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Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 24 February, 2021 05:52PM
Good exchange.

WRT to the other story that I said was similar in thematic flavor to van Vogt's "The Monster", I found it in an anthology that I got when I was about 12. It is "Pandora's Planet" by Christopher Anvil.

It's got that same sort of smug "human exceptionalism" as "The Monster" (very appealing and ironically humorous to my 12-year old self), where humanity is superior to the invaders.

It looks to me like the author either first wrote the story and later expanded it into a book, or wrote the book first and the story in my anthology is an excerpt from the novel.

[uploads.strikinglycdn.com]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 24 February, 2021 05:58PM
I can see this as a legitimate approach to creating art, although it may have its shortcomings so far as the consumer of art is concerned.

As 8 out of 10 people who have read S. Clay Wilson's stuff in Zap, etc., would tell you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 24 Feb 21 | 06:05PM by Sawfish.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 24 February, 2021 06:51PM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Good exchange.
>
> WRT to the other story that I said was similar in
> thematic flavor to van Vogt's "The Monster", I
> found it in an anthology that I got when I was
> about 12. It is "Pandora's Planet" by Christopher
> Anvil.
>
> It's got that same sort of smug "human
> exceptionalism" as "The Monster" (very appealing
> and ironically humorous to my 12-year old self),
> where humanity is superior to the invaders.
>

It seems interesting. And its written at just the right time of the golden age of science fiction, 1956. Many sci-fi movies from this time also have that preposterous self-confidence and optimism. But I wonder if not the stuff written in the 1930s-1940s actually offered even more feverishly prophetic and ecstatic ideas.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 24 February, 2021 07:02PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Good exchange.
> >
> > WRT to the other story that I said was similar
> in
> > thematic flavor to van Vogt's "The Monster", I
> > found it in an anthology that I got when I was
> > about 12. It is "Pandora's Planet" by
> Christopher
> > Anvil.
> >
> > It's got that same sort of smug "human
> > exceptionalism" as "The Monster" (very
> appealing
> > and ironically humorous to my 12-year old
> self),
> > where humanity is superior to the invaders.
> >
>
> It seems interesting. And its written at just the
> right time of the golden age of science fiction,
> 1956. Many sci-fi movies from this time also have
> that preposterous self-confidence and optimism.
> But I wonder if not the stuff written in the
> 1930s-1940s actually offered even more feverishly
> prophetic and ecstatic ideas.

There's a streaming channel called Kanopy. It offers free film of a more recondite variety--foreign films such as Battle of Algiers, independent films, some older but good Hollywood stuff. Jean-Pierre Melville stuff, etc.

They have Solaris (1972), for example, and they have an odd film, "Things to Come" (1936) that offers an odd "what if" look from before the advent of WWII.

I believe it postulates something like WWII but set sometime around 1975. I haven't seen it in a long time.

Anyway, all it takes is a library card to gain access to it.

[www.kanopy.com]

We watch it all the time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 27 February, 2021 05:07AM
The Songs of Distant Earth is a record composed by Mike Oldfield, wonderful ear candy, and officially approved by Arthur C. Clarke. It opens up soaring perspectives of Man travelling through space (except for the ending, when it suddenly turns into world music). It was directly inspired by Clarke's 1986 novel of the same title, loved by some, but which I did not find as memorable as his masterpieces Childhood's End (1953), The City and the Stars (1956), and Rendezvous With Rama (1973); I have not read 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or The Fountains of Paradise (1979) yet! And, besides his very good short stories, he has also written a novelette called A Meeting with Medusa (1971) which I am most eager to read! I wish Lovecraft and CAS could have experienced those books.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: The Sojourner of Worlds (IP Logged)
Date: 28 February, 2021 07:16PM
Here's a fun little article about Gene Wolfe's unwritten novella The Feast of Saint Catherine, which served as the basis for the masterpiece that is The Book of the New Sun. Wolfe was a massive CAS fan.

[ultan.org.uk]

In case you've never read The Book of the New Sun, make sure you do. There's nothing quite like it.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 28 February, 2021 11:08PM
The Sojourner of Worlds Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ... Gene Wolfe's ... masterpiece that is The Book of the New Sun. Wolfe was a massive CAS fan.
>
> In case you've never read The Book of the New Sun,
> make sure you do. There's nothing quite like it.


I eagerly shall get around to Gene Wolfe, Michael Moorcock, and Leigh Brackett.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 07:50AM
GENE WOLFE: I read the first volume of THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, and disliked it enough to stop reading, seeing no hope I would change my mind. What exactly is good about them?

MICHAEL MOORCOCK: Long ago, I was able to partially enjoy Moorcock's early ELRIC stories under certain misunderstandings as to the author's intent. After his success with ELRIC, he set out to prove he was a sophisticated adult author, mainly by poking down his nose at his betters. If he wrote anything worthwhile since, I don't know what it could be. And ELRIC too was ultimately a failure, IMHO.

LEIGH BRACKETT: I remember enjoying some of Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark stories.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 10:42AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> MICHAEL MOORCOCK: Long ago, I was able to
> partially enjoy Moorcock's early ELRIC stories ... If
> he wrote anything worthwhile since, I don't know
> what it could be. ...
>

From my research, and from general opinion, The History of the Runestaff books and The Swords of Corum trilogy seem the most interesting. But I wouldn't know, since I have not read them. From these and from the Elric saga, I expect a literary light, yet richly imaginative, science fantasy.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 11:39AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> GENE WOLFE: I read the first volume of THE BOOK
> OF THE NEW SUN, and disliked it enough to stop
> reading, seeing no hope I would change my mind.

Platypus, what are some of the things you disliked? I tend to be a fairly critical reader, myself, sense that you are similar, and would like to hear specifics.

E.g., one of my complaints about most series is that beyond a point, the author works far too hard to preserve a character or characters so as to be able to continue to use them as an on-going income stream. To a degree, first person series seem to avoid this by starting with the unspoken understanding that the narrative voice must have survived the ordeals revealed in the novel in order to relate then at a later date, which seems to set reader expectancies to support a certain degree of implausibility.

Another work-around seems to be to have the narrative POV be a summoned spirit, which hedges all bets. This can work fairly well.

Therefore, the Marlowe novels of Chandler, and the Flashman series by Fraser both work for me pretty well, while Kull and Conan do not.

Then you have series which are setting-centric, like Zothique, rather than character-centric, like Fahfred & the Grey Mouser.



> What exactly is good about them?
>
> MICHAEL MOORCOCK: Long ago, I was able to
> partially enjoy Moorcock's early ELRIC stories
> under certain misunderstandings as to the author's
> intent. After his success with ELRIC, he set out
> to prove he was a sophisticated adult author,
> mainly by poking down his nose at his betters. If
> he wrote anything worthwhile since, I don't know
> what it could be. And ELRIC too was ultimately a
> failure, IMHO.
>
> LEIGH BRACKETT: I remember enjoying some of Leigh
> Brackett's Eric John Stark stories.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 12:36PM
My memory is that the first part of The Shadow of the Torturer was easily the strongest - the section leading up to Severian’s eviction from the guild - but that this was followed by a peculiar, picaresque sequence of events that (aside from completely undermining the tone established in the opening section) left me wondering what exactly I was reading - and not in a good way.

I read pretty much everything Mike Moorcock wrote up until about 1980. I actually think subsequent incarnations of the Eternal Champion were an improvement on the original - ie, Elric - as Moorcock’s attitude towards the concept evolved as he wrote. The two Corum trilogies would be personal favourites - maybe because they incorporate Irish mythology - but a lot of his stuff has dated pretty badly, something which struck me when I was re-reading the second Corum trilogy a few weeks ago.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 12:55PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From my research, and from general opinion, The
> History of the Runestaff
books and The Swords of
> Corum
trilogy seem the most interesting.

And The Chronicles of Castle Brass, which is the continuation after Runestaff.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: The Sojourner of Worlds (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 07:39PM
The New Sun is not something you read once. The narrator is extremely unreliable, the castles and towers are not castles and towers, the Ascians are not Asians but North Americans, the warrior of a dead world is an astronaut, etc.

The book is full of seemingly strange and awkward sentences that make all the sense in the world at the second, third or fourth reading and you can easily find yourself constantly discovering new things. And even before that I still remember it took me a bunch of pages to realise the moonlight, and hence the night itself, is actually green, despite the fact it's clearly described as green at the very beginning. I guess I took it as a figure of speech or something, haha.

Oh yeah, whenever he reminds you of his perfect memory it means he's about to tell a lie. Either that or he died and another Severian took over.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 1 March, 2021 09:32PM
Thanks for the tip, Sojourner.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 2 March, 2021 01:11PM
Sawfish Wrote:
---------------------------------------------------
> Platypus Wrote:
> -------------------------------------------------
> > GENE WOLFE: I read the first volume of THE
> > BOOK
> > OF THE NEW SUN, and disliked it enough to stop
> > reading, seeing no hope I would change my mind.
>
> Platypus, what are some of the things you
> disliked?

I don't remember it well enough to be analytical. I just did not enjoy it, and saw no reason to proceed to the next volume. I did not care for Severian. I did not love him or hate him. I did not care whether he lived or died. I did not care who he slept with. I did not care who he tortured. I did not want to follow his adventures.

One thought did occur to me, that I hesitate to mention, for fear that those who liked the volume will be offended. But I just have to mention the elephant in the room. The series has a undertone (admittedly vague) of sado-eroticism. I'm just not into that sort of thing (this is not moral posturing; it just happens to be true). Why then, should I expect to enjoy a series about a sexy torturer protagonist? This is not a series that, by the cover art and blurbs, I would ever have been tempted to pick up on my own. I started reading it only because it was recommended as some kind of classic. Someone even said that the author was a Catholic and worked Catholic themes into his work. Well, I happen to be Catholic, so I was curious. But ... the only "Catholic" themes that I could detect were ... uh ... those connected with torture (if you want to count that somehow).

Someone mentioned above the picaresque quality of the second half of the first volume, which I do vaguely recall. This is the sort of thing that I have enjoyed in other contexts. In particular, I very much enjoyed both of the picaresque novels about Cugel the Clever by Jack Vance. Note that Cugel is a complete scumbag, much worse (as far as I can tell) than Severian. So, again, my ability to enjoy Cugel's adventures has nothing to do Cugel being a morally upstanding person.

I have often heard that Severian is an unreliable narrator. However, I could detect, in the first volume, no sense of irony or sense of humor, such as I was able to detect in the Cugel novels. It all seemed so deadly serious and humorless. I saw no reason to take what I was reading at anything other than face value, Telling me that I will have to read the entire series 3 times in order to fully appreciate its nuances is not particularly encouraging, when, as things stand, I can see no particular reason to read it through even once.

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