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Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 24 February, 2019 05:05PM
Well, thanks!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 25 February, 2019 11:46AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A. E. Van Vogt's
> "The Weapon Shop", ... they sold weapons to help
> citizens protect themselves against the abusive
> State.

This calls for a small correction. Not the State as such, of course. But the deep State, that is those in corrupt power behind the screens, acting in secrecy, those who control the money flow, and pull the strings of the representative puppets placed (or, in the very least tolerated, as is the case of Trump) in mock forefront administrative government.

A. E. van Vogt was actually well aware of this in real life (John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln are two politicians who were also very well aware of this; both murdered because they tried to oppose it.); his father, who was a travelling lawyer with wide experience and insights into practical political process, told the young Alfred about it. And Vogt often used it later as a model to build up drama in his science fiction stories.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 4 March, 2019 12:00PM
Has anyone read the following books, and how would you rate them? (It is always interesting to hear critique from readers who have the fine and unprecedented prose of Clark Ashton Smith as reference.)

More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

All three seem widely regarded as being among the very best science fiction novels ever written. Especially so The Left Hand of Darkness. Its setting appears very modern and in line with confused contemporary feminist political values, in which Western women are urged to become independent from men and from family life, refrain from having children, do the same things men do, behave like men, and mentally free themselves from their biological gender identity; perhaps one reason why the book is unanimously embraced? I once tried to read Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea in my search for classical fantasy, but it did not grab me and I gave up after a few pages.

I have read Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars, and think it is a stunning masterpiece of weird futuristic vision, and a very enjoyable read. Perhaps it is similar to some of the novels above?

Another author I have never got around to read, and which keeps nagging at the back of my mind, one of the most famous of all, is Robert A. Heinlein. Do you think he is essential required reading?

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 4 March, 2019 06:51PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Has anyone read the following books, and how would
> you rate them? (It is always interesting to hear
> critique from readers who have the fine and
> unprecedented prose of Clark Ashton Smith as
> reference.)
>
> More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
> The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
> The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
>
> All three seem widely regarded as being among the
> very best science fiction novels ever written.
> Especially so The Left Hand of Darkness. Its
> setting appears very modern and in line with
> confused contemporary feminist political values,
> in which Western women are urged to become
> independent from men and from family life, refrain
> from having children, do the same things men do,
> behave like men, and mentally free themselves from
> their biological gender identity; perhaps one
> reason why the book is unanimously embraced? I
> once tried to read Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea
> in my search for classical fantasy, but it did not
> grab me and I gave up after a few pages.
>
> I have read Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the
> Stars, and think it is a stunning masterpiece of
> weird futuristic vision, and a very enjoyable
> read. Perhaps it is similar to some of the novels
> above?
>
> Another author I have never got around to read,
> and which keeps nagging at the back of my mind,
> one of the most famous of all, is Robert A.
> Heinlein. Do you think he is essential required
> reading?

I read quite a bit of Heinlein when in 7th/8th grade.

He had no appeal to me after that point, and I wondered why. It much later came to me that he was in essence a sort of Ayn Rand for juveniles. His personal opinions are expressed in fiction, and as such, they work well since he's writing it and can manipulate the outcome to reach desired outcomes.

And, like Rand, he is absolutely certain that he is correct.

But this is just my opinion.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 5 March, 2019 02:22AM
Thanks. Yes, that impression of his personality has prevented me from reading him. Many seem to like Heinlein's Starship Troopers best. I thought the movie was a bit too much 'military' (although I enjoyed Phil Tippett's special effects). But they say the book is different, more nuanced.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 5 March, 2019 03:40AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read quite a bit of Heinlein when in 7th/8th
> grade.

In 7th/8th/9th grade Stranger in a Strange Land stood in my school library. I fiddled a bit with it, ... but its thickness was daunting. And also, since it had been put in the school library, that made me suspicious. Instead I read Stephen King. ;^) Today they probably place Stephen King in the public school libraries.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 March, 2019 06:10AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read quite a bit of Heinlein when in 7th/8th
> grade.
>
> He had no appeal to me after that point, and I
> wondered why. ... His
> personal opinions are expressed in fiction, and as
> such, they work well since he's writing it and can
> manipulate the outcome to reach desired outcomes.
>
> And, ... he is absolutely certain that he
> is correct.
>
> But this is just my opinion.

Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks. Yes, that impression of his personality
> has prevented me from reading him.

Let me rephrase that; it's not that he was sure of his own opinions that hold me off. But rather the quality of his outlook. My impression has been that he was preoccupied with worldly, mundane values, such as career, manliness, marriage, weapons, military, ... and used science fiction as a superficial backdrop for this, rather than having a genuine cosmic outlook. That's just been my impression of his person. But not having read his books, I may of course be wrong.

But being sure of ones opinions, or rather, being sure of ones acquired knowledge, is not a bad thing. Intellectual authority is helpful in art, the greatest artists have it. It gives a clearness of expression. Artists who are unsure of themselves, and of their impressions, are often weak artists. So I believe that to have self confidence and firmly stand ones intellectual ground (while being open to gradually developing it, of course), is a good quality. At least so in a reasonably intelligent person. Stubbornness in a stupid person is another matter.

Lovecraft was another example of one having intellectual authority and strong opinions.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 8 March, 2019 11:27PM
Certainly I agree on Lovecraft.

In a sense, he is almost sci-fiction in his creation of the mythos. It's as if he is describing an alternate earth--one whose past epochs include multiple invasions of alien beings, now mythologized from humanity's point of view. He postulates that this unknown history is so ancient that all remnants have been effaced over time--except for a few remote places.

And he wrote this at the last possible era in which this might be credible; prior to the advent of routine satellite surveillance it was conceivably, barely, that
there might still be unknown regions on earth, and that the few remnants of these former residents, as in At the Mountains of Madness, might be found there.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 9 March, 2019 09:16AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In a sense, [Lovecraft] is almost sci-fiction in his
> creation of the mythos. ...
> And he wrote this at the last possible era in
> which this might be credible; prior to the advent
> of routine satellite surveillance it was
> conceivably, barely, that
> there might still be unknown regions on earth, ...

The era of E. R. Burroughs, A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, C. A. Smith, and R. E. Howard, gradually fizzling out by the end of the 1930s. Replaced by the Golden Age of science fiction, exploring new and interesting frontiers. And later came pure fantasy fiction, to meet the need for escape from the cynically increasing materialism of society. New weird tales often became more of nostalgia entertainment, having lost its earlier spirit of genuine conviction and credibility. And supernatural horror fiction was intentionally turned (degraded) into a symbolic tool for psychological social-workers (the likes of Robert Aickman), regarding itself as having an "important" society function, rather than creating genuine fear, awe or ecstasy.

I think there is still potential for genuine weird and supernatural fiction, but it needs a brilliant mind to step forward, that is not swayed by the present level of collective consciousness, and in vision penetrates beyond the relatively puny levels of science.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 9 March, 2019 05:25PM
Excellent observations.

Thanks!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 10 March, 2019 03:04AM
I am presently reading Stanislaw Lem's Solaris. It is excellent, serious science fiction, descriptive and dense. I think it is the best SF I have read, alongside Arthur C. Clarke.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 10 March, 2019 03:16AM
Solaris ... in the first English translation, by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 11 March, 2019 01:36PM
Yesterday, I finished reading Gustav Meyrink´s "Golem". One of the strangest book I ever read.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 12 March, 2019 12:14AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yesterday, I finished reading Gustav Meyrink´s
> "Golem". One of the strangest book I ever read.


And its events are placed in beautiful old Prague too! I have not read it, only of it, in Lovecraft's essay on horror literature. Perhaps it is directly related to Smith's "The Colossus of Ylourgne".

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 12 March, 2019 05:45AM
Beautiful old Prague? Well, yes, the old Prague was (and is, for that matter) beautiful, but "Golem" takes place strictly in the Jewish ghetto before the huge sanation (almost 150 unique houses were pulled down) that took place in the first years of the 19. Century. So the reader cannot expect some beautiful architecture, the regal palaces, the broad streets lined with the tall old-fashioned buildings, that makes Prague famous but something very close to what is on the pictures below; old, dirty houses; mysterious, ill-lit alleys; inscrutable nooks; nets of underground vaulted cellars etc. On the other hand, this decrepit and unattractive environment perfectly matches the story.

[www.praguecityline.cz]

I have not read The Colossus of Ylourgne" but I will one of these days to say if there is any relation between it and "Golem".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12 Mar 19 | 05:49AM by Minicthulhu.

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