TalkFebruary Read - SPOILERS - The Lathe of Heaven

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February Read - SPOILERS - The Lathe of Heaven

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Feb 5, 2013, 9:07am

Forgot about this until I saw someone mention it. I'll be starting reading today. For once, I actually own the book!

Feb 5, 2013, 1:29pm

I finished this a few days ago. It was a quick read for me as I couldn't put the book down. I will go back and read it more slowly some time in the future, as I'm sure I missed some subtleties in my eagerness to devour the plot.

A few thoughts ...

The book felt like a Philip K. Dick novel to me, in the futuristic-yet-retro setting, the characters, and the dubious, uncertain nature of reality. The latter hit me right from the first chapter - what was Orr really experiencing and what was a vision/hallucination?

I don't know much about Taoism, but I gather that Orr's combination of apparent passivity and strength is meant to reflect its principles. It is certainly a stark contrast to Haber's reckless determination to change and organise things as he thinks best. An irresistible force meeting an immovable object, with the fate of the planet at stake.

I loved the aliens in their eventual form, once they start communicating with Orr.

Looking forward to others' thoughts on the novel once you've finished it!

Feb 11, 2013, 1:49pm

I felt that UKL hurried into the issues without giving us much reason to care about the characters. I certainly didn't relate to ol' Jorjor the way I did to Genly Ai, Shevek, or Ged. We see various characters' positive reaction to George, especially Heather's, but I didn't see him doing things to provoke those reactions. Did you? Haber, OTOH, is eventually drawn quite nicely, with his developing megalomania, and he's clearly the primary target of the title's warning.

I think the reference to PKD is very appropriate. A lot of his work has a sort of hurried feel to it, and I got that same feeling here. I liked the casual references to recent historical events.

LeGuin is clearly fascinated by dreaming. I liked how she used it in The Word for World is Forest too.

Feb 17, 2013, 3:52pm

4 out of 10 stars
As I've said before, if I don't like the characters, I don't like the book. George's, the main character's, only interesting quality is his ability to dream reality into being. Otherwise, he's a boring milquetoast of a man. Heather is a one-dimensional ball-buster. Huber, the bad guy, is a slimy, egomaniac with delusions of grandeur. Add in some psychobabble, a meandering plot, and some deus ex machina aliens. I have to say I really didn't like this book at all. Thankfully it was short or I wouldn't have been able to finish it. I'm done with LeGuin. I've read several of her books and the only ones I thought were any good were her Earthsea series.

Feb 18, 2013, 8:00pm

Sorry to hear that, Morphy. Several of UKL's novels are among my favorites. Have you read The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Beginning Place, and or Lavinia? I found all of those wonderful.

Edited: Feb 18, 2013, 8:37pm

I've read The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed and didn't like either. So Lathe is a third strike, she's out.

Mar 2, 2013, 12:41pm

Yay! I just finished this--bit late, but you know what they say about better late than never.

I quite enjoyed it. I thought it had an interesting premise that was sort of reverse time-travel.

Time travel: Change the past and have unintended horribly painful consequences in the future.

Effective dreaming: Change the present and have the past changed in a unique, unexpected horribly painful way--
which of course leads to more change in the present.

I can see where all the background on dreaming could be tedious. Having a narcoleptic in the family, I was fairly familiar with all the sleep and dream states and didn't think it un-interesting. I am also willing to give George more of a pass for being less-than-effective since I've seen what lack of sleep, as well as sleep changing drugs, do to one's mind and personality.

And it leads to lots of additional conjecture in my mind: What would have been Huber's next step if he had not been derailed by his nightmare? Would consequences of time travel or effective dreaming be easier to control.......

What would I choose? Would I have done any better? Heehee -- just give me a shot at being queen of the universe (benevolent of course!) and we'll try it out. Do you suppose the creation of chocolate with no calories and no harmful artifical sweeteners could have a negative impact on the world?

Also, while trying to fit it into this month's TIOLI challenges on the 75'ers group, I discovered I **HAD** read some Ursula Le Guin before as I remember reading her Catwings series with/to the kids when they were small.

I'll be on the other side of the fence, and look for more by Le Guin.

Jul 29, 2013, 1:09am

Argh! This is exactly why I want a group-reads feature. I was reading this at about the same time, and I never knew.

Jul 29, 2013, 7:33am

It would have been lovely to have more people join us.

Jul 29, 2013, 9:38am

Yes, it would be good to draw in people who aren't necessarily group members to conversations like this. The more the merrier when it comes to group reads!

Jul 29, 2013, 9:47am

Tim, it's not too late if you've got some thoughts to share. One of the cool things about LT is that discussions don't have to end at a certain time.

Jul 29, 2013, 10:45am

Yeah. I've never been part of Green Dragon--I read very little fantasy. (I gather the Green Dragon also does sci-fi, but I'm guessing not much of it; mostly it goes into the SF group.) So I don't follow the group. As I said, this is exactly why we need better exposure for group reads…

Thoughts about the book later.

Jul 29, 2013, 12:00pm

LOL - Green Dragon members read everything :)

Jul 29, 2013, 12:05pm

I like the idea of being able to see all the group reads that are going on or upcoming. Is that the sort of thing you're thinking of, Tim? If there's a place I can vote for it or support it as a feature, I'll be glad to.

Jul 29, 2013, 12:42pm

We are doing fantasy, science fiction, mystery and nonfiction group reads this year.

Jul 29, 2013, 2:19pm

In the mean time - is there somewhere you list your group reads?

I just found this thread through the new book discussions whatsit and would have been interested back in Feb too.

Jul 29, 2013, 7:49pm

Yes, the group reads are listed on this thread:

Jul 30, 2013, 4:35am