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      CommentAuthorRicochet
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2011
     (9362.621)
    @Allana Yes! Read Jennifer Government :-)

    I know I read at least part of the Dune trilogy when I was younger but I don't remember finishing it (or most of the plot after 'Whee, now I'm king of the sand people! In your face, fat old man!') so I shall join you folk and actually read the whole thing. And then I'll finally get all of my friends' jokes!
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2011
     (9362.622)
    (oh hey insomnia what's up)

    Finished Dune this morning; finished Jennifer Government this evening. Thank you, day off.
    They helped me throw MShades's comment about one-dimensional villains into perspective: the idea bothered me before, but I hadn't really put my finger on it. Now I realize that the problem here is that the phrase "cardboard villain" is redundant. Once you give any bad guy a personality, he ceases to be a bad guy and simply becomes a character. It's more obvious in JG, since all the characters are vaguely sociopathic, but it's not just a case of existence or non-existence of the canonical tells. I think that, without the title being what it is, I wouldn't've known exactly with whom to throw in my lot as the "good guy" until the very end. Even the just-desserts epilogue (dude can't find a job, two weeks after getting released from a multiple-murder charge? Woah-hoa-hoa. I've been unemployed for months and my only crime is my humanities degree) really leaves things open.
    Or maybe I'm misconstruing the moral: in a capitalist dystopia, nobody deserves all the blame? So, the murderer has a grand vision for a government-free, ruthless-corporate Future where profits come before people. Just this week I was told by an adjudicator in a municipal court that a decision in my favour meant nothing if I didn't request a financial penalty for the accused. It's no great fantasy to imagine that money is a greater incentive than the law/basic human decency.

    What happened in Ready Player One isn't too far off: So there's this guy, who works for a company, and he wants the same thing, just as badly, as all the "good" characters -- it's just that he has the means and authority for a heavy-handed approach? I understand how that's not "noble," in the underdog context, and that this book was about the "purity" of fandom, but does that really qualify him as a "bad guy?" Dudes kill people to achieve things all the time. So many of our other "heroes" are ruthless, bloodthirsty killers (oh man cannot wait to get back to the Erikson books) but, hey, as long as their victims are wearing the black hats, it's cool, right?

    Now, the Baron from Dune? That dude is eeeeeeeeeevil. Finger-twiddlingly evil. A sweaty, tumescent, decadent beast. And his own sociopathic insights, a little more classic canon and a little less modern parody, are still effective enough in creating a character, not just a villain. Maybe I'm making myself vulnerable here, but don't you guys read that kind of nefarious plotting and think "Hell, I'd do it if I were in his suspensors"? Or is that just me?

    Ricochet, I'm down for the second book if you are.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2011
     (9362.623)
    Thing about the Baron Harkonnen - he's making correct moves if he is concerned about his house's survival in the military and political context that prevails. Every move Leto Atreides makes is basically walking knowingly into a trap. Paul's story is a black swan, there is no way such a series of events could have been counted on.

    The Imperial system in which the houses in the Dune books exist is amoral and rewards sociopathy. The Baron is smarter than Leto, and cares only about his own house. Paul is smarter than the Baron, and cares about the human race.

    If you keep reading, you'll be able to entertain the question of who ultimately was more harmful to humanity. It's not a simple question to answer. Which is why those first three books are brilliant.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2011
     (9362.624)
    re: Dune - don't just stop at the end of Dune. Read Dune Messiah and Children of Dune right after. Those three form one complete novelized argument about the perils of the messianic instinct in humanity. If you stop at the end of Dune you'll have a completely different idea of what Frank Herbert was about than if you finish the other two. He saw those three books as one giant book.


    Huh, I only ever just read Dune and LOVED it. Guess I'll have to read the next two.

    Boyfriend picked up Marukami's 1Q84, so I might delve into that. Will be my first Marukami book (I know, I know).

    I also want to read House of Leaves, as I hear great things about it and am told I will love it. Don't wanna purchase anything for myself right now cos christmas gifts, so I'm hoping to borrow it from a friend. I just need him to respond about it first >_>

    As for current readings, I'm on volume 4 of the Transmet trade reprints.
  1.  (9362.625)
    Finished:
    Las Vegas Noir-Various
    The Conquest of Happiness-Bertrand Russell
    Law And the Long War-Benjamin Wittes
    Blackwater-Jeremy Scahill
    Haliburton's Army-Pratrap Chaterjee

    Yeah. I'm going political these days. It gets real, real depressing.


    Reading:
    Looking For Jake-China Mieville
    McMafia-Misha Glenny

    This'll be my seventh Mieville, I think. (This comes after the City, Kraken, Perdido, King Rat, the Scar and Iron Council.) It's odd going because I'm used to reading full stories and not shorter ones that I can see the progress I'm making in the book more readily.
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      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2011
     (9362.626)
    Hey, Argos - I read House of Leaves two winters ago, mainly in the dark, mainly in a freezing cold room. It's good. It's very good. Just googling around about it in response to this thread gave me the creeps.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2011
     (9362.627)
    I'm reading The Condition of Muzak by Michael Moorcock as it was years ago i first consumed the Jerry Cornelius quartet.It's great for me as i lived round Ladbroke Grove for years.I know nearly every road around there.I'm such a smarmy pratt at times.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2011
     (9362.628)
    Finished The City and the City, started (in earnest) Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship city. An issue of Make, a comic strip collection and a book about convenience food on the side.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2011
     (9362.629)
    @Osmosis - Hmmm, I'll have to read it now then while San Diego is actually getting some cold nights and rain (that type of weather doesn't last long here). Give it some extra ambiance :)
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2011
     (9362.630)
    Started Paul Cain's FAST ONE, a classic of hard-boiled noir written in 1933, and am fucking blown away. Phenomenal.
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      CommentAuthorFauxhammer
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2011
     (9362.631)
    @Argos--want my copy?

    Just finished "Aloha From Hell", currently on "The Heroes".
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2011
     (9362.632)
    @Faux, really? That'd be rad. You can email me at iptaktcha at gmail to discuss details. Thanks!
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2011
     (9362.633)
    Knocked back Max Barry's The Company over the weekend. Not great. At least, not after his other books. Oh well. Dune Messiah and a revisiting of Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch are next.
  2.  (9362.634)
    I've been having a really hard time making it through A Clash of Kings and I'm not really sure why.
    I'm hoping that I can sit down and concentrate on it in the next day or two when I'm not working.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeNov 22nd 2011
     (9362.635)
    Ha, re-reading DUNE MESSIAH next, too, after FAST ONE. Also got CLANS OF THE ALPHANE MOON (re-reading a lot of PKDick lately) and Aylett's INFLATABLE VOLUNTEER lined up.
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeNov 22nd 2011
     (9362.636)
    Sweet. Let me know when you start it, and we can pace each other. :)
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeNov 22nd 2011
     (9362.637)
    Right you are, ma'am.
    • CommentAuthorltwill
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2011
     (9362.638)
    Just finished "ALOHA FROM HELL". starting "The Contortionist' Handbook."
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2011
     (9362.639)
    Woooo! I just received House of Leaves from Fauxhammer a couple days ago :D I will be starting this tomorrow.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2011
     (9362.640)
    Back into the multi-thousand pages of The Song of Ice and Fire. It's interesting - I have less and less tolerance for fake medieval language structure cliches, like using "mock" any time someone feels they are being made fun of, you know? These books are full of that. But the plot is really engaging and although all of that arch phrasing stings my brain, the story keeps me reading.

    One of the things I really like is how the "good" characters are never allowed to have pleasure or satisfaction in violence. Even though they are often justified in their fights, when they win there is always something sour about it. The people they humiliate or kill are not cartoons, and the heroes are lessened with each violent victory.