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Good Reading, Anyone?

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  • Doug Pensinger
    I m currently reading the Andrew Jackson Biography American Lion, have recently finished Dan Simmons Terror and listened to the audio books The Moon is a
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 21, 2009
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      I'm currently reading the Andrew Jackson Biography American Lion, have recently finished Dan Simmons' Terror and listened to the audio books The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Angels and Demons.  Terror was decent; long but well written and researched.  I'm not a big fan of monster stories (I f**king hate vampires), but the Yeti-type monster here is more plausible than most.

      I'm sure a lot of you have read the Heinlein, but this was my first attempt since I threw The Cat who Walks through Walls across the room, unfinished, many years ago.  The story was decent; somewhat dated but still interesting.  I'm not a big fan of Heinlein's politics; the idea that any kind of anarchical system would be workable inspires incredulity, but I would recommend it none the less.  The narrator, James Lloyd was pretty good, I thought.

      Which is more than I can say about Angels and Demons, the narrator wasn't very good and however interesting some of the history was, the story was implausible and depended on plot devices that were dead on arrival.  I saw the movie also and can not recommend it either though I'm a fan of both Hanks and Howard.  The plot wasn't any more believable than it was in the book, and Hanks just isn't the right guy to play the protagonist.  Sorry Tom.

      Doug
      Opinionated maru


    • Alberto Monteiro
      ... Cat is the worst possible First Heinlein to read. It makes too many references to other books, it should be Heinlein s _last_. [The Moon is a Harsh
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 22, 2009
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        Doug Pensinger wrote:
        >
        > I'm sure a lot of you have read the Heinlein, but this was my first
        > attempt since I threw The Cat who Walks through Walls across the room,
        > unfinished, many years ago.

        "Cat" is the worst possible "First Heinlein" to read. It makes too
        many references to other books, it should be Heinlein's _last_.

        [The Moon is a Harsh Mistress]
        > The story was decent; somewhat dated
        > but still interesting.

        I love that story!

        > I'm not a big fan of Heinlein's politics; the idea that any kind
        > of anarchical system would be workable inspires incredulity,

        Since you didn't read "Cat", you didn't see how the Anarchy evolved
        in the Moon: it didn't. Even in "Moon", Manuel says so.

        Alberto Monteiro


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      • Doug Pensinger
        ... Cat wasn t my first Heinlein, I d read a few others including Stranger in a Strange Land which I enjoyed. [The Moon is a Harsh Mistress] ... It didn t in
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 22, 2009
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          Alberto wrote:

          "Cat" is the worst possible "First Heinlein" to read. It makes too
          many references to other books, it should be Heinlein's _last_.

          Cat wasn't my first Heinlein, I'd read a few others including Stranger in a Strange Land which I enjoyed. 

          [The Moon is a Harsh Mistress]
          > The story was decent; somewhat dated
          > but still interesting.

          I love that story!

          > I'm not a big fan of Heinlein's politics; the idea that any kind
          > of anarchical system would be workable inspires incredulity,

          Since you didn't read "Cat", you didn't see how the Anarchy evolved
          in the Moon: it didn't. Even in "Moon", Manuel says so.

          It didn't in the end, but you get the feeling that the author thinks that its a good idea.  Certainly, the system prior to the revolution with its chuck 'em out the door if you don't like 'em justice is to a large degree anarchical, and Manny seems to take a great deal of pride in that element of the system.

          How is The Number of the Beast?  I read an excerpt from the book way back before it was published (in Omni) and was hot to read the book after that but for one reason or the other never picked it up.

          Doug 




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        • Alberto Monteiro
          ... Ok, but Cat makes so much references to other books (including Moon , the Future History and specially Number ) that reading it without the other books
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 22, 2009
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            Doug Pensinger wrote:
            >
            >
            >> "Cat" is the worst possible "First Heinlein" to read. It makes too
            >> many references to other books, it should be Heinlein's _last_.
            >
            > Cat wasn't my first Heinlein, I'd read a few others including
            > Stranger in a Strange Land which I enjoyed. 
            >
            Ok, but "Cat" makes so much references to other books (including
            "Moon", the Future History and specially "Number") that reading
            it without the other books is a huge spoiler.

            [The Moon is a Harsh Mistress]
            >
            >> Since you didn't read "Cat", you didn't see how the Anarchy evolved
            >> in the Moon: it didn't. Even in "Moon", Manuel says so.
            >
            > It didn't in the end, but you get the feeling that the author thinks
            > that its a good idea.
            >
            No... We get the feeling that _Manuel_ thinks it's a good idea. Somehow
            the book passes the idea that Anarchy is not practical due to human
            nature.

            > Certainly, the system prior to the revolution with its chuck 'em
            > out the door if you don't like 'em justice is to a large degree
            > anarchical, and Manny seems to take a great deal of pride in that
            > element of the system.
            >
            Yes, but Manny is a kind of Moon-elite :-)

            > How is The Number of the Beast?  I read an excerpt from the book
            > way back before it was published (in Omni) and was hot to read
            > the book after that but for one reason or the other never
            > picked it up.
            >
            If you didn't like "Cat" you probably won't like "Number". OTOH,
            it makes reference to many classical sf (and fantasy) stories, so
            maybe if you like those other stories you will like it.

            And Gregory Benford makes a cameo appearance at the end of it.
            I think the sf community should force him to write an account
            of his (or, rather, he-made-character's) experiences in that book.

            Alberto Monteiro


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          • Max Battcher
            ... Tons and tons of SF and Fantasy references and tropes. I think that I probably only caught a small percentage of them when I read that. I certainly would
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 22, 2009
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              Alberto Monteiro wrote:
              >> How is The Number of the Beast? I read an excerpt from the book
              >> way back before it was published (in Omni) and was hot to read
              >> the book after that but for one reason or the other never
              >> picked it up.
              >>
              > If you didn't like "Cat" you probably won't like "Number". OTOH,
              > it makes reference to many classical sf (and fantasy) stories, so
              > maybe if you like those other stories you will like it.

              Tons and tons of SF and Fantasy references and tropes. I think that I
              probably only caught a small percentage of them when I read that.

              I certainly would steer you away from Number until you've read more of
              Heinlein's other stuff: All four of Heinlein's last books (Time Enough
              for Love, The Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, and
              To Sail Beyond the Sunset) act as something of a single "capstone" work
              culminating together something of a final epilogue (or rather,
              epilogues) for Heinlein's massive "Future History", which he basically
              admits in "Cat" ends up as very much a somewhat quaint "Future History
              of the Past" by the time he's done, and embarking on a meta-journey that
              is both respectful to his (and other SF/Fantasy) earlier writings and
              yet a playful jab at them as well.

              If you don't like (heavy) meta-fiction or the many-worlds interpretation
              of quantum mechanics you definitely should avoid the last three. I found
              them sometimes silly fun.

              As for Heinlein's politics, he certainly leaned somewhat to the
              libertarian side, but I think he was more complex than that (for
              instance, the mixture of the "socialist" influences that he had) and I
              certainly feel that a strength of his was in playing with political
              extremes in his works and hiding his own actual political beliefs below
              trying to make his character's beliefs "realistically" their own. At
              best, his works make you think and question your place in society. So
              certainly the political ideals in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress are
              flawed, but it is hard not to admire their "spirit".

              --
              --Max Battcher--
              http://worldmaker.net

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