General Reading in 2017

Discussion in 'Other Literature' started by Boreas, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Is this a mob culture story with lifts behaving in a Christine fashion?
     
  2. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    So far, no. Well, mob culture, yes, in so much there is a focus on chaos which ensues as an apparent utopian 'society' descends into a dystopian rabble. No sentient lifts though. Yet.
     
  3. hrafnwasser

    hrafnwasser Well-Known Member

    I read fiction and non-fiction concurrently.
    I wonder if non-fiction is a counterbalance to the speculative nature of fiction?

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  4. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    During the last couple of years, all the non-fiction I have read has been work related and although I have enjoyed myself maybe the compulsory nature of it has often felt as a chore.
    In my free time, I choose to read for evasion and entertainment: that means fiction. However, within fiction, I need to balance my reading choices carefully. As I'm very new to SF, I have this tendency to binge on it in a silly attempt to catch up on God knows what, and there have been times when I haven't enjoyed a book I know I should have, purely down to a high level of saturation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  5. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    By Ballard? Fantastically disturbing book. It's basically contemporary dystopian fiction.
    I wouldn't call it Utopian. It's set in 1975 London (or the setting is the outskirts of London at the time, and which would now be included within the city) with all the attendant themes of class distinctions in UK society which has always been such an obsession for the country's people.

    I wanted to watch the recent film adaptation of it and I forgot about it. Will have to look it up. And something's wrong with the blog it seems, because I can't post the link on Ballard's High-Rise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  6. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I was just referencing the start of the book, which sets up the tower block
    as the ultimate living space, like nothing else out there, where everything is perfect. So utopian in this sense. Obviously this was done to contrast what the tower block becomes, i.e. the opposite, as it degenerates into chaos and violence.
     
  7. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I just thought of it as an ultra-modern, luxury apartment-complex.

    Blog's working again, so here's the review of High-Rise.
     
  8. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Anyway.

    A few spoilers below ..

    3/5 for me. I hate using the word 'realistic' when describing fiction, but in this instance, I'm going to. For a happy, hedonistic society to degenerate into dog-eating, murderous reprobates in the space of 3 months is, quite frankly, absurd, and spoilt the book as far as I'm concerned. It's just not realistic. I'm sure there are numerous books out there which focus on the darker undertones of human psyche and the animal instincts that rise to the surface when people find themselves in specific scenarios, but I'm yet to read them (obvious exception being Lord of the Flies, although I haven't read thus for 20+ years so am sketchy on the details). This book didn't handle this well enough.

    Yes I know, its meant to act as a reflection of the darker side of human nature, which it purveyed admirably, but as a story i wasn't sold.

    Brilliantly written though, but not as disturbing as it should have been if more effort had been spent on the journey from normality to bedlam.
     
  9. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have finished Wind and I'm 1/3 into Sky in The Way of the Sword. I'm truly enjoying myself and considering very seriously to take fencing lessons.
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Yeah, the situation is definitely an exaggerated one and feels like a very well done caricature, but one with a worrying hint of...I wouldn't say plausibility, but something that could ring true if things in our universe were just a tad skewed.

    I finished Fire. Waiting on you to start the thread.
     
  11. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    So, I've really not been in a reading mood lately and definitely not in a science fiction mood, but the last week or so I polished off two light historical novels by Georgette Heyer: The Quiet Gentleman and A Civil Contract. The first is mostly a comedy with just the barest hint of a Gothic parody. It had the usual, over-the-top and hilarious dialogue that Heyer is so good at concocting. The second ended up being a lot more serious than I expected. Still a few comedic moments, but mostly focused on the growing respect and affection (not love, and not romance) between two people married for mutual advantage. Much of it was focused on the fiscal management of households, concerns over farming and agricultural practice, and confrontations between the main lead and his over-bearing, vulgar, but kind-hearted father-in-law. The comedy was there, but subdued. Very good, I thought. I'm currently reading another Heyer novel, The Grand Sophy, and this one should be in her more comedic style. Heyer's prose is wonderful, her comedic timing is spot on, her knowledge of history, literature, fashionable society, fine clothing, architecture and objects of virtu are vast, and this knowledge even extends to all kinds of arenas I never would have expected...from agricultural practices of the nineteenth century to military history, all of which she incorporates into her novels, yet always with a light, irreverent touch. And I absolutely love the nineteenth century slang. So much fun to read.
     
  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have read a third of Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe by R. Lanza. As I anticipated, this is not a leisurely, relaxing read but a demanding one. It is a thought-provoking book. I'm enjoying myself.
     
  13. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    So, finished The Grand Sophy, and then I read two more of Heyer's works: Frederica and Faro's Daughter. That makes 5 Heyer novels back-to-back. Very light reading, and very fun. The Grand Sophy is the best of all of Heyer's novels I've read so far. Not quite as outrageously funny as Sylvester was in parts, but such an excellent family comedy, and with a whirlwind of an heroine. Frederica was another very good book, more family comedy, and centred around a selfish cynic who gradually learns to care for the needs of others as he takes on the responsibility for introducing Frederica's beautiful but simple sister into society. Frederica and her family are very distant relations, and the only reason the protagonist agrees to their nominal care is to spite one of his sisters. Frederica is herself another wonderful heroine...composed, full of grace and countenance, but the story revolves more around the antics of her younger brothers and the trouble they get into. Faro's Daughter is a straight romantic comedy, but still a little unusual, where the concerned duo are at such extreme odds with one another that they attempt to implement some rather extreme measures in a spiral of one-upmanship: the opening sally being a bribe for an outrageous sum of money, then proceeding to concocted displays of vulgarity, financial threats of foreclosure, and even kidnapping & jailing. But it wasn't one of Heyer's best.

    Now I'm back to the affable Captain Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Post-Captain. While I give all credit to Georgette Heyer for her wonderful prose, sense of comedy, excellent dialogue and a total mastery of Regency era fashion and high society, O'Brian's writing is altogether on another level.
     
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  14. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have finished Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe by R. Lanza
    This read has meant a turning point in my attempt to decipher some of these metaphysical questions we all keep within ourselves.
    Lanza's biocentrism theory presents that life and consciousness are absolutely fundamental to our understanding of the universe and our relationship with it.

    I believe we all follow some cognitive/social bias when adhering oneself to different schools of thoughts. When I read the reviews about this book, it appealed to me immensely, perhaps because although my background in science is poor, I have, on the other hand, studied philosophy, and Lanza coincides with Kant's approach about the concepts of time and space. Lanza supports his theory with scientific rigour, removing himself from any philosophical and religious connotation. However, I felt pulled to read Biocentrism because, as well as Kant's theory blew my mind and sat well with me when I studied his work many years ago, so did the central principle of this book.
    Anyhow, this is a book written for non-scientific minds. Laymen like me can navigate through it, although there are sections in which I felt my brain genuinely fried. It is also controversial and thought-provoking. Highly recommended.
     

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