a try once I can find it.
17 Passing Shadows by Anna Butler
Rating: 4.5* of five
Oh my. Yes, Author Butler has done it, she's done my poor old man's heart muscle permanent injury this time.
Remember how much I liked the first four books? If not, refresh yourself by reading up on the pleasures of Bennet and Finn's world coming crashing down around their ears as they, fine fighting men that they are, do their dead-level best to mitigate or even prevent it from happening. That was Author Butler's first assault on me.
The second was making Bennet and Finn fall head-over-heels in love with each other. Despite Bennet's long-term relationship with Joss, Finn's love-'em-and-leave-'em history, Bennet's career in the spy corps, Finn's posting to Bennet's anti-gay father's ship....
And now, with this lovely tale of Liang and Alice and Matt and his loves...well...the damage, she is irretrievable. Because now we find out what happened to Earth, what this has done to the survivors, how the men and women of Humanity's diaspora likely lost their belief in the monotheistic gawd I so ridicule them for bothering themselves to believe in in the first place. I mean really, how could one take seriously a gawd that allowed the original home of your species to get utterly blown into ash and smithereens?
Of course the question of how they found and resurrected the Egyptian pantheon will niggle at me until Author Butler gets sick of my emails alternately demanding and supplying ideas for that lacuna's filling-upping. My current favorite: Bennet, retired from Shield, takes Finn, retired from Fleet, on a honeymoon to an archaeological dig on a newly relocated planet where Humanity stopped for a while and left behind clues about the Egyptian pantheon's recrudescence.
Hmm? Well, whadda y'all think?
Yeah, Author Butler's quiet about it too. *sigh*
Anyway. This novella is an afternoon's read, it sets the stakes for Bennet and Finn's world, and it contains this author's trademark homophile characters complete with real-life reasons to do what the plot tells them to. I like the series. I like the prequel. I suspect the Devourers have not vanished from Taking Shield. And I am eager to get the next full novel.
Like, REAL SOON. *glowers Blightyward*
>143 richardderus: thanks!
I left a note to you on my thread too but I had complete brain breakdown and was looking for “Dr Who”. Whoops
Time for chocolate-covered strawberries and port in front of the fire. How was your Sunday?
>146 richardderus: Can't complain. Fixed blueberry pancakes and sausage for breakfast/brunch. Put slivers of garlic in a lamb shoulder roast and stuffed it in a low oven before we went off to walk Molly in the park and take a peek (and a listen) to the new organist at the Spreckles Organ Pavillion--very nice. Only bad part to the day is the Patriots win, but at least we didn't have to watch it. Plans for the evening include snuggling up under a throw and reading. Smooches!
Not too bad here - finished getting Christmas lights off the roof, had some 12 yr Glenlivet, read a bunch from Hidden Figures.
18 The Hood Maker by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4* of five
The story was a tense, quick hit of paranoia. It's the development of PKD's longtime obsession with the development of the surveillance state that he, earlier than most, saw in its darkest and most accurate outlines. In the story, the teeps (telepathic humans) are surveillance agents for a frighteningly invasive US government, one that PKD was already fearful of by 1953 during the McCarthy era. He'd wig the fuck out at the internet age plus the NSA and its multivarious powers. The same refrain appears in the story as does in internet discourse: "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear! We're not interested in your petty life, we want to *protect* you by knowing everything about you."
No more true now than it was then.
The episode...a dark, grimy thing...is the opposite. The teeps are an oppressed minority. They're here for different reasons than are the PKD story teeps. The dramatis personae are shifted around as well. Motivations are skewed off the story beam.
But none of that is the source of my lack of love for the episode. It's true that the high point of my watching experience is, so far, "Human Is." This episode isn't up to that standard for multiple reasons. One of the biggest is the sheer filthiness of the lighting, the whackbashthud of the Symbolic Fog, the Endlessly Flickering Lights, the rattletrap cars practically disintegrating before our eyes. It's like an awkward hommage to Blade Runner made on a shoestring.
One of the key images running through the episode is of Richard Madden's cop character as a child standing in a trout stream fishing with his dad. Beautiful, fast-running water with all sorts of greenery and places for the quarry to hide. GET IT? HUH? DO YA GET IT already because believe you me you'll be seeing it again! And again! And yet again!
It doesn't help my opinion of the director much that Holliday Grainger's teep/partner cop character wades in this hommage-à-Millais scene with her red Ophelia hair:
It's just too damned unsubtle to be effective, though I give the writer and the producers big props for flipping the script and making the stakes so very much higher: Actual survival. Actual, in-progress survival of two different Homo species. But Ophelia! Mad Ophelia, absent agency and unable to comprehend the death hiding in the water? Betrayed Ophelia, deprived of a sense of up or down by a man's duplicity? BANGBANGBANG on the metal door with only an eye-slit and backlit by flames! UNDERSTAND ME?! ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION NOW?!
Also excellent, and I do mean excellent, is the re-envisioned Hoods. The ones PKD described are bland and technological and uninteresting, while these Hoods are genius for their improved metaphorical impact, their stunning cheapness of manufacture, their deepening of the thread running through the episode that I most liked: books.
That's right, one and all, this episode more than any previous one in the series (as Amazon is presenting them in the US, not as channel 4 does in the UK) brings books to the visual and textual fore. Richard Madden's quite nice apartment is *crammed* with books. The Hoods are made from bookish material. They're made in an old book depository.
Okay okay, they went overboard here as well but it's about books so I ain't zingin' 'em on it. And this leads me to a note of *harrumph* about Prime's ordering of the episodes: This is the first episode channel 4 aired in the UK. This strikes me as a better intro to the series in many ways than was "Autofac" (though the young man who's the mostly-nude boytoy of the revolutionary woman is a librarian, and the revolutionary explicitly says that's his appeal for her).
But no matter what, this episode's heaviness, visual, metaphorical, message-laden heaviness, would've come better before the light, deft, peak viewing experience of "Human Is." Watch this one first. Then follow Prime's order.
>146 richardderus: Reaching for a chocolate-covered strawberry! It's been a long day. I spend most of Sundays at church. I'm on the 8 am praise team at church. The choir sings at the 10:45 service so I always stay until we're done singing the special and get to the "shake and howdy-do time" to slip out. I am usually back up at the church by about 4 pm to get ready for youth choir which I help lead. Tonight I sang the special at the 6 pm service (and was on praise team). The cats are napping, and I wish I could join them. I'll be able to do it in 40 to 50 minutes.
>151 thornton37814: That is one jam-packed day, Lori. I'm sure your feet hurt. Rest well and soon!
Hi Richard. Belatedly returning your visit to my thread. Um... I finished the champagne but I brought flowers.
And now, because your thread is filled with food, I have to go and find lunch, it being 2pm in these climes (even though, I confess, I skimmed through as fast as politely possible).
>105 richardderus: what in gimbly veronica is that!? I'd like to take the moral high ground here and say......actually, let me use *try* a little bit first and see....
(famous last words)
>122 richardderus: love that Dr Who wrap up! I have watched only one episode with the kinder, they were frightened by its extremely frightening scenes (which also frightened me). So maybe I need to go back to the Tom Baker days..OR..maybe even Jon Pertwee for some more low key Dr Who action.
Has the day improved? I heard via Joe's thread that you were in need of caffeine, sugar, and fat (STAT).
Because I know you're going to need more than one cup.
Good morning, RD!
Hmm. I must keep my eye out for more PKD and actually read Valis.
Have a loverly day. *smooches*
Good morning, Richard! I hope you had a good weekend.
Bonhoeffer has been arrested, but not for the obvious secret reason. He stays in jail for 18 months before he is ultimately killed as a member of plot to kill Hitler. However, for the moment, he chilling in Gestapo jail doing his pastor thing while running a master con of ignorance on his captors.
19 Foster, You're Dead! by Philip K. Dick/"Safe and Sound" by Kalen Egan and Travis Sentell
Rating: 3* of five, 2.5 for the story and 4 for the episode
This story wasn't that great. Mike is a flat, annoying git of a character, one note all the way through; dad's not a lot better; the central principle of the tale, consumerism is bad, is so ham-fistedly bitch-slappingly shoved on us that the truth and reality of its 60-year-old message is drowned out by the reader's cries of "ow! Ow! Stop hitting me!"
The episode, called "Safe and Sound," that Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams made from it, is more nuanced. It sets the tale in a terrorism-obsessed security surveillance state, only lightly exaggerated from the one we live in. Foster is now a socially anxious teenaged girl, no more likeable than Mike was in the story but more understandable because she is manipulated by more subtle means than Mike ever was. In fact the means of manipulation is devilishly clever. I think it's going on today, in fact *glowers in Apple's general direction* and is probably already as disgusting as the show makes it.
The visuals are, as always, stunning. The surface gloss and the brilliance of the color palette is perfection. The meanings aren't subtle, but the effect is generally well handled and affects the viewer's perception of the characters without becoming distractingly obvious.
Until the ending, of course. When teenaged Foster's social apotheosis is achieved, it's signaled by painfully obvious and a bit over the top recolorization. It's a minor enough flaw that I can't really bear down on it, but it's one that's consistent in the entire series: Characters whose status changes in these tales are re-colored. As tropes go it's an effective one. It can be done well, eg "Human Is" and even "Real Life," but when it becomes noticeable to the casual viewer it might be time to dial back a notch or two for future episodes.
And there will be future episodes. Black Mirror has had the SFnal anthology series to itself long enough, and PKD's paranoid anti-consumerism anti-surveillance ouevre is RIPE for today's audiences to consume.
>153 humouress: Hi Nina! Happy to see you, and the flowers are lovely. Brightens the place up both ways!
>154 LovingLit: What extremely frightening scenes? Which episode? I know people say Doctor Who is scary but, apart from the Weeping Angels who fill me with existential dread, none of the other creatures even make me shiver.
What am I missing? What dead spot in my soul is being highlighted?
I'm adequately caffeinated now, and have gorged on fats in the form of meat and butter, so I can be relied on to make as much sense as I ever do.
>155 Crazymamie: Good Mon...I mean, Hi there Mamie! I'm delighted to be caffeinated so thoroughly. *smooch*
>156 karenmarie: Hey Horrible, happy house-to-yourself day. PKD's VALIS will be a most intriguing experiment....
>157 brodiew2: Hey there, Brodie, welcome! I think your assessment of Bonhoeffer as running a con is spot-on. He's got to make it believable, and he's got the chops to do it, so he lives another 18 months...I wonder what survival of the Nazi era would've done to his reputation? There was little trust in postwar Germany, would his survival have been seen as implicit collaboration? A thought to ponder.
I also tried to watch New Who with my kids at a younger age (6-8) and some of the imagery was scary for them. I know that show was originally a 'kids show' in Britain, but I think it was/is sci fi with monsters. Heck, I remember thinking the Sleestack were creepy in 'Land of the Lost'.
>160 richardderus: I learned the Bonhoeffer's uncle was a high ranking official in the prison system, which helped ease his time there. but, for him, the affiliation was both good and bad. It doesn't mention if his uncle is a Nazi. The book is pretty clear on the fact the almost all of the Bonhoeffer family were anti-Nazi.
>161 brodiew2: ...I am deficient...I see nothing scary. Well, no kids to watch with makes it harder to assess since my emotional responses to things don't go to "scary" until different kinds of buttons are pressed.
I think a lot could've been made about Uncle's position had Bonhoeffer survived and had there been a political advantage to it. Truth counts for little in politics, then or now.
By the way, it may be a wee bit snobbish of me, but I can't believe I'm turning to Barnes & Noble for reading advice. AND... it's an awesome overview!
I just purchased Selected Stories of Phillip K. Dick for my Kindle.
>161 brodiew2: Doctor Who was always known - especially in Britain - as a show you watched while hiding behind the couch
Agree that the 9th Doctor and the modern reboot (and Rose!) is the place to begin.
R--You are on a Phillip K Dick tear!! I really should grab another one of his...keep writing your reviews so I can check them out when I am ready to plunge in. ; )
I only ever read (better: listened to) Electric Sheep because it's a 1001, and while I liked it, I never tried any other PKD. Might get those selected stories as well, to read more outside my comfort zone.
>158 richardderus: I've NEVER read a book by Philip K Dick! I keep telling myself I need to, but I just never get around to it. I would probably start with one of his novels, though, I'm not huge on short stories for some reason.
It's spring-like in the Nation's Blah today, I didn't even wear a coat. Huzzah!
>165 EBT1002: Heh...I have always felt the same way. "WHAT? A *bookseller* is someone I should trust to advise me?!" I seek out other sources...like here.
>166 BBGirl55: Heh!! *dances victory dance* I win!
>167 magicians_nephew: I was in my late teens when PBS re-ran Doctor Who's Fourth Doctor episodes. It wasn't scary to teenaged me, so I sort of forgot about the proceedings.
>168 Berly: Hey Berly-boo, I've been watching the Electric Dreams anthology series and reading along. It's always interesting to me to read the source material for filmed entertainment. I'm getting quite an education in this series since it relies on a single author's ouevre.
>169 Deern: I'd recommend this collection since it's only 99¢ in US money. I'm sure it's equally cheap in the EU since all the stories in it are public domain.
>170 The_Hibernator: Hello Rachel! I'm glad to see you around here. I'd recommend starting with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? because it's a lot of noir-flavored fun.
>171 SomeGuyInVirginia: It's 51° and fog/rain keeps the air from feeling crisp...but WOW what a difference from the Arctic blast! So grateful to have a break from that nose-hair-freezing event.
>174 brodiew2: Happy Tuesday, Brodie!
We'll end up paying for it, I'm sure, but right now it's 69F, blue skies, and blustery. I even went outside to fill the bird feeders.
>176 magicians_nephew: Hence my use of PKD everywhere, Jim. Agreed that The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is an excellent novel. I don't recommend it as a place to access PKD because it's so fully self-involved that some onramping helps new visitors to the dangerous visions get oriented.
>177 karenmarie: *smooch* Happy you're enjoying this respite, dearest.
>170 The_Hibernator: Same here, I confess. Though he does seem a bit dystopian, which is not quite my flavour.
20 Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House by Donna Brazile
I said I wasn't going to review this book. I meant that. But the Epilogue has a phrase in it that I believe we all need to hear. Page 234:
This election...broke all the rules and destroyed all the traditions of civility—but after a firestorm what comes up first is hearty and strong. As a country we are back down to the fundamental questions: Who are we? What do we value? Can we find a way to trust again and not just seeing each other as partisan enemies? Can we remember that we have more in common as Americans than the issues that divide us?
I'm pretty much firmly rooted in the "nope, I'm holding a grudge against you shitholes for doing this to the rest of us" camp. But Brazile's question is a good one to consider our answer to, and a very good one to ponder the implications of.
The primary appeal of this book is the clarity and completeness of Brazile's insider account of dealing with the fallout from the DNC hacking. The primary lack of appeal for me was Brazile's use of flyover-country code "Brooklyn" for HRC's campaign...it means "New York Jews" in heartland political circles.
I didn't start this book liking Ms. Brazile and I finished it still not liking her.
>182 richardderus: I've been enjoying your discussion of these political books (that I probably won't be able to bring myself to read). The quote from this one puts me in mind of a podcast I listened to recently where they were saying we need, as a country, to think about what we think the role of a president ought to be and that lately we, as a country, pretty much have no consensus on that.
>183 lycomayflower: I think that's a fruitful discussion to start. I truly wish I could gag down my disdain and contempt for 45's supporters long enough not to say "what on this wide green earth makes you think your stupid, wrong, disproved, and generally disgusting ideas need to be perpetuated?", which pretty much guarantees a nasty (if satisfying) fight will ensue, in order to ask a constructive and open-ended de-fanged version of the same sentiment. But the truth of the matter is, if a person is going to say racist, classist, and/or other ignorant dumb-fuckery, I am going to blast away at them with both barrels and then reload to blast some more.
I am clearly not political timber.
>185 BBGirl55: Ha! Already in my hands so its provenance matters not. *nyah*
I posted a link to a short interview with David Frum yesterday on my thread. Today, there was a much more in-depth interview, and from an *insider* (Frum is a Republican but has been anti-trump from the get-go), this is a chilling if clear-eyed look at what is facing us. Yes, I said *us* because even though I am not American, clearly what that elephant does affects us all.
Trumpocracy is like gum disease
I can see that I am more partial to the interviews than to actually reading the books, I think because I doubt I could stomach that much exposure to the topic. Interviews make it feel more personal and immediate but keep it to the short timelines that I can handle.
>187 jessibud2: I think the gum disease metaphor is ideal for 45...unsightly, smelly, and in the long run more insidiously damaging to health than its immediate effects.
Also says something about the kind of person it afflicts.
Yeup. Perfect metaphor.
One major problem with the US election's results is that the ENTIRE WORLD is seriously impacted by them and that gets NO thought from our electorate. Pretty much nothing gets thought from much of our electorate, which I find depressing. I hope like hell the Millennials are disgusted enough with their parents' choices to get the hell off their butts and vote in November. Their lack of enthusiasm for HRC is what opened the door for the Russians to install 45 in the first place.
Dunno haven't started it yet. Gracious, child! I wait three or four years on average before TBR books get read.
I get 2 re checks for books to unless they are a new release you get between 2-4 days.
Hi, RD. Glad you are enjoying some mild weather. I am also pleased that you are having a good time with Electric Dreams. I hope to sample some of these, this week.
>181 richardderus: Jaybus! Oh look, you found those Funions.
Well I’m not surprised by anything Brazile brought out in her book but I have to wonder what her whole point was. Hasn’t she pretty much made herself a pariah for her party?
21 The Father-Thing by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4* of five
The episode of Electric Dreams changes the plot little. Charlie sees his father get...inhabited?...by something that has to be alien. Charlie's mother isn't much of a factor in the story, and in the episode she's sort-of divorcing his dad...there's a teacher named "Mr. Dick" in the episode...I can't make the whole thing work in my head...what's the hell of knowing something that no one else knows if not not being able to say how and why you know it.
AKA "being a kid."
>199 humouress: I'm an East Coast voter since I was 27 but the first bits I was in the Heartland *yearning* to escape.
And yeah, prolly not something to think much about.
>200 brenzi: She needed, I suppose, to "set the record straight" about what led to the debacle. In point of fact I agree with that motive. She's correct in what she says about the HRC campaign and, as events have proved, the candidate herself wasn't the correct choice for the party. But why Brazile had to make the unpleasantness so...like the GOP's politics...is what gets up my nose.
>175 richardderus: Yes, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is certainly one that I have been thinking about starting with. It seems the perfect place to start.
As far as short stories go, I have The Weird, which every once in a while I read a story from. It's very long and intimidating, but it also has quite an interesting collection. Perhaps I should try reading one each week as a way to ease into reading short stories again. :)
Good morning, RichardDear. Another beautiful day down here in central NC.
>182 richardderus: I won't ever read this one, but I do like the quote and question posed. However, I won't think about it right now because I'm still in a good place this morning 'cuz I'm reading The Far Side Gallery 5 and getting in a few laughs. Haven't looked at any news feeds either. Can you say ostrich?
"Invasion from Mars" in the 1950's was the ultimate "My parents are space aliens" story.
Richard, have you ever read Thomas M. Disch? Man, I loved his The M.D. and The Businessman.
>205 The_Hibernator: The Weird is a great collection but it's so big I bought the Kindle version.
>206 karenmarie: Hey Horrible, it's finally cleared up but it got cold again! Maybe 42° tops. *glares at the vice-goddess which art in Georgia* Sun. Warm. One more time!
>207 jnwelch: Good gravy, Clans of the Alphane Moon! I haven't read that one but I feel sure it's in an omnibus of his novels...maybe the one I have...can't remember.
>208 magicians_nephew: I only remember an anthology by that title. One with an Orson Welles script for War of the Worlds. Who wrote it?
>209 SomeGuyInVirginia: bis Thomas M. Disch is familiar indeed. 334 was a favorite of mine in 1970s Texas, as it sounded so much *cooler* to live in squalid, scary New York than whitebread Austin, full of bureaucrats and professors and leftover hippies.
Good morning, Richard! I hope all is well in the Dick world. :-) I guess you are right about Time Out of Joint. How else could it have ended. LOL. Have a good one!
172 messages behind! I'm just starting fresh from here, so there - nyah!
Hello, Richard - beautiful sunny day here today. Hope it's as nice over on your side :)
>212 brodiew2: Hi Brodie! All the Dicks around here are top notch, thanks for the well-wishes and inquiry. Nothing about PKD's writing in general is less than surprising, not least the fact that he's always on about the same subjects from similar angles and yet still manages to make the conclusions/endings satisfying.
>213 katiekrug: *whew* That means all that Katie-bashing breezes past you. Thank GOODNESS. I feared for my physical safety for a minute.
It's so sunny it hurts. It's also chilly so there's that. But overall I'm a happy guy since two days of gloom were enough for me.
Hi RD! It's been a few years since I had time to visit these lovely threads but I'm so glad to see you breezing along!
Looking forward to seeing your reads and your threads explode!
>215 jolerie: Valerie! I'm so pleased to see you around here! How is life in the great Albertan plain? I hope you'll be around more often. I myownself just came back to the fold in 2017. See you around.
22 The Impossible Planet by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 3.5* of five
Maybe 10 pages of text and then it's over...but the trip was fun. I wasn't all that impressed by the characters but I like PKD's take on the survival of myth/fact as legend. But more than anything else, the nature of belief in legends, myths, stories, as ways of understanding and organizing one's life, is the heart of this heartful tale. It's a genuine pleasure to read a PKD story that's not cynical...and I'm saying that about a story of a con man conning a dying old lady out of a lot of money!
But believe me when I tell you, the older I get the more I understand why rich old people pay young and pretty cons for the chance to relive a past long dead. Irma, our old lady victim, isn't...she's taking control of her death, she's seeing what she wants and making sure she pays everyone involved to keep her illusions intact. No one knows for sure what's on The Other Side but we're damned sure that you can't take it with you. She wanted to die on Earth. She died, and she got to think it was Earth.
Remember the ending of Planet of the Apes?
The episode of Electric Dreams based on this story is just fine. I've seen whining and bitching about its ambiguous ending, which is different from the story's, but really now! Ambiguity is what the best kind of story leaves you with.
My cavil with the episode is the mismatch of stories the leads are acting in: Geraldine Chaplin is a right old tart, Jack Reynor is a gormless lump of protoplasm.
I can't see how either of these people got into any kind of relationship with the other. The age difference be damned, the lad's unbaked. It was a problem for me every step of the way. I couldn't make the performances match at all. The story gets a level higher in its details, there's no question. There's more room in 45 minutes than there is in 10 pages. A lot of what got added wasn't a surprise by any means. I'm fine with that.
But someone needs to tell me why the robant (robot servant is there at all, why it had nothing to do, why the robant could sometimes talk to the deaf woman without the clunky text-translator she uses with her boy-toy, why it has emotions....
So three and a half stars because the central questions make so much sense to me.
Sigh...I have a bunch of PKD on my TBR pile. Time to get moving.
And I respectfully must disagree with the reason to watch Doctor 9 is to meet Rose - Rose (and Martha), IMO are the absolute worst companions. Rose was so self-absorbed and flirty, and just UGH, while Martha was too love-struck and also UGH. I've been a fan since the early 80s and have seen every episode of Doctor Who, old and new, that's available, and even Adrick was better than Rose and Martha! Things finally picked up companion-wise with Donna, then Amy and Rory, and went back downhill with Clara. Romance with the Doctor is just out of place IMO.
>159 richardderus: re: scary Doctor Who scenes. It was a recent one, and there were these ghosty thingies which appeared out of water and scared the ba-jingoes out of me (and the kids). I had had the impression that the scariest thing in the series was a dalek chanting "I will exterminate"
And now, back to my beer. A medicinal drop to ease the heat of the day away.....
A Thought for the Day, via Anu Garg:
Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind. -William Somerset Maugham, writer (25 Jan 1874-1965)
>218 rretzler: Hustle up on those PKD reads, Robin!
Doctor Who companions are an endless source of debate among Whovians, aren't they? I'm a bigger fan of the Ponds than I am of Rose, but Rose brings in the fans.
>219 LovingLit: Beer! Enjoy that heat escaper, there, Megan.
>220 karenmarie: *smooch* Hey Horrible!
>188 richardderus: One major problem with the US election's results is that the ENTIRE WORLD is seriously impacted by them and that gets NO thought from our electorate. Thank you for that, Richard. That is what I find hard to stomach. We all have to live with the decision that the US electorate made and we don't have any say. It is kind of like living north of a powder keg, only worse.
The Albertan plains...well ya know...a lot of white and grey with temps that really shouldn't be habitable, but we make the best of it. ;)
I hope you are situated in more warmer, livable, not freezing your tush off climates!
Loving your Electric Dreams binge. The only PKD I ever read was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
sorry partner "Invasion from Mars" was a movie - a classic 50's paranoia movie where the Martians are the Communists and there are burglers under the bed and the hero keeping saying "But there ARE Martians - really!" while everyone smiles sympathetically and nods in disbelief.
>223 Familyhistorian: It's the no-input issue that annoys me most. Our economy, for better or worse, allows us to dominate the planet. This won't last, however, as by the end of the next decade the Chinese will be in that position. I suspect our electorate will change character soon, as the Millennials realize that their voices need to be heard. I'm hoping for 2018.
>224 jolerie: I'm right next to the North Atlantic, as I live on the beach in Long Beach, New York. It moderates the extremes that continental climates experience, but leads to winds that are *penetrating* when they blow across 1000+ miles of unobstructed cold water!
>225 SuziQoregon: Give Ubik a whirl, Juli. It's a good novel. Trademark PKD obsession with privacy that probably resonates more strongly now than it did when the novel was published in 1970 or thereabouts.
>226 magicians_nephew: Oh! THAT Invaders from Mars! I don't think I saw it, though I can't imagine that's really possible since I vacuumed up the Saturday afternoon movies from 1968-1978.
The 2018 PEN America Award finalists are revealed and it's one fine shopping list.
>229 richardderus: you Americans have so many amazeballs writers. And some good book jacket designers too, by the looks!!!
>230 richardderus: haha...and we are too polite to ask for it back. ;)
Megan totally snuck in there!
>231 LovingLit: Don't we? Yet out of 325MM people, it rather takes its proper perspective...not really a large percentage of population. Heck, Aotearoa has more amazeballs writers per capita than we do. Five or six out of ten thousand six hundred nineteen is astonishing!
>232 jolerie: I was a wee bit shocked that an entire supercontinent snuck past me, Valerie. Nuna was a supercontinent 1.7bn years ago!! Whaaaaat? Never heard of it, never knew we could figure out the configuration of the world so long ago, never imagined such immense reorientations of the planet's habitable bits. Why I love science, part 191846658974.
Imagine what else is sneaking past you RD if a whole continent can do that! ;)
Yes, science is amazing and it always reminds me just how little of my brain can truly understand it all. So glad there are geniuses out there who can figure it all out and explain it to us average brain peeps.
Like that stonking meteoroid swinging within a few feet of Earth on Sunday the 4th! Didn't know about that until today, either. Scary!
Afternoon, BigDaddy! I have been marking all of your PKD reviews as favorites, so I can come back and read them as I go along - planning on reading the story and then watching the episode, but I haven't started yet.
Brought you this - hoping to make it this weekend:
Lemon Yogurt Cake
Oh dear, I seem to have eaten the entire thing. Tsk. Thank you, sweetness, it hit every spot that needed hittin'.
I am so hopeful you'll enjoy Electric Dreams! I won't call it (or damn near anything else) perfect but I'll tell you what I am de-double-lighted that we have both it and Black Mirror to choose from. I love the anthology series format! The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, all those Playhouse 90 variants from the 1950s...so much good one-off stuff! I know it's like PBS's schedule, but to me that's not a criticism.
Hopelessly out of touch, me.
>230 richardderus: Interesting that they know part of Queensland came from Canada but they don't mention which part of Canada - it is kind of large, you know.
>236 Crazymamie: Mmm, lemon cake is one of my favourites. Think I'll just sneak a slice before Richard sees. Oops looks like he got there before I did.
>238 Familyhistorian: Canada? Large? Whatever do you mean, Meg? *blink*
Given that they're calling the ancient supercontinent "Nuna" I just assumed it was from somewhere up North contiguous with mainland parts of Nunavut, or even Nunavik in Quebec because that's so close to the Laurentian Shield where they found the oldest rocks in the world.
>239 richardderus: The oldest rocks in the world? How do they know that?
Different methods are used to date the rate of decay of radioactive elements in the makeup of different rocks. Slave Lake has some of the oldest surface rocks ever found. Some zircons found in ancient rock discovered in Australia have been dated to the Hadean era!! Four and a half BILLION years ago these things formed!!
I am in awe of them, and of the scientists who developed the techniques and technology to figure out such facts.
Sweet Thursday, RD! Hope you are having a good day. Milder day in Chicagoland. Pushin' 50 tomorrow...
>241 richardderus: Did you watch Making North America on Nova by any chance? Dealt with a lot of the super old geology that I find fascinating. Especially liked the part showing Gooseberry Falls in northern Minnesota and the story of how the falls (popular tourist attraction) are the direct result of one of the largest super volcanoes known. Cool stuff.
>242 msf59: Milder begins here on Saturday, Mark, today was cold and tomorrow chillyness will abound, but mild...49°...will return. It's a small price to pay but I confess I really enjoy the milder side of winter these days.
>243 Oberon: I didn't watch that one! I think I saw it on Netflix, or maybe Prime, but figured I'd catch it later then forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder, Erik!
ETA Numbers cuz Apparently I can't count.
I am going to hijack your thread for a minute.
Tim and the LT crew set up a thread for those LT'ers who might be attending the American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference in Denver, Colorado, February 9-12, 2018. LT is offering free passes and the link to get those passes is here. https://www.librarything.com/topic/285564
If those who are attending would like to meet-up - I'm game, and would plan one, so let us (Tim and I) know over on the other thread.
ALA is a great place to see what publishers are offering and to pick up free ARC's of up-coming publications, so if you live close to Denver you might think of driving in, over, down, or up and participating for free courtesy of LT.
23 The Commuter by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4.5* of five...four for the story, five for the episode of Electric Dreams
An interesting exercise in the wander-between-worlds genre of SF morphs into a meditation on happiness and the nature of reality, construct or absolute?, in the hands of the episode's writer Jack Thorne. I was absolutely mesmerized by the performance that Timothy Spall (Wormtail of the Harry Potter films) gave as the railway employee who just can't make out what the hell's going on when a lovely woman tries to buy a pass to Macon Heights, a nonexistent place. She's quite insistent, and then when he turns away for a moment to get a route map, she's vanished.
As in doesn't exist.
When he goes home to his wife and son, he finds the police there ahead of him. His son Sam has, not for the first time, acted out violently. The problem is affecting his marriage, the problem is ruining his life...he falls asleep.
When he wakes up, he encounters the mysterious Macon Heights woman again, and he decides to go to the exact place she says that Macon Heights, which doesn't exist, is. He sees other people jumping off the train at that point and joins them as they walk across a field to a fog-shrouded town.
And then everything gets weird. He goes back to his life and his son is gone. Never existed. For a moment, he remembers his son, but that passes and he comforts his wife for their failure to have kids.
Back in Macon Heights a second time.
Home to more changes. He confronts the absence of his son, the hole in his life that his son once filled.
Back in Macon Heights a third time, this time to demand of the tutelary spirit of the place that his proper reality be restored to him and be damned the specious, spurious ease of Macon Heights.
Have you experienced a pain so horrible, so grinding, so all-consuming, that you wish it and all the things associated with it away? I suspect most of us have. But would you be willing to trade in all the beauty and all the possibility that real life as you've lived it has brought you? No more pain...no more joy...but a chance to reset the game.
Are you going to take the deal?
Just checking in before I do go to bed, and in my opinion, you DO rock this Little World. Just saying...
Good morning, RichardDear. I'll be having lunch with Aunt Ann, spending a gift card at a cooking gadgets store, and trying to be strong at Barnes & Noble today.
>250 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! Sending transAtlantic *smooch*es
>251 Berly: Hey Kimmers! *smooch*
>252 BekkaJo: *baaawww* Thanks, Bekka, you're kind to say so.
>253 karenmarie: The only strength you need when going B&N-ward is the strength to heft the bags of books, Horrible. Don't front!
Lunch with Aunt Ann is a treat indeed.
Good morning, Richard. Bonhoeffer is finished. Excellent, expansive, dare I say, definitive biography by Metaxas. Such an in depth look at not only Bonhoeffer ihimself, but the rise and eventual fall of National Socialism. I'm glad I did it.
24 Doctor Who: The Time of Angels by Trevor Baxendale
Rating: 3* of five
That sounds like a low rating, doesn't it? But in point of fact, this is a middle-grade illustrated book based on the two Eleventh Doctor episodes The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone, set on the crashed ship Byzantium and featuring the delicious River Song and ubercompanion Amy Pond. As I'm already very familiar with the source material, I can't in good conscience rate the book on anything except its presentation of those episodes' main points.
Trevor Baxendale does a fine job of that. I am astonished so much of the episodes made it into a 64-page book for fourth graders! But there are some small details, like characters whose appearances and disappearances are left in but not explained, that reduced my rating.
But fellow Whovians take note: There's a wonderful way to introduce your younger reader to the scariest imaginable Who villains without trauma! And even some of your older reluctant readers might be lured into reading this simple-not-easy illustrated book. The vocabulary isn't dumbed down, and the concepts are there. I am right pleased with this discovery.
"Willoughby! Next stop is Willoughby"
I get the love for Rose but Amy Pond is my favorite of the Who-vian companions.
>259 richardderus: No doubt you will prove right about missing Bonhoeffer, Richard. It as a testament to the author and narrator that the book has had has high an impact as it has. Again, I appreciate your willing ear.
I am now on to What if? by Randall Munroe. Narrated by Will Wheaton. Feels like good times already.
>260 magicians_nephew: Rory and Amy Pond, the Ponds, are my all-time favorites as well. The Rose intro is probably always going to trump Amy's, though, as she's essentially rescued instead of abandoned.
>261 brodiew2: That's an all-time great browse-book idea. Wil Wheaton narrating it makes all the sense in the world to me.
Bonhoeffer continues to build bridges, eh what? An admirable legacy for anyone.
25 The Hanging Man by Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4.5* of five, 4 for the story and 5 for "Kill All Others," the episode of Electric Dreams based on it.
I loved the story, Ed Loyce driving his (uberswanky, like a Bentley) Packard to his TV sales outlet where one of his men is about to close a deal on an Emerson TV (think curved OLED Philips). He gets out of his leather-lined wallet wagon and...
...there's a man hanging from the lamppost. A dead man. Just hanging around.
Needless to say, he FLIPS THE FUCK OUT. No one he tries to get interested in a dead dude hanging from the lamppost so much as bats an eyelash.
Poor Ed. He sees what no one else sees. And that makes him a big ol' target. The way it goes down is the way it always goes down when someone says, "hey! Look! That murdered thing you're ignoring is real and guess what it could be YOU!" This story was published in December 1953 so of course it wasn't *humans* that were murdering humans and hanging them from lampposts, with its recent-history echo of the ultimate fate of Benito Mussolini.
Fast forward to 2017 and the brakes are off. Philbert Noyce is the one of the last three humans working in a factory in MexUsCan. Yowza. That right there? That'd be enough for the average entire show in a lesser series. Phil's wife is boffing a coffee ad (I'd boff him too!) that's a lot more 3D than holograms are in this sadly deficient time we live in. He sees The Candidate, anointed by votes cast for her from all over MexUsCan (!!) after The Culling of the other Candidates, as the leader, start advocating "KILL ALL OTHERS" and freaks the fuck out!
You know the rest. See above.
It was a stellar, amazing storytelling choice to make Philbert and his wife painfully ordinary, unpretty people. It was genius to make The Candidate heterochromic, one blue one brown eye. It was a bit heavy-handed to make some music choices that they made...I won't complain about that, it might not bother others, but it was the sour note in an otherwise pitch-perfect evocation of a man presenting classic symptoms of a psychotic break that we the audience know is simply seeing the world accurately.
This is the tenth and last, for the moment, episode of the series. If you haven't watched any of them yet, save this one for last. It is a treat to watch.
Me myownself, I feel like Philbert. Am I crazy? Yeah, more than likely...but that doesn't mean that really sour shit isn't going down and the majority of the sheeple aren't so much as lifting their heads from the grass. It's a scary, scary feeling.
This topic was continued by richardderus fourth thread of 2018.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.