Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Here be unicorns. И музика и филми, вдъхновени от човешките ни книги. И всичко, дето ви е на сърце, ама не може да се побере в ^такива^ тесни теми...

Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:57 pm

Пак от списъка с животоформиращите ви книги.

Отзив в Goodreads за The Rest of Us Just Live Here:

Now I should probably go and read more books by Patrick Ness.

(My To-read list is never going to end, is it?)

Here're some reasons why:

~ It's Chapter the First, and I'm already falling in love with the characters' voices and topics. Where's the seat of love, and what control do you have over your feelings vs. choices ... how wouldn't I love them?

~ Voices and topics, eh?

Where were we at this point as a family? Mom was in the Washington State Senate and was running for Lieutenant Governor. I’m going to guess that your knowledge of/interest in state and local politics is as non-existent as most people’s, but it’s enough to know that this was something she considered both extremely modest and a big, big deal. She’d planned it for almost three years, way more than the other candidates seemed to, and we’d been photographed a lot in the run-up to the Primary to see if she’d be selected as her party’s candidate.
Because weren’t we all perfect and adorable? Weren’t the Mitchells exactly what the state needed? Look at us with our healthy and unthreateningly average smiles. Our hair that spoke of middle-class prosperity but wasn’t (too) much better than yours. The modern political husband, super-supportive and perhaps a bonus extra behind the scenes. The two older children with their polite attitudes and good grades, and beautiful little Meredith, precocious and funny as a later Disney heroine. Wouldn’t Lieutenant Governor Alice Mitchell be your friend as well as your humble public servant while hanging around in case the Governor died?
The problem was that hardly anyone had heard of her, the campaign had no money, and polls had her at a steady but distant fourth in the Primary.
It wasn’t my mom who told Mel she was looking “a little fat” in some of the press photos; it was her one-day-a-month campaign advisor, a chain-smoking beard called Malcolm. But Malcolm did say it, and my mom didn’t fire him.
Was that enough to make Mel stop eating? Maybe. But we were hardly a hotbed of mental health before then. We didn’t have nearly as much money as it looked like we had, for one thing, because my dad was still paying back the thousands he embezzled from my Uncle Rick’s car dealership, where he used to be top sales manager. My dad stole, under Rick’s nose, all the money to buy the house we still live in. He should have been arrested. He should still be in jail.
But Rick is my mother’s brother and this was even earlier in her career, when she was trying to move up from the State House of Representatives to the State Senate. A scandal would have ended her political career, so she and my dad not only stayed married, but she somehow convinced Rick to keep it secret and – if you can believe this – actually let my dad stay employed there. No access to any accounts, of course, but still selling cars until he’s paid back all the money, plus interest. Which will probably take him up to retirement. As I said, Uncle Rick doesn’t come around much any more.
So pretty much every day back then we were about an hour away from losing everything: money, careers, house, a father, all the while pretending we were the highly functioning family of an up-and-coming politician. My dad drank every day (always did, still does). My mom threw herself into politicking, and Mikey Mitchell – your humble narrator – was so tense I’d started to get trapped in compulsive loops for the first time. Counting and re-counting (and re-counting and re-counting) the contents of my sixth-grade arts cabinet. Driving our poor dog Martha crazy (pre-porcupine death) by walking her over the same length of road four dozen times because I couldn’t seem to get it exactly “right”, though I could never have told you what “right” was. I was sent to a psychiatrist called Dr Luther and was put on medication. And this was all before my mom decided to up the stakes by running for a bigger job.


Can you picture the pretty picture?

~ At the end of the day, humor always comes to save it:

“I will,” Meredith says, “with your help. But you know she won’t take me, so you guys have to be ready.”
Our mom started avoiding large public gatherings she couldn’t leave several years ago because they just turned into abuse-fests by people who hated politicians in general and politicians who supported a non-lethal speed limit in particular. Thirty minutes anywhere, even church, is her maximum, and on this one, I have to say I can kind of see her point.
“I’m in,” Mel says. “Even though I hate country music. I’m the best sister in the world.”
“I’m in, too,” I say, “though as your brother, I’m probably only the second-best sister.”


Even a day like this one:

I wake up at 3:43 a.m. because my dad has sat down on my bed.
He’s crying.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there,” he weeps. “I’m so sorry.”
He’s still in his work suit. He stinks.
“Go to bed, Dad,” I say. “I’m okay.”
“No, you’re not,” he says, shaking his head. “You’re not okay at all.”
“All right then, I’m not okay. But it’s the middle of the night and you waking me up is kind of making everything less okay by the minute.”
He makes a little sobbing sound. “I should kill myself. I should just drive off a bridge and make all your lives better.”
“That’d be a waste of a good car. Especially if it belonged to Uncle Rick.”
“I could park the car and jump.”
“What bridge, though? There aren’t any around here high enough. You’d only just break your leg and then you’d be even more of a pain in the ass than you are now.”
He sighs. “You’re right. You’re so, so right.” He starts crying again.
“Dad–”
“You’re a good kid, Mikey. You’re the best kid…” His voice breaks.
“Seriously, Dad–”
He slides to my bedroom floor, still crying. Within minutes, he’s snoring.
I take my blankets and go sleep on the couch.


~ Ah. So that's how it works.

“State Senator Mitchell?” a local journalist asks when the applause has died down.
“You don’t really need the ‘State’ in front of it, Ed,” my mom says, smiling wide.
“What do you have to say about Tom Shurin, your expected opponent?” Ed the journalist continues.
“I say that I welcome a vigorous and clean campaign based on the issues I outlined in my speech,” my mom says, smiling like a president. You may not like politicians much – I don’t – but she’s good at her job. I can’t remember a single one of the issues from her speech, only the vague sense that she really cared about them. Which she once told me is the perfect result. If you’re too specific, people will purposely mishear you so they can be outraged about whatever thing that usually outrages them. You want to get them on your side emotionally, apparently, where they ask fewer questions.
They want us a bit dumb and a bit afraid. Which for the most part, I think we are.


And that's how we become ....

~ The tenderness of teenage love:

I lean out over the bridge to see what Nathan’s finishing up. The bumblebee now flies away from a golden arm that it’s just stung. “Leave Your Sting Behind”, he writes.
“Bees die when they do that,” I say. Henna nudges me, annoyed.
“It’s a metaphor,” Nathan says.
“Metaphorical bees die, too.”
(...)
“Why are you in such a bad mood?” Henna says to me, shaking her can of red paint.
I shrug, still pouty.
“I like Nathan,” she says.
“I know. I’ve heard all about your uncontrollable attraction.”
“And I like you, Mike, though not very much tonight, I have to say.”
“There’s something up with him. Where did he come from? Why does he always join us late? Why doesn’t he–?”
“Jealousy makes you ugly.”
“And assuming this is all about you makes you ugly,” I hiss.


(But Desi, who recommended this book to me, is right: Mike's jealousy is slightly overdone and occasionally makes him a too in-your-face unsympathetic character. It's a fine balance, between authenticity and stereotyping.)

~ This moment. This Crowning Moment of Awesome. (Dare I say climax? Dunno--but I know it's a spoiler.)

Скрит текст: покажи
Because Henna.
Because Henna, because Henna, because Henna.
We slept together. It was everything I’d ever wanted, everything I’d ever hoped for, even the parts where I’d imagined we were in it together and it was something she wanted as much as I did and we were a team and it was for us both.
It was beautiful and amazing and so hot I’ve pretty much jerked off to it every day since (shut up, you would, too) and the way she smelled and the way her skin felt and the way we laughed sometimes (quite a lot over the condom) and the way we were serious other times and just the being there, in that way, her body against my body and mine against hers. It felt like my heart was breaking – and it was breaking, over Jared, over graduation, over everything – but it was okay because Henna Henna Henna…
It was all those things, and it was also more. Because we realized something, both of us.
We don’t belong together as boyfriend and girlfriend.
“I think I see what you mean,” I said to her, after, arms around each other. “About being each other’s question.”
“Yeah,” she said. “It was the car accident that made me finally want to know the answer. You were there, holding my hand, and I thought, Is it him? Is it really him?
“I’ve been asking myself that since we were kids.”
“It always kept me from really committing to Tony. I kept thinking, in another life, if I made different choices, it could be you and me instead. I suppose I just got sick of expecting somebody else to give me the answer.” She leaned up on one elbow. “I love you, Mike.”
“I love you, too, Henna.”
“And I loved that, what we just did. But this isn’t us, is it?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t think it is.”
“It’s love. But it’s a different kind.”
“Doesn’t make it any less love, though.”
She lay back down and snuggled into me. “Just think, all this time we could have been each other’s best friend.”
“That would have been awesome.”
“Still can be.”


Of course, it doesn't work like that for everyone; it doesn't always work out so simply and straightforwardly. It'd never work for me anyway; when I love someone, we work on/play with that too, so it grows and gets better over time. But the awesome part, the part that crowns all the loving relationships in this book, is the reminder about friendship. It's like the one in Will Grayson, Will Grayson--or at least what I think Will Grayson ^2 is about.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:51 pm

Все от списъка с животоформиращите ви книги.

Отзив в Goodreads за втората половина на „Клетниците“:

Потвърждавам впечатленията си от първата половина. С добавката, че Юго определено мисли в по-едър мащаб от Вазов. (Което понякога води и до по-големи изхвърляния – например за уникалната роля на Франция – но то е част от двете страни на медала.)

По-конкретно:

~ Покрай премиерата на „Подземни облаци“ се заговорихме с Марио Паскалев за минимализма в писането (а ла Хемингуей) срещу многословния, обстоятелствен стил на (примерно) 19-и век. И се замислих, че Юго, макар типичен за века си, всъщност рядко ми доскучава, понеже почти не повтаря теми. Не знам с каква търсачка си е пресявал текста ;), но подхване ли определен проблем, го изчерпва и повече не се връща към него. Имайки предвид обема на книгата, това вдъхва респект.

Другата ми изненада е как този многословен стил се съчетава с динамичните сцени, които напрягат почти колкото съвременен трилър (пример: клопката, в която Котешкия час поставя Жан Валжан). Сякаш романът е писан от двама (или повече) различни автори...

~ В момента превеждам към английски „Алтернативата“, която отделя внимание и на колонизаторските зверства. Интересно е да видя, че дори съвременници на тези зверства са си давали сметка за тях:

(...) премного жестокото завоюване на Алжир, при което, както при завоюването на Индия от англичаните, бе проявена по-скоро варварщина, отколкото цивилизация


~ И отново любопитен паралел с разсъжденията в „Алтернативата“:

(...) всички проблеми, които обсъждаха социалистите, се свеждаха до два основни проблема:
Първи проблем: създаване на материални блага.
Втори проблем: разпределението им.
Първият проблем включва и въпроса за труда.
Вторият — въпроса за възнаграждението на труда.
Първият проблем засяга въпроса за приложението на производителните сили.
При втория проблем става дума за разпределението на материалните блага.
От доброто приложение на производителните сили зависи обществената мощ.
От правилното разпределение на благата зависи личното щастие.
Под добро разпределение трябва да разбираме не равно разпределение, но справедливо. Справедливостта е основното равенство.
От съчетанието на тези два принципа: обективен — обществената мощ, и субективен — личното благоденствие, зависи социалното процъфтяване.
Социалното процъфтяване означава щастлив човек, свободен гражданин, велика нация.
Англия разрешава първия проблем. Тя твори превъзходно материални блага, но ги разпределя зле. Подобно разрешение на проблема, което е строго едностранчиво, довежда неизбежно до две крайности: чудовищен разкош и чудовищна нищета. Всички жизнени блага за едни, всички лишения за други, тоест за народа. Привилегиите, изключенията, монополите, феодалните права се пораждат от самия труд. Лъжливо и опасно положение, защото обществената мощ почива на личната мизерия, а величието на държавата се корени в страданията на отделния индивид. Неправилно изградено величие, в чиито основи са налице всички материални елементи, но няма нито един нравствен елемент.
Комунизмът и аграрният закон се надяват, че ще разрешат втория проблем. Те се лъжат. Такова разпределение убива производството. Равното разпределение унищожава съревнованието, следователно то унищожава самия труд. Така месарят убива това, което дели на части. Невъзможно е следователно да се спрем на тия мними разрешения. Унищожаването на богатството не е разпределение.
Тези два проблема трябва да бъдат разрешени съвместно, за да бъдат разрешени правилно. Двете решения трябва да се съчетаят и да образуват само едно.
Ако разрешите само първия проблем, ще създадете държава, подобна на Венеция или Англия. Ще притежавате като Венеция привидна мощ или като Англия — материална мощ. Ще бъдете коравосърдечен богаташ. Ще загинете по насилствен път, както загина Венеция, или ще банкрутирате, както ще свърши Англия. И светът ще ви остави да паднете и да загинете, защото светът оставя да падне и да загине всичко, което е само егоизъм, всичко, което не се явява добродетел или идея в служба на човешкия род.
Естествено под думите Венеция или Англия ние имаме тук пред вид не народите, а обществените строеве — олигархиите, които потискат нациите, а не самите нации. Ние винаги изпитваме съчувствие и уважение към народите. Венеция като народ ще се възроди. Англия като аристокрация ще падне, но Англия като нация е безсмъртна. След като направихме тази забележка, нека продължим.
Разрешете двата проблема, поощрявайте богатия и покровителствувайте бедния, премахнете нищетата, сложете край на несправедливата експлоатация на слабия от силния, обуздайте неоправданата завист на този, който е още на път, към този, който вече е достигнал целта, съгласувайте братски и математически точно възнаграждението и положения труд, дайте безплатно и задължително образование на подрастващото дете, превърнете науката в основа за възмъжаване, развийте умовете, осигурявайки същевременно работа за ръцете, изградете не само мощна нация, но и общност от щастливи хора, демократизирайте собствеността не като я отмените, но като я направите общодостъпна, така че всеки гражданин без изключение да бъде собственик — това е по-лесно, отколкото изглежда — или казано накратко, съумейте не само да творите материални блага, но и да ги разпределяте, тогава именно ще съчетаете материалното величие с нравствено величие и ще бъдете достойни за Франция.
Ето какво твърдеше социализмът независимо от няколко заблудени секти, над които той се издигаше. Ето какво търсеше той във фактите и какви семена посаждаше в духовете.
Достойни за възхищение усилия! Свещени стремления!


~ Юго сякаш е бил доста навътре в някои знания и системи. Или просто духът му инстинктивно е търсил холистичния поглед:

Няма нищо незначително в природата. Всеки, който умее да проникне в нея, знае тази истина. И макар че философът никога не може да изпита пълно удовлетворение, както не може да определи точно причината, нито да ограничи въздействието, все пак, когато съзерцава природата, той изпада в безпределен възторг пред гледката на толкова много разлагащи се сили, които в крайна сметка завършват с единство. Всичко работи за всичко.
Алгебрата служи за изучаване на облаците. Лъчите на небесното светило са ползотворни за позата. Ще посмее ли някой мислител да каже, че уханието на шипката е ненужно на звездите? Кой е в състояние да изчисли пътя, изминат от една молекула? Нима ние знаем дали създаването на нови светове не е обусловено от падането на пясъчните зърна? Кой познава взаимните приливи и отливи на безкрайно голямото и на безкрайно малкото, отгласите на първопричините в бездните на съществото и в лавините на вселената? И най-нищожното червейче има своето значение. Малкото е велико, великото е малко. Всичко е уравновесено от закономерността. Страшно зрелище за ума. Между одушевените същества и неодушевената материя съществуват удивителни връзки. В безпределното мироздание — от слънцето до бълхата — няма място за взаимно презрение. Всички се нуждаят едни от други. Светлината не отнася в лазурната шир земните ухания, без да знае какво ще стори с тях. Нощта раздава звездна есенция на заспалите цветя. Всяка летяща птица е свързана с нишката на вечността. Зараждането се усложнява от появата на метеор или от лястовичето, което счупва с човка яйцето си. За него е еднакво важно излизането на земен червей и появяването на бял свят на Сократ. Там, където свършва телескопът, започва микроскопът. Чие поле на зрение е по-величествено? Решете сами. Плесента е плеяда цветя. Мъглявината е мравуняк от звезди. Колко по-тясна и удивителна е връзката между духовните явления и състоянието на материята. Стихиите и човешките принципи се размесват, съчетават, съединяват, умножават се едни чрез други и довеждат в крайна сметка материалния и духовния мир до една и съща яснота. Явлението постоянно се повтаря. В необятните космически размени всемирният живот снове в непознати количества, смесва всичко в невидими загадъчни течения, използува всичко, не загубва дори един сън и посява тук животинче, там небесно светило; той се люшка и криволичи, пръснат навред и неделим, превръща светлината в сила и мисълта в стихия, разлага всичко освен геометричната точка, която казва „аз“. Той свежда всичко към душата-атом. Разгръща всичко в Бога. Смесва всички дейности — от най-висшата до най-нисшата — в мрака на някакъв шеметен механизъм, свързва полета на насекомото с движението на земята, подчинява — Знам ли сам? Може би само поради тъждеството на закона — придвижването на кометата по небесния свод на въртенето на инфузорията в капка вода. Механизъм, съставен от ум. Огромна система от зъбчати колела, чийто пръв двигател е мушичката и чието последно колело е зодиакът.


~ Кой съвременен автор би си позволил да посвети цяла част от роман, за да защити правото на персонажите да говорят на жаргон? И кой съвременен читател би я издържал?

А всъщност дори филолозите могат да си водят записки...

Който извлича из дълбините и задържа над бездната на забравата макар и само откъс от някой език, говорен от човека и застрашен от изчезване, който, с други думи, спасява някой добър или лош елемент, влизащ в състава или допълващ дадена цивилизация, разширява данните, получени от наблюдение на обществото, служи на цивилизацията. Плавт е оказал, съзнателно или не, подобна услуга, като е накарал двамата картагенски войници да говорят на финикийски. Молиер е сторил същото, принуждавайки толкова много свои герои да говорят левантински и какви ли не други наречия. По този повод тутакси се подновяват възраженията: „Финикийски ли, отлично! Левантински? Защо не? Дори и местните наречия защо пък не? Това са езици, които са принадлежали на нация или отделна провинция. Но аргото? Какъв смисъл има да се съхрани аргото? Защо ви трябва да го «извличате из дълбините»?“
Само с една дума ще отговорим на тези възражения. Не ще съмнение, че ако животът на дадена нация или провинция е достоен за интерес, още по-достоен за внимание и изучаване е езикът, на който е говорила нищетата.
Това е езикът, на който е говорила във Франция например повече от четири века не само каква да е бедняшка паплач, но изобщо нищетата, цялата възможна човешка нищета.
И после, не е позволено да се прави подбор, когато веднъж сте се нагърбили с изучаването на обществените недъзи и извращения и когато ги изтъквате, за да ги отстраните. Историкът на нравите и идеите има не по-малко отговорна мисия от историка на събитията. Единият се занимава с повърхността на цивилизацията — борбите на династиите, ражданията на принцовете, кралските женитби, сраженията, събранията, великите държавници, явните революции, с една дума, с външното. Другият обръща поглед към нейните глъбини, към недрата, към народа, който се труди, страда и чака, към потиснатата жена, към умиращото дете, към задкулисната борба на човека с човека, към подмолната жестокост, предразсъдъците, към узаконената несправедливост, към подземната реакция против закона, към тайния развой на духовете, към неуловимите потръпвания на тълпите, към гладуващите, босите и голите, към обезнаследените, сираците, злочестниците и безчестниците, към всички тия призраци, които бродят в мрака. Негов дълг е да се спусне с изпълнено от милосърдие и строгост сърце, като брат и съдник, до непроницаемите подземни зандани, където пълзят, примесени безразборно, тия, от които се стича кръв, и тия, които упражняват насилие, тия, които стенат, и тия, които проклинат, тия, които гладуват, и тия, които разкъсват, тия, които понасят злото, и тия, които го нанасят. Нима задълженията на историците на човешките сърца и души са по-малки, отколкото задълженията на историците на обективните факти? Може ли да се мисли, че един Алигиери казва по-малко от Макиавели? Нима подземието на цивилизацията е по-маловажно от надземната й част само защото е по-дълбоко и по-мрачно? Познаваме ли планинския скат, ако не познаваме пещерата под него?


(Аз без бой си признавам, че речта на Гаврош е радост за окото... и потрес за преводача. ;)

~ Та за филолозите и записките:

Според дълбочината на сондирането ние намираме в аргото под стария простонароден френски език провансалски, италиански, левантински — езика на Средиземноморието, английски и немски, романски в трите му разновидности — френско-романски, италианоромански, романоромански, — латински и дори баски и келтски.
(...) Искате ли да чуете испански? Старинното арго гъмжи от испански думи. Например: boffette — духало, което идва от bofeton, vantane — прозорец (по-късно vanterne), което идва от vantana, gat — котка, от испанското gato, acite — олио, което идва от aceyte. Или искате малко италиански? Ето ви: spade — шпага, което произлиза от spada, carvel — кораб, което идва от caravella. Английски ли искате? Ето ви: bichot — епископ, което идва от bishop, raille — шпионин, което идва от rascal, rascalion — мошеник; pilche — кутия, калъф, което идва от pilcher — ножница. Искате ли немски? Ето ви: caleur — момче, от Kellner, le hers — господар, от Herzog. А може би искате латински? Ето: frangir — счупвам, от frangere; affurer — крада, от fur, cadene — верига, от catena. Има една дума, която е обща за всички езици на континента и се ползува с необяснима власт и авторитет. Това е думата magnus. Шотландия я е преобразила в глас, което означава глава на племето: Мак-Фарлан, Мак-Калюмор, великият Фарлан, великият Калюмор[2]. Аргото е превърнало тази дума в meck, а по-късно в meg, което ще рече Бог. Искате ли някоя баска дума? Ет ви: gahisto — дявол, което идва от gaistoa — лош, sorgabon — лека нощ, което идва от gabon — добър вечер. Интересуват ли ви думи от келтски произход? Ето ви: bravin — носна кърпа, което идва от blavet — бликаща вода, menesse — жена (в лош смисъл), от meinec — пълен с камъни; barant — поточе, от baranton — чешма, goffeur — ключар, от goff — ковач, guédouze — смърт, от guenn-du — черно-бяла. Искате ли най-сетне малко история? Аргото нарича екютата maltaises за спомен от монетите, които са били в обращение из галерите в Малта.
___
[2] Трябва да отбележим обаче, че думата mac означава на келтски „син“. — Б.а.


~ Впечатляващо е как Юго улавя характеристиките на първата любов – и забавните:

През този сладостен месец май Мариус и Козет изпитаха неповторимото щастие:
Да се скарат и да си заговорят на „вие“ само за да се обърнат след малко на „ти“ един към друг с още по-голяма наслада.
Да говорят надълго и с най-големи подробности за хора, от които ни най-малко не се интересуват — ново доказателство, че в пленителната опера, която носи името любов, либретото е без каквото и да било значение.
За Мариус — да слуша Козетините приказки за дрехите ѝ.
За Козет — да слуша Мариусовите приказки за политика.
Да се вслушват, допрели колене, в трополенето на колите по улица Вавилон.
Да съзерцават една и съща планета в небесната шир или една и съща светулка в тревата.
Да мълчат заедно: по-голяма сладост от разговорите.


И недотам забавните:

Погрешно е да се мисли, че щастливата и непорочна любов довежда човека до състояние на нравствено съвършенство. Тя го довежда чисто и просто (...) до забрава. В това състояние човек не се сеща да проявява злост, но също тъй не се сеща да проявява и добросърдечие. Признателност, дълг, важни и досадни спомени се пръсват.


~ Стремежът към екологично градоустройство не е от вчера:

Париж изхвърля ежегодно във водата двадесет и пет милиона. Без преувеличение. Как, по какъв начин? Денонощно. С каква цел? Без никаква цел. По какви съображения? Без никакви съображения. Защо? Просто така. Посредством кой свой орган? Посредством червата си. Какво представляват червата на Париж? Каналите му.
Двадесет и пет милиона е при това най-умерената приблизителна стойност според изчисленията на статистиката.
След дълго лутане науката установи днес, че най-плодоносният и полезен тор са човешките отделяния. Трябва да признаем, за наш позор, че китайците знаеха това далеч преди нас. Нито един китаец не се връща от града — Екеберг потвърждава този факт, — без да окачи на бамбуковата си кобилица две ведра, пълни с така наречените нечистотии. Благодарение на човешкия тор китайската почва е все така тучна, както по времето на Авраам. Китайската пшеница дава урожай сто и двадесет пъти по-голям от сеитбата. Никое гуано не може да се сравни по плодородието си с отпадъците на една столица. Големият град е най-голямото торище. Ако градът се използува за наторяване на нивите, това несъмнено би било много изгодно. Ако нашето злато е тор, нашият тор в замяна на това е злато.
Какво правим с този златен тор? Измитаме го в бездната.
Изпращаме скъпо и прескъпо кервани от кораби чак на Южния полюс, за да събират тора на пингвините и буревестниците, а изхвърляме в морето несметното богатство, което ни е под ръка. Ако се върне на земята, вместо да се изхвърля в морето, целият човешки и животински тор, той би стигнал, за да изхрани света.
Знаете ли какво представляват купчините смет край уличните камъни, гальотите кал, които нощем трополят по улиците, гнусните бъчонки на чистачите, зловонните подземни потоци, които паважът скрива от погледите ви? Това са цъфнали ливади, росна трева, овчарски босилек, мащерка и детелина, това са дивеч, добитък, доволно мучене на едри волове привечер, уханно сено, златно жито, хляб на трапезата ви, топла кръв във вените ви, здраве, радост, живот. Такъв е тайнственият закон на мирозданието: превращение на земята, преображение на небесата.


~ Вече сме на финала и последните (признавам, майсторски заплетени) възли се разплитат:

Скрит текст: покажи
Моралната нищета на Тенардие, този неуспял буржоа, беше неизлечима. Той и в Америка си остана същият, какъвто бе и в Европа. До каквото и да се опре злодеят, той го опорочава и лесно превръща доброто в зло. С парите на Мариус Тенардие стана търговец на роби.


Поука: Мерете благодарността си умно – за да не стане непоискано зло.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:35 am

Отзив в Goodreads за „Тера фантастика 2019/бр. 18“:

Симпатичен брой; и доста втален (сигур заради летните жеги). Но чувам, че тази година ще има още един, за компенсация.

Най-симпатични ми станаха:

~ Цикълът „Аргмадулия“ на Надя Лилова ми извиква нахилването на Чеширския котарак. Откъс:

Аргмадулци, кон до коня, срещу тофленци безброй,
нокти святкат, шмули тракат, хич не дават се без бой!
Тръпна сврян в една шмулика, стискам трите си ръце,
ще ме смоткат, без да викна, тупка другото сърце.
Що са се смардяли толкоз? Гръз ли, или сбут ги взе?
И не мога се отбъкна, плъкно бойното поле.
Шава със крустак Агмейдо, виждам го додена млад,
и изпружват се овгласно аргмадулци, брат до брат.
Флекна със кмуцуци конят и го блъкното обзе,
спокна и се затропоса: „Милибардни згнетове!“.


Желаещи да си го четем на глас, с подобаващ патос?

~ Бях чувал за теорията, че Стенли Кубрик е режисирал американското „кацане на Луната“, но „Тайните на „Сиянието“ от Джей Уайднър я издигна до неподозирани висоти... И сега? Да се прежаля да изгледам и самото „Сияние“ ли?

~ Хахаха... чета си аз „Конспирация на мрака“ и ме връхлита натрапчиво дежавю. „Това вече съм го чел! Тук има някаква... конспирация!“

И се оказва, че наистина съм, и наистина има конспирация – съставителска...
Скрит текст: покажи
Аз съм чел по-стара „вътрешна“ версия на предишната „Тера“, от която този материал в крайна сметка е отпаднал и е останал за настоящата. Та ако някой се е почудил от отзива ми за „Тера 2018“ дали съм ясновидец – вече се види ясно, че не съм.


~ Ясновидец (в умерени граници) е Ромуалд Ленех, авторът на „Колко щастливо пробуждане!“. Ясно ми е кои красти на моя духовен баща М. Ненов начесва тоя разказ, с въз-мъжаването на бъдещите жени и оп... за малко да кажем нещо неделикатно на бъдещите мъже. Ех, тате. :D Но си имаше достатъчно моменти, които забавляваха и мен.

Предупреждавахте ни зер!

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:22 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Riddle-Master:

As I went further, deeper into this trilogy, my notes grew fewer and sparser. Words were slipping away from me, just like the answers of those ultimate riddles evaded Morgon's mind. There are few words in the realm of the magic that binds everything into existence; and it is a wonder that the author kept finding words--unearthing them, weaving them out of the winds--to complete this story.

I will stop here, because there is something inside me, and I would like to feel it a while longer, rather than chase it away by trying to name it.

My notes:

~ Even though McKillip admits the influence of The Lord of the Rings on her trilogy in the foreword, it was curious to compare the brisk start of Riddle-Master (goodness, the Hed family got into a family fight--literally :D) to the serene, hobbit-friendly beginning of LotR. That's one thing I love about McKillip's writing: it does not rush things but doesn't let them loiter either.

~ Can you feel the magic? It falls with the night:

The sky darkened slowly as he and the harpist took the long road back to the city; on the rough horns of the bay the warning fires had been lit; tiny lights from homes and taverns made random stars against the well of darkness. The tide boomed and slapped against the cliffs, and an evening wind stirred, strengthened, blowing the scent of salt and night. The trade-ship stirred restlessly in the deep water as they boarded; a loosed sail cupped the wind, taut and ghostly under the moon.


(Also, these two "stirred" in a row prove that American literature cares nothing about random repetitions, unlike Bulgarian one.)

~ Not that's a creative punishment:

“Somewhere in here is the spell that made the stone talk on King’s Mouth Plain. Do you know that tale? Aloil was furious with Galil Ymris because the king refused to follow Aloil’s advice during a siege of Caerweddin, and as a result Aloil’s tower was burned. So Aloil made a stone in the plain above Caerweddin speak for eight days and nights in such a loud voice that men as far as Umber and Meremont heard it, and the stone recited all Galil’s secret, very bad attempts at writing poetry. From that the plain got its name.”


~ Perhaps McKillip and I have the same bones to grind when it comes to fantasy violence:

She disregarded his argument and said helpfully, “I could teach you to throw a spear. It’s simple. It might be useful to you. You had good aim with that rock.”
“That’s a good enough weapon for me. I might kill someone with a spear.”
“That’s what it’s for.”
He sighed. “Think of it from a farmer’s point of view. You don’t uproot cornstalks, do you, before the corn is ripe? Or cut down a tree full of young green pears? So why should you cut short a man’s life in the mist of his actions, his mind’s work—”
(...)
A thought struck him as he watched the flames, and he gave a short, mirthless laugh.
“If I were skilled in arms, I might have thrown a spear at her this morning instead of a rock. And she wants to teach me.”


~ There's something I missed all through the first book, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. And then Raederle rode into the picture, and ah ...

The inn door opened abruptly, and he turned his head. One of the students who had been helping them was precipitated bodily to the cobble-stones under the nose of Bri Corbett’s horse. He staggered to his feet and panted, “He’s there.”
“Rood?” Raederle exclaimed.
“Rood.” He touched a corner of his bleeding mouth with the tip of his tongue and added, “You should see it. It’s awesome.”
He flung the door wide and plunged back into a turmoil of color, a maelstrom of blue, white and gold that whirled and collided against a flaming core of red. The ship-master stared at it almost wistfully. Raederle dropped her face in her hands. Then she slid tiredly off her horse. A robe of Intermediate Mastery, minus its wearer, shot out over her head, drifted to a gold puddle on the stones. She went to the door, the noise in the tavern drowning the ship-master’s sudden, gargled protest. Rood was surfacing in his bright, torn robe from the heaving tangle of bodies.
His face looked meditative, austere, in spite of the split on one cheekbone, as if he were quietly studying instead of dodging fists in a tavern brawl. She watched, fascinated, as a goose, plucked and headless, flapped across the air above his head and thumped into a wall. Then she called to him. He did not hear her, one of his knees occupying the small of a student’s back while he shook another, a little wiry student in the White, off his arm onto the outraged innkeeper. A powerful student in the Gold, with a relentless expression on his face, caught Rood from behind by the neck and one wrist, and said politely, “Lord, will you stop before I take you apart and count your bones?” Rood, blinking a little at the grip on his neck, moved abruptly; the student loosed him and sat down slowly on the wet floor, bent over himself and gasping. There was a general attack then, from the small group of students who had come with Raederle. Raederle, wincing, lost sight of Rood again; he rose finally near her, breathing deeply, his hands full of a brawny fisherman who looked as massive and impervious as the great White Bull of Aum. Rood’s fist, catching him somewhere under his ribs, barely troubled him. Raederle watched while he gathered the throat of Rood’s robe in one great hand, clenched the other and drew it back, and then she lifted a wine flagon in her hand, one that she could not remember picking up, and brought it down on the head of the bull.
He let go of Rood and sat down blinking in a shower of wine and glass. She stared down at him, appalled. Then she looked at Rood, who was staring at her.
His stillness spread through the inn until only private, fierce struggles in corners still flared. He was, she saw with surprise, sober as a stone. Faces, blurred, battle-drunk, were turning towards her all over the room; the innkeeper, holding two heads he was about to bang together, was gazing at her, open-mouthed, and she thought of the dead, surprised fish in the stalls. She dropped the neck of the flagon; the clink of it breaking sounded frail in the silence. She flushed hotly and said to the statue that was Rood, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. But I’ve been looking all over Caithnard for you, and I didn’t want him to hit you before I could talk to you.”


... Yes. A bar brawl. It was definitely a bar brawl.

(Wasn't it?)

~ They're two aspects of Heir and Sea and Fire that fascinate me, and make me fathom my fascination with this kind of fantasy:

One, people care for one another as individuals, so much so that they're willing to abandon safety and the whole nations that have been entrusted to them to go look for a friend who's been lost. It's completely unrealistic, is it not: a ruler wandering off alone, in quest of a single person? Yet it speaks to me on that primal, archetypal level that remembers that every woman and man is a star; or a world, at the very least. (The Encyclopedia of Fantasy has captured it well.)

Two, nobody is ordinary; it's normal to be extraordinary. They--we--all carry powers, potentials, possibilities. Infinite possibilities, as a favorite character of mine would say. It is another reminder that speaks to me, and lets me reach for my own powers and possibilities whenever I'm faltering, or discern yours whenever world-weariness (alias cynicism) has blinded me.

See me soar on these possibilities, gallop with these powers. :)

~ Oh, the power of negotiation:

Her smile faded. “Morgon of Hed,” she said evenly, “if you take one step across that threshold without me, I will lay a curse on your next step and your next until no matter where you go your path will lead you back to me.”
“Raederle—”
“I can do it. Do you want to watch me?”
He was silent, struggling between his longing and his fear for her. He said abruptly, “No. All right. Will you wait for me in Hed? I think I can get us both safely that far.”
“No.”
“Then will you—”
“No.”
“All right; then—”
“No.”
“Then will you come with me?” he whispered. “Because I could not bear to leave you.”


(But don't let yourself be fooled. It will take them another two chapters to find out who is more--as Raederle puts it--pigheaded.)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Vessey » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:06 pm

Коментар, който току що оставих на рецензията на приятел в Goodreads.

"That’s a beautiful comparison. I think it’s the opposite with me. Instead of getting all hot while enjoying a work of art and thinking how erotic the whole experience is, when I actually think about how I would like a man to see me, it always gets to a point where I feel I would like for him to see me as a work of art and look at me with the same passion and trepidation he feels when he is enticed by a painting, a novel, a song. Maybe because I know what I feel when I’m in touch with somebody’s genius. And I would also like art to be the common ground between us. I think that sharing artistic passion with somebody can be quite beautiful and fulfilling. Of course, you can love and welcome art all on your own. Everything is better with a partner by your side and I can understand Stingo’ struggles, but I think that sexuality and sensuality don’t necessarily need to be shared with another person – though, this, of course, is the best possible development – to be out there. It is an inner glow, it is inspiration, something you just let exist in you and grow and make you who you are. In order for another person to want to have it, first they need to see it out there, first they need to see you, to really see you, raw and vulnerable and real and willing to give and get. Carrying it all within, fearing it, hiding it, waiting for somebody to notice significantly diminishes your chances for that to happen. After all, isn’t the fact that Sophie lets Stingo see so much of her past, her pain, her most bitter and miserable and embarrassing moments from her present as well, isn’t the fact that she lets him see so much of her, of her inner self, the thing that makes him want her even more? I think that sensuality is about more than sex, it’s about letting your defences fall, letting another person in, it’s about intimacy that is much wider than the intimacy two people share between the sheets, even if this is the pinnacle. And I think that ultimately this is what artists do with us, they bare their souls in front of us, they let us in and take part in something very personal and very beautiful. And it is what you do to with each of your amazing reviews."

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:30 pm

Тая статия попада вовеки в личния ми архив. Включително ще я намеря и в оригинал.

Понеже само бутончето не стига: БЛАГОДАРЯ!

Сега още повече... още повече ми се струва, като в онова меме, че книгите са ключ/врата към цялата Вселена...

(Както и другите видове изкуство; тях също ги считам за част от Панорамата, защото съм егалитарен, холистичен разказвач-творец, който си мечтае за next-iteration кръгли маси за всички. :D )
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:35 am

Отзив в Goodreads за „Подземни облаци“:

Колебая се за оценката. Гложди ме недовършеността на историята; а и недоразвитостта ѝ като цяло – в книгата не се случва кой знае какво, случките уж водят от едно място към друго, но сякаш посоката няма значение. От друга страна, ако се абстрахирам от идеята за роман и прегърна идеята за fix-up сборник (като първите две „Приказки за Юнаци и злодеи“), отделните винетки ми бяха интересни и самостоятелно, и със закачките помежду си.

Ето някои особено интересни:

~ Освен от брутални физически сблъсъци романът изобилства и от философски спорове. Например:

– Днес в Сошана се изяснява кой е истинският Господ! Бог е всемогъщ господар, вярвам, ще се съгласиш с мен, синко. Той е монистичен Бог, защото е най-могъщият абсолют в целия ойкумен. Припомни си какво пише в Книгата: „На земята няма власт, сравнима с него“. Нека приемем за момент, че има някоя същност, по-могъща от Саваот, когото довчера ние в Църквата наричахме Господ. Това ще означава, че властта на Саваота е ограничена и той не е абсолют. Ще означава, че някогашният Бог вече е изпуснал юздите на този свят, деца мои, че той е станал немощен и сенилен като дядка в старчески дом. Когато архангелът, когото днес наричаме с имената Самаел, Сатанаил и Метатрон, победи в последната битка при Мегидо, той ще бъде всемогъщият абсолют. Той ще бъде истинният Бог и неговите повели ще трябва да следваме. Така най-накрая ще прогледнем от заблудата и късогледството си! (...)
– Лесно е да се подхлъзнеш по тази наклонена плоскост и да избереш изгодното пред доброто, отче. Но ти грешиш, като казваш, че ако Сатанаил е най-могъщият, това го прави наш Бог и абсолют. Дори и най могъщият според военната сила няма власт и върховенство над всичко. Само помисли каква власт има и най-силният воин над майчината любов, над въображението на художника или над правотата на добрия човек.


~ Разумното, порасналото ми аз се мръщи на пародията на феминизма в историята „Над шестстотин и дванайсет“. Масата хватки вътре са удари под кръста; или, с по-малко метафори: нечестни. Но детското, анимационното ми аз се спука да се смее на тази сцена:

Назряваше сериозен скандал, когато командоските от МРАК, които шареха напред-назад по коридорите на конферентния център, като че търсеха претекст за саморазправа, отклониха вниманието на присъстващите от разпрата. Една от тях донесе вестта, че на горния етаж на хотела в този момент тече уъркшоп на пластични хирурзи, тези презрени търговци на фалшиво и неестествено себевъзприятие на женското тяло, ненаситни пиявици и доставчици на страдание. Цялата бойна група вкупом напусна залата тичайки, скоро светлините в сградата угаснаха и се разнесоха викове, писъци и шум от разбити бутилки. Ясно беше, че конференцията бе приключила преждевременно и пластичните хирурзи скоро може би щяха да имат нужда от собствените си услуги.


~ Официално признавам „Над шестотин и дванайсет“ за най-разсмялата ме част от книгата дотук. Пример 18+; и пример за потомствени коректори (или, как неумишлената правописна грешка се превръща в умишлена смислова комедия).

~ Ако след двайсет години посещавате парижките катакомби, не пропускайте да навестите:

Град Нова Петра или по-точно централната му част, разположена в огромна гипсова кариера, прилича повече на голям планетариум, бледожълт купол, обсипан със звездите на прозорците на изрязаните в скалата сгради. Тераси, оградени с елегантни перила, изписани с картини в стила на Банкси или кубистки барелефи, опасват нашия град на седем нива. Те са съединени със спирални рампи, така че велосипедист може да пътува по тях до самия покрив на града. Жилищата са издялани в каменните стени на огромната кухина с голяма грижа за стила на фасадите, които носят облика на квартала. Някои от по-прочутите квартали са Класическия район, украсен с колони в йонийски стил, Висящите градини, издържани в месопотамски стил, също така Чичен, Кубола (или Купола на Кубла) и един, който ти ще познаеш лесно – ВеТър. Името всъщност е Велико Търново, но тукашното население има трудности с произнасянето на такова дълго и непознато име. Стъпалата между сградите са дъски, забити в камъка и разперени като ветрила. Асансьори пълзят по стените, движени от педали и системи от макари. Седалкови лифтове, също задвижвани с човешка сила, съединяват горните етажи на срещуположните стени. Подобни на раковини фасетни изпъкнали огледала отразяват и усилват слабата електрическа светлина на няколкото големи осветителни глобуса, уподобяващи звездното небе и обгръщат града във вечен мистериозен полуздрач.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:02 pm

Отзивче в Goodreads за After the Flare:

Although I'm looking for a different type of story/characters right now, this novel impressed me quite a few times:

- With the sophisticated security of the future:

To read the priority message, he had to take out a key that looked like a straw from his desk and then check the calendar. The kola nut was designated for Tuesday. He opened up a small jar, extracted a kola nut, peeled it, and took a bite, feeling a sharp rush as the stimulant coursed through his taste buds and gums. Kola was still used in Nigeria as a traditional greeting, part of a ritual to begin conversation among a number of tribes, and this, along with many other traditions, had been integrated within the facility’s security systems. The nut tasted of metal, like a cool can of Coke, and exhilaration at the same time. After chewing for a moment, he inserted the straw into his Geckofone and blew into it. The device analyzed the particles in his breath and opened the message.


And then with the sophistry of the future people:

A convoclip from Sybil.
“Hey, Dad! I’m doing good down here in Grenada. Second month of classes.”
“How’s the weather, baby?” he whispered to his daughter. The rest of the world seemed to dissolve around him.
“It’s all right,” she responded. “Hot all the time, but at least we can go swimming in the sea. Thurston bought me some snorkeling gear, and he said he’s going to teach me how to dive next week. We might even see some sharks!”
“Who’s Thurston?”
“I’m sorry, Dad. I don’t know the answer to that. Have another question?”
“Is Thurston your boyfriend?”
“I’m sorry, Dad. I don’t know the answer to that. Have another question?”
“Are you dating someone right now?”
“I’m sorry, Dad. I don’t know the answer to that. Have another question?”
(...) Convoclips took up less data than video clips and could get through the Loom firewall, but they were frustrating, designed to make the messages more intimate by simulating a conversation. It didn’t always work. (...)
“How do you like Yale, Sybil?”
“I’m doing good down here in Grenada. Second month of classes.”
Doing well, he thought. She’d picked that poor grammar up from his ex-wife, and she kept saying it much to his irritation.
Seeing that he wasn’t going to get anything more out of her, probably on purpose, because Sybil was clever when it came to talking about her boyfriends, he said: “You got enough money, baby?”


- With its real-life inspirations and inspiring vision:

Bello soon took the podium and a hush descended over the audience. “There are seeds I’ve seen on the Jos Plateau,” he began, “that can only propagate by means of fire. It takes a broiling, enraged inferno to crack the thick shell and release the seed, which will be carried by the wind over the charred, brittle earth. Only then does the seed enlodge itself in the soil and spread its tendrils to grow into a hearty plant. We too have been forged in the fire. We too required the cauldron of the sun to melt down our ambitions, our dreams, and our enmities to seek out a bold new direction. The Flare—the great cosmic intervention—has given us an opportunity to prove our ingenuity and to right the wrongs of the past. Before it, our program had a modest goal to send an astronaut to the moon, but now our aspirations are much higher, tied indeed to the very fate of space travel. Other countries shook their heads when we announced our intention to rescue Masha Kornokova. But we weren’t dismayed.
“Nigeria has looked beyond our imaginary borders so that we could find you. You are the paragons of African ingenuity who are destined for the stars—the bones of our women are nearly twenty-five percent more dense than other people, making us perfect for long-term space exploration. We all must take our opportunities when they arise, and our moment is now.”


- And with this bit of beauty:

“I signed up for the exchange program,” she continued, “thinking I could do my part in the mission. But I was bored to tears when I got to Kano. The rocket platforms had not even been built yet, so I spent my time recording local musicians. I record all my own music, you see, but not like ethnomusicologists. It’s important to me to record the ambient environment as well—the insects, the birds, street sellers, even the car horns. I went out to Lake Chad to record some musicians playing outside, and the biophony—that’s the full range of sounds in an environment—is extraordinary. Around the lake, the insects time their vocalizations so that they don’t sing at the same moment. This way they have a better chance of finding a mate. And if an insect has to vocalize at the same time as a bird, or a mouse, or a bat, it does it at a different frequency, so that the signal can still get through. You can find this all over the world in any rich habitat. But what I found out by Chad—listen to me, I’m making it sound like the lake is a person—the soundscape is so rich, and the musicians are part of it. I met this lute player who wasn’t especially skillful, not in the way you find with kora players, but her music felt so right. She had good rhythm, I knew that much, but only when I listened to the recording later did I understand it wasn’t the rhythm. She had tuned her lute a half step down so that it fit perfectly with the cicadas and other insects in the background. Her music fit the biophony. On its own, no one would have called the sound beautiful.”

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:26 pm

Отзивче в Goodreads за Slipping:

I skipped over the darker pieces, but "Branded" (which I've already mentioned here), "Princess," and "Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs" made me squeal with laughter; while "Ghost Girl" also made me warm.

A signature excerpt from "Confirm/Ignore":

These are not my words. But be honest, they’re not yours either. Nothing belongs to anyone anymore. Culture wants to be free. This is not my original thought. But who of us can claim to be truly original? Aren’t we all remixes of every influence we’ve ever come across? Love something, let it go. If it comes back, it’s a meme. There’s a double me in meme.


I also liked Beukes's journalistic articles and essays, for both their passion and the context they added to her fiction. If some of those short stories sounded weird, "Adventures in Journalism" proved life to be weirder:

Journalism gives me license to intrude, to ask queasily personal questions of people like Riaan* (not his real name), a tattooed twenty-eight-year-old who knowingly passed HIV to his wife, Lizl*. Sitting in the downstairs coffee shop of the multinational corporation the couple work for as AIDS educators, I asked them if they were still in love, after all they’d been through. “We’ve been married for six years now,” Riaan said, rubbing the back of his hand, marred by white scars from punching in his car window, because, ironically, he’s the bitter one. “But if you watch Oprah Winfrey, you’ll know that love thing is just a phase.”
“Like an infection,” Lizl added, straight-faced.


And "On Beauty: A Letter to My Five-Year-Old Daughter" showed the loveliness of life:

I can’t control or stop the things people will say, what magazines will tell you that you can or can’t wear, the way men will call after you in the street and think they’re doing you a favor, how your physical self will be turned into a weapon against you, in the outside world and, worse, inside your head.
I can’t filter it, I can’t protect you from it. That’s the worst way to live your life—sheltered from the world. But I can arm you as best I can. I can try to nurture your self-confidence. I can try to tell you what real beauty is.
It’s everything you are already. Right now.
Hold on to that. Hold on to it as tight as you can—your delight, your burning curiosity, your sense of humor, your mad imagination, your clear sense of justice, your joy in your body, in running and climbing and swimming and playing and dancing.
Real beauty is engaging with the world. It’s the courage to face up to it, every day. It’s figuring out who you are and what you believe in and standing by that. It’s giving a damn. You are interesting because you are interested, you are amazing because you are so wide open to everything life has to give you.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:01 am

Отзивче в Goodreads за Stepping from the Shadows:

Two glimpses of beauty and loneliness, loneliness and beauty:

He took me to supper when his shift ended. By that time the unspoken word passed back and forth between us with every breath, every spoken word. I sat, in the Japanese restaurant two blocks from my apartment, with my head bowed over a bowl of udon, trying to scoop foot-long noodles into a spoon, trying to make conversation, trying to think, while my left hand wanted to slide itself over the swell of breast and nipple under his shirt, and my right hand wanted to curve itself behind his head, feel the clean dark hair and warm skin, bring his head down, capture a word leaving his mouth between my lips. The noodles kept slipping off my spoon. I couldn’t eat. “Frances,” he said softly. “Frances.” I couldn’t look at him. My own name shot like a lightning pulse in my blood. I wanted him to say my name against me everywhere. To murmur it between my breasts, between my thighs, so that no private corner of me would be nameless.


He nodded, a little shy again. “I figured you for an artist of some kind. They’re different. A class of their own.” He gestured with the beer at the guitar player. “Like that one. You know the music?”
I nodded. Asturias, by Albénez. It was running through me almost painfully, with all its urgent mysteries. The mystery lay in the guitar player, not in the man beside me. But at that moment the small man beside me had something I needed more. He was watching me as I sipped wine and listened.
“You have a real pretty smile,” he said. “It’s nice and warm. But I get the feeling you haven’t been using it much. You’re locked out of your apartment until the managers get back, and there’s no one inside your house to let you in.”
I looked at him. Then I set my wineglass down carefully and said, “I think I’m going to cry.”
“That’s okay. That’s what bars are for.” He leaned over suddenly, put his arm around my shoulders briefly, and kissed my cheek. “That’s a hug. People need to be hugged.”
I wiped at tears with my cuff, half laughing. “Do you have a name? Or do you just go around hugging people?”
“Will,” he said. His voice, giving his name, was a comforting combination of shyness and strength. “Go ahead. Have some more wine and talk. You’re having a rough time in the city. Tell me about it.”
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:39 am

Дочитам си (след известна пауза; не че има значение, тъй или иначе книгата е компилация от блог-постове) You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop_ Scalzi on Writing на John Scalzi.
(Хич не го понасям, ама някои неща, дето ги ръси, са същински бисери. Сега вече знам какво е положението на героят от вица за смесените чувства. :| )

Следните разсъждения, макар с 15-годишна давност, ме размислиха доста:

Science Fiction Outreach

(December 15, 2005)
A question from the audience:
Greg Benford and Darrell Schweitzer have written an article on fantasy overshadowing science fiction and what that means to society.
Rather than bias you with my opinion, I would like to hear yours since you're a rising SF writer of demonstrated intelligence. Hopefully, you'll blog about it. The article is at

http://benford-rose.com/blog/?p=3

I read it. For those of you that have not, the article largely consists of Benford glowering darkly about how the rise of fantasy is indicative of the rise of irrationality and an anti-science view in the United States, and Schweitzer appearing to do his best to talk Benford off the ledge.

Speaking specifically about Benford/Schweitzer, I think they're overthinking the matter by a considerable margin, because, of course, overthinking is what science fiction writers do. I think tying in the rise of fantasy and decline of science fiction to ominous cultural trends feels nice, because there's nothing like being held in the pitiless thrall of a world-historical hairpin turn toward entropy to make one feel better about the fact that it's JK Rowling making a billion dollars from her books and not you. Let that woman have her blood money! We'll all be fighting the cockroaches for scraps soon enough! However, I personally believe the problem is somewhat more prosaic, and it comes down to marketing and writing problems that science fiction literature has that fantasy does not; namely, that math is hard, and science fiction looks rather suspiciously like math.

Because science fiction literature is math, damn it. The best SF book of 2005, in my opinion, is Charlie Stross' Accelerando—more mind-busting ideas there per square inch than any other book this year, and on the off chance Old Man's War gets nominated for any awards this year, I shall be pleased to have my book lose to Charlie's. That being said, and as I've said before, Accelerando is for the faithful, not the uninitiated—and if you look at the significant SF books of the last several years, there aren't very many you could give to the uninitiated reader; they all pretty much implicitly or explicitly assume you've been keeping up with the genre, because the writers themselves have.

The SF literary community is like a boarding school; we're all up to our armpits in each other's business, literary and otherwise (and then there's the sodomy. But let's not go there). We know what everyone else is writing, and are loathe to step on the same ground. This means SF is always inventing new vocabularies of expression, which is good, but it also means the latest, hottest vocabularies are not ones that, say, my voraciously-reading but resolutely middle-of-the-road mother-in-law has any hope of understanding. It's math to her. Which is bad.

Meanwhile: Fantasy. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susannah Clarke: my mother-in-law can read that just fine. Harry Potter? She's got the books. Neil Gaiman's American Gods? Maybe a tinge gothy for her, but she could handle it.

Just about the only commercially significant fantasy writer of the last decade whose books I couldn't give her right off the bat is China Mieville, mostly because Mieville is generating a fantasy mythology informed by the tropes of recent SF (his fantasy is like his remade characters—a delightfully grotesque mashup). I think of giving my mother-in-law Perdido Street Station and giggle for the rest of the night. But, as I said, Mieville's the exception, not the rule (and anyway, I love his writing enough for the both of us).

Fantasy writers are no less in each other's armpits than SF writers, to be sure, but they're not pushed to reinvent the wheel every single time they write a book; the vocabulary of their genre evolves more slowly. It's not math, or if it is, it's not math of the higher orders, and people like my mother-in-law can dive right in.

And this is the point: Fantasy literature has numerous open doors for the casual reader. How many does SF literature have? More importantly, how many is SF perceived to have? Any honest follower of the genre has to admit the answers are "few" and "even fewer than that," respectively. The most accessible SF we have today is stuff that was written decades ago by people who are now dead. You all know I love me that Robert Heinlein as much as anyone, but why does my local bookstore still have more of his books than anyone else's in the genre? The most effective modern "open doors" to SF are media tie-ins, which have their own set of problems: they're fenced-in grazing areas that don't encourage hopping into the larger SF universe, and also, no one but reconstituted geeks want to be seen on the subway with a Star Wars or Star Trek book in tow.

Thanks to numerous horrifying lunchroom experiences growing up, SF geeks are probably perfectly happy to be let alone with their genre and to let the mundanes read whatever appalling chick lit and/or Da Vinci Code clone they're slobbering over this week. (Now, there would be a literary mashup for the ages: The Templars Wore Prada! It'd sell millions!) But then we're back to the Benford/Schweitzer lament, aren't we: SF is getting lapped by fantasy in terms of sales and influence and will probably continue to do so. It's all very well to say the world has turned its back on SF, but if SF authors and publishers are saying this while resentfully suggesting that we didn't much like that stinky world anyway, and that it's much more fun here with all our friends, who, like, totally get us already—well, let's just say I find I lack much sympathy for the genre if this is going to be our position.

Darrell Schweitzer wrote in his lament that if someone wrote a SF novel as compelling as Stranger in a Strange Land, that people would read it despite it's being science fiction. I find this formulation incredibly off-key. People are writing books as compelling as Stranger in a Strange Land today; they're simply writing them for an audience who has already read Stranger. And God knows that any science fiction book that apologizes for being science fiction or that begs the reader to try it even though it's science fiction (horrors!) is doomed to failure, because no one follows up on a pity read. They won't call it tomorrow, they won't send an e-mail, they won't ping it when it's on IM, and they'll pretend not to see it at the next party they're both at. A pity read is an awkward, awkward thing indeed.

What we need are people who are unapologetically writing science fiction—and are unapologetically writing science fiction for people who have never read science fiction before. You want new people to read science fiction? You want SF books to matter to the masses? Then do some goddamned outreach, people. Write an intelligent, fascinating, moving piece of science fiction for the reader who has always thought science fiction was something that happened to other people.

Don't dumb it down—people can figure out when you're typing slow because you think they're moving their lips when they read. Just don't assume they've read any science fiction other than that one time they were made to read "Harrison Bergeron" in their junior year of high school. Make it fun, make it exciting, make it about people as much as ideas and give them a fulfilling reading experience that makes them realize that hey, this science fiction stuff really isn't so bad after all. And then beg beg beg your publisher to give it a cover that a normal 30-something human wouldn't die of embarrassment to be seen with in public. If we can do all that, then maybe, just maybe, science fiction as a literary genre would be back on its way to cultural relevance.

Not every science fiction author needs to do this—the idea of some of our more bleeding-edge folks trying to model a universe for skiffy virgins is one best left unexamined—but somebody should do it, and the rest of the SF writing crew should cut those brave volunteers some slack when they do. The person who reads intelligent but training-wheelsgentle SF today could be the one who is devouring Accelerando or other such advanced works tomorrow. That's good for us, good for them, good for the genre and good for the whole damn known universe.


Егото ми ме кара да се чудя: Има ли шанс аз да съм един от тези somebod(y/ies)? И съответно, може ли да се приеме, че "Звездният път" е подобна подходяща книга за SF entryway? Предполагам само времето ще покаже.
(Все пак в нея няма нито един оригинален кокал technology-wise. А лингото, с тук-там някой и друг техножаргон, е съвсем смилаемо.)

Друга интересна теория, която бях чувал (и досега се subscribe-вах основно към нея) е, че след "големите разочарования" на XXI-и век - липса на качествен напредък в областта на космическите полети, нема ги обещаните ховъркрафти от "Завръщане в бъдещето", ВР-то доскоро беше все още мит, ИИ-то също, тн., тн. - хората са били загубили интерес към sense of wonder-а на НФ, което, в комбинация със засилващата се социална нестабилност, ги е накарало да обърнат поглед "назад към доброто старо време" - фентъзито.

Моята лична теория е, че принципно фантастика излиза по-рядко като цяло, защото се пише по-трудно. За фентъзито - пляс, пляс, елфи, джуджета и магия и готово; дракони в добавка, ако искаш да си наистина cool. За НФ ти трябва грамадна обща култура - математика, астрофизика, инженерни и компютърни науки, кибер сигурност, социология, икономика, логистика, ксенология, кибернетика (в истинския смисъл на думата, не говоря за хромирани бицепси), и тн. и тн. Така де, тия неща помагат много ако и един фентъзи писател разбира от тях, но във фентъзито (уж? аз им се чудя колко са слепи някои хора...) е много по-малко прозрачно колко нелепа е постройката ти на света, ако постоянно скитосват разни блестящи рицари насам-натам. Съответно, малко хора се престрашават да пишат НФ - защото лошото НФ смърди ужасно, дори облечено в костюм "Армани", докато лошото фентъзи горе-долу seemingly се търпи доде не пръдне грубо; поне това изглежда е mainstream perception-а. А може би НФ читателите по принцип са по-взискателни и аналитични. (Which kinda makes sense.)

Еh, както и да е. Ще направя каквото дежурно правя, и ще приема, че истината е съвкупност от разните факти и теории. Макар че анализът на Скалзи (трудно ми е да го призная, но все пак) май печели по отношение на Occam's Razor.

За контраст, голяма доза смях:

Revenge of the Science Fiction Writers!

(January 28, 2005)
Here's a quick rule of thumb: Don't annoy science fiction writers. These are people who destroy entire planets before lunch. Think of what they'll do to you.

Thus learned PublishAmerica recently. PublishAmerica is a somewhat controversial book publisher that many authors believe is a thinly-disguised "vanity publisher," and whose book deals take advantage of people who want to be "published" authors more than they want to read the fine print of a contract (PublishAmerica—and for that matter many authors published by the house—rather vehemently deny this charge).

A number of notable science fiction authors, including James MacDonald, have warned aspiring authors away from the house, which apparently didn't please PublishAmerica, which noted on one of its online sites that "As a rule of thumb, the quality bar for sci-fi and fantasy is a lot lower than for all other fiction . . .[Science fiction authors] have no clue about what it is to write real-life stories, and how to find them a home."

Well, naturally, MacDonald and others sensed a challenge, so what a group of them did was get together to intentionally write an utterly professionally unsaleable book ("Plot, characterization, theme: none of them are to be found . . . Grammar and spelling take a drubbing," they wrote in the Web site they created after the fact), and then submitted it to PublishAmerica to see if it met the publisher's quality standards. And what do you know? It did—Atlanta Nights, as the book was called, was accepted. Here's a sample of text:

"I'm glad you could give me a ride," Bruce Lucent muttered, his pain-worn face reddened by the yellow sunlight. "What with my new car all smashed and all."

His old friend, Isadore, shook his massive head at him. "We know how it must be to have a lot of money but no working car," he said, the harsh Macon County drawl of his voice softened by his years in Atlanta high society. "It's my pleasure to bring you back to your fancy apartment, and we're all so happy that y'all is still alive. Y'all could have been killed in that dreadful wreck." Isadore paused to put on the turn signal before making a safe turn across rush-hour traffic into the parking lot of Bruce Lucent's luxury apartment building. "Y'all'll gets a new car on Monday."

"I don't know how I'll be able to drive it with my arm in a cast," Bruce Lucent shoots back. "It's lucky I wasn't killed outright like so many people are when they have horrid automobile wrecks."

"Fortunately, fast and efficient Emergency Medical Services, based on a program founded by Lyndon Baines Johnson the 36th President of the United States helped y'all survive an otherwise, deadly crash," Isadore chuckled. He nodded his head toward the towering apartment building, in the very shadow of Peachtree Avenue, where Bruce lived his luxurious life.

And that's one of the better passages. There are also two chapters with the same number, and two chapters with the same text (though, I understand, not the same two chapters as have the same numbers) and various other violations of common and grammatical sense. It's not for nothing that the authorial pseudonym for this book is "Travis Tea."
(No, I didn't contribute. But I kind of wish I had!)

Naturally, when the book was accepted, the science fiction writers couldn't help mentioning it on various Web sites, and when PublishAmerica found out it had been hoaxed, it quickly rescinded its offer. But by then it was too late—the SF authors, aside from placing the "novel" up for sale elsewhere as an example of PA's quality standards, have also issued a press release recounting the entire tale that went out on the newswires today.

Lessons from this story?

If you're an aspiring author considering Publish-America (or any other similar operation), make sure you do due diligence before you sign any contracts;

Don't make science fiction authors angry. You wouldn't like them when they're angry.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:30 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Political Philosophy: Fact, Fiction and Vision:

A truly enriching experience, as my reading notes testify:

~
Not even more recent social thinkers, such as John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, John Dewey, Joseph Schumpeter, Harold Laski, Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, or John Rawls, had much to say about such topical issues as environmental degradation, gender and race discriminations, participative democracy, nationalism, imperialism, the North-South (or developed-underdeveloped divide) resource wars, the industrial-military complex, or the connections between poverty and environmental degradation and between inequality and bad health. (...)
Worse, above their ideological divergences, most political philosophers have been nearly unanimous in their indifference to the plight of the Third World. Consequently the bulk of political philosophy is irrelevant to five sixths of humankind. The present author, a native of this world, does not share that indifference.


Color me excited. :)

~ On conflict and cooperation:

Dialectical ontology, whether idealist like Hegel's or materialist like Marx's, claims that all change results from conflict (or "contradiction"). The conflict theorists, from Heraclitus to Machiavelli to Hobbes, Smith, Hegel, Marx, Lenin and Gramsci, emphasized strife to the point of underrating or even ignoring cooperation. And yet the very existence of social networks and systems of various kinds and sizes, as well as the coexistence of groups with different interests, involve a modicum of cooperation. For example, the employers and employees of a business may clash with regard to wages and benefits, but they cooperate in keeping the firm afloat. Hence it is just as wrong to ignore cooperation as to overlook conflict.
An agonistic or conflict-centered ontology, such as Hegel's or Marx's, is at best partially true. This holds not only for politics but also for business. Indeed, the economists who repeat the mantra about the virtues of competition overlook the fact that competition is stimulating among peers, but destructive among the unequal, which is why smart businessmen try to avoid it. Moreover, all of the advanced economies, from Britain's to Japan's, grew under state protection and with the help of productivity-enhancement technologies that were invented, for the most part, in state-supported universities.


~ On selfishness and altruism:

Most people behave altruistically as long as others do the same: they practice quid pro quo. Most are also willing to punish those who do not reciprocate: they are "altruistic punishers," and are willing to run the risk of punishers for the good of all (Henrich et al. 2006). Besides, most people prefer entering cooperative ventures to going it alone: they tend to be "strong reciprocators" (Gintis 2000). Furthermore nearly all of us respect and tend to favor people who have earned a reputation for generosity (Rockenbach and Milinski 2006). And nearly all of us despise and shun free-loaders. In short, the basic postulate of all rational-choice theories is false. We are not nearly as selfish as economists have painted us.


~ Judging from the distinctions that Bunge draws between individualism, holism and what he calls 'systemism,' I infer that his notion of 'holism' differs from my own (which does not deny the existence of individual elements, only the possibility that they can exist separately from everything else; and which emphasizes that systems have properties that their elements do not, so we can't understand a system only by looking at its elements). I guess Bunge's systemism is close to my idea of holism.

~ Hear, hear:

1. Human infants are empathic and altruistic. All parents know that young pre-school children, and even 18-month old infants, feel concerned for peers in distress. Warneken and Tomasello (2006) have recently confirmed this finding, showing that infants will also do something to help adults faced with a practical problem that they are unable to solve.
2. We punish free riders. Fehr and Gächter (2000) found that ordinarily people punish "free riders" even knowing that they run a risk. That is, people are willing to put up with revenge when it comes to upholding common decency in their community. Could this be because we cherish social values? We do not know yet.
3. Men ordinarily punish unfair opponents but empathize with fair ones (Singer et al. 2006). That is, moral considerations may outweigh "rational" calculations even when judging people we dislike. Is this because our sense of fairness has not been utterly corrupted by the struggle for life? We do not know.


~ Teehee ... I can see why Bunge can't be very popular in certain parts of the world:

... the so-called American ideology [is] a hodge-podge of slogans and wishes, such as "America first," "God-fearing people," "Family values," "You are worth what you own," "Shopping trumps reading," "We are entitled to as much oil a we want," and "Winnable foreign wars are OK."


(But don't worry, American friends; I come from another part of the world, and I too was miffed by some of Bunge's claims--in my case, about religious ideologies. The man has mercy for no-one. ;)

~ I'm happy to see that Bunge discusses environmentalism outside of the traditional left-center-right spectrum. True, there are environmentalist groups that embrace leftist, centrist or rightist beliefs, but the movement itself is not defined by the "individual vs. state" axis.

As for the way Bunge presents environmentalism, I'm moderately happy about some aspects and moderately unhappy about others. The aspect whose omission I mourn the most is the environmental principle that humanity needs the environment to survive (but not vice versa); however, Bunge speaks about environmental protection as a universal obligation in many other places, so I won't hold any grudges. ;)

Here is an interesting question to ponder, though:

It is mistaken to put animal rights on the same level as human rights, because legitimate rights, contrary to privileges, imply duties, and only pets are ordinarily trained to observe duties--but most of us refrain from eating them.


I don't know which animal rights (if any) Bunge recognizes as legitimate. A good starting point is freedom from torture. Torture of animals has been widely criminalized; and not merely because of any inherent rights, but because of the psychological effects it has on the torturers and any human witnesses. (You do need a holistic approach to these issues--"holistic" in the sense of "considering the effect on everyone around and, yes, on the environment.")

~ This passage summarizes what I call the "insiders vs. outsiders" political climate in ex-"socialist" countries such as Bulgaria:

The 'dictatorship of the proletariat', which was actually the dictatorship of the nomenklatura or political elite, destroyed what little civil society there had been earlier, and it stunted political development by drastically curtailing popular participation at all levels. It replaced voluntary allegiance with submission, fear, and the dilution of responsibility. Hence, it alienated most individuals from the government, which was rightly perceived as omnipotent and repressive. It divided the people into two new social classes with conflicting interests: 'us' (the people) and 'them' (the elite). (...) In fighting to survive and advance in a climate of fear, denunciation, and mistrust, people became increasingly individualistic and corrupt--hardly the suitable material for an egalitarian and solidary society.


We've been struggling to rebuild civil society and popular participation for 30 years now. How much longer will it take?

~ Now here's an argument that bugs me deeply:

Free abortion deceases criminality. (...) the crime rate in the United States declined after abortion was decriminalized in 1973. The cause is presumably the decrease in number of unwanted children, who are frequently neglected and may consequently choose a career in crime.


If that's a good argument in favor of abortion, then so is the argument "The free murder of unwanted small children (where "small" means any children who cannot survive without adults' support) decreases criminality." :-OOO

Please note that I am not arguing for or against abortion. What I'm trying to find is a fair (ethical + scientific) definition of when an embryo becomes a human being. Can anyone point me to one?

... Haha, the Universe is listening.

In short: If we use as a criterion the brain's capacity for registering pain (which is considered to be the earliest brain activity), it starts 24 weeks after the conception, according to Sarah Geer. Brain activity is a fair definition, because people are said to be dead if their brain is dead; otherwise they're alive (even if their heart has stopped and they have to use artificial blood circulation, etc.).

~ An important point about the "fourth estate" and events like 9/11:

Force is not the only political persuader: another is the press; so much so, that it has been called "the fourth estate." The press is politically powerful under all political regimes because, along with school and organized religion, it shapes public opinion and thus helps or obstructs governments at home and abroad. For example, on September 12, 2001, the front-page headlines of the New York Times read "U.S. attacked," and its editorial was titled "The war against America." Thus, the 9/11 attack--which deserved only a police operation--was exhibited as an act of war, and moreover as equivalent to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, hence as calling for the mobilization of the entire nation around the Leader of the Free World. The political pundits, analysts and columnists did not exercise restraint. Few, if any, dared point out that a war requires at least two nations to participate, and that war is ultimate terrorism. So the very expression 'war on terror' is to be considered a contradiction in terms. No matter. The public opinion about 9/11 was manufactured overnight by spin-doctors and the media. It was used by the Administration to recover its lost prestige and impose "war-time" limitations on transparency, civil liberties, and even privacy. For example, in 2006 the American President annulled hundreds of laws and admitted that his government had been spying on numerous subjects--for their own protection, of course.


Incidentally, I have 2,874 GR friends as of writing this. ;)

~ We were discussing money as an external (i.e. non-sustainable) motivator in NGO activities the other day--and now I come across this passage:

(...) recent experiments (Vohs, Mead and Goode 2006) suggest that money detaches individuals from their communities, as it reduces disinterested offers of help as well as their requests for unpaid help. In short, far from being socially desirable, excessive money is socially dissolvent, and therefore a disincentive to democratic participation.


~ I've already noted this in The Psychology of Creative Writing, but let's have it again:

(...) intrinsic motivation is stronger than external motivation (reward or punishment). Indeed, psychologists have known for decades that external rewards and punishments have a hidden cost. They weaken intrinsic motivation, such as the joy of learning, the satisfaction of workmanship, of solving a problem, or of helping someone else (...)


~ On history and the future:

Can knowledge of history help design the future? Hardly, because the social world has changed, and the means that we can now use are quite different from those available to our ancestors, even if some of the problems they tackled are still with us. For the same reason asking questions of the form "How would so and so have tackled this question?" is purely academic. For example, neither Locke nor Kant might even have understood the questions whether collective bargaining, affirmative action, proportional representation, hostile firm takeover, or outsourcing,
are fair. This is why the view of Leo Strauss and his disciples--that to understand politics and engage in it we must seek the advice of the ancients--is absurd. The rear-view mirror serves to protect us from the past, not to tell the future.
Another reason for rejecting their "Back to the ancients!" slogan is that none of the ancients objected to war, slavery, sexism or racism; none after Pericles cared for democracy; and none of them had any idea of social justice.


~ I wish the book elaborated more on the solutions (the vision) Bunge proposes. (However, the copy I read was missing some pages especially from the final chapter, so my criticism may be somewhat unfair.) Both here and in Алтернативата. Защо трябва да променим света в който живеем?, the authors spend a great deal of time explaining or lambasting the defects of the current systems, perhaps to the point of getting exhausted and failing to muster enough constructive energy during the final stretch. A real pity. :(

But then, there's this entire new solarpunk subgenre of visionary SF to make up for it ... yes? ;)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Люба » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:46 pm

Много добър отзив и анализ. Но ми се струва, че все пак е малко рано/много да искаме от несъвременници като John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, John Dewey, Joseph Schumpeter, Harold Laski, Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, or John Rawls, да са могли да обозрат околната среда, цялата система и взаимовръзките й. От кулата на данни, анализи, взаимовръзки, въздействия и проч, е лесно да ги "обвини" човек. Но там и тогава - не виждам как биха могли, освен издалечно да са се досещали, че има нещо.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:29 pm

Ъм... Не знам дали сте чули, но "Стопанката на Господ" е достигнала тираж 100 000. :?
Понеже тази книга предизвиква "знаем какво", добре е човек да чуе и автора, като човек да го види.

Ето две предавания. Второто е духовно, за магията. И двете са доста важни за разбирането на книгата. Или поне за понасянето на феномена, който тя предизвика преди верме.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77BSxrTnOC0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n3v9aqRfJU

Чепата е "госпожата", спор няма.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Vessey » Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:25 pm

Рецензията ми за "Джейн Еър" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/925410545)

SPOILERS

I dedicate this review to my dear friend Jeffrey. jeffrey, you are incredible friend and a writer and you should never, ever change.

Jane and Mr. Rochester

More than once I have come across criticism on Charlotte Bronte for fully failing to understand Jane Austen. Charlotte declares her incapable of passion. And while I cannot agree with this assessment, after my second reading of ‘Jane Eyre’ I do understand why someone like Chatlotte Bronte sees someone like Jane Austen this way. If Lizzie Bennet is a breath fresh air, charming and witty, Jane is force of nature. In the face of a storm Lizzie will be next to you, encouraging you and consoling you, while Jane will grab you by the hands, look you in the eyes and tell you “It’s over. You’re going down. Face it and do it right” Jane carries herself through light and darkness in equally graceful way. I may disagree with some of her views, yet, I am completely enthralled and mesmerized by her strength, by her determination to fight for herself, and the passion with which she defends her beliefs, regardless of whether I agree with them or not.

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."

Jane proved to me that freedom and free will are not the same thing. Does the slave, the captive, the sick one, the lonely one, have a free will? We are all captives in some way, we are dependant and we all suffer. Some more than others. Free will doesn’t go away with freedom. No walls, no humiliations and atrocities can devour it. I shall quote my friend Hades “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ Even in the face of most horrendous circumstances we have the choice, the free will, to decide whether we shall let our identity, our core, the sense of meaning, burn out along with our happiness, or we shall keep remembering that there is always tomorrow. Jane remembers, Jane hopes, Jane believes. Jane cares. I will never understand those who consider Catherine the personification of passion and free human spirit, and Jane just a meek, boring, insipid girl. Catherine is passionate about nothing and no one else but Heathcliff. And even this single source of passion doesn’t prove strong enough. She lets go of him and voluntarily confines herself into miserable marriage and devotes her existence to a life of bland luxury, lies and petty rivalries that make neither her, nor anyone close to her happy. This isn’t the face of passion and freedom. Jane is passionate about Mr. Rochester, about women's position, moral, religion, education. About people and the world in general. She has a really big scope. One that Catherine lacks. She knows herself well enough to know that being entraped in a relationship that goes against her instincts would ruin her. It is people endowed with passion and bravery that dare to throw away the shroud of the common, to peel the veneer and see what’s inside. She breaks the rules. She cares nothing for customs, social norms and others’ opinion. Her conscience is her only guide. Jane is adventurer. She longs for “the wind to howl more wildly, the gloom to deepen to darkness, and the confusion to rise to clamour”.

"I believed in the existence of other and more vivid kinds of goodness, and what I believed in I wished to behold. Who blames me? Many, no doubt; and I shall be called discontented. I could not help it: the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes."


And this longing makes her to break free from prejudice, to remember that “women feel just as men feel; It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” It makes her brave enough to have a relationship with an older, prominent, enigmatic, sarcastic, dominant, demanding man, even though many who have been victims of suppression and abuse would see such position as just another of its faces. Yet, she gives into it. She dares explore the forbidden territory, to jump in the deep without a safety net, and knowing that if it fails, there will be a hell to pay. At the time having a relationship with the boss wasn’t as easy as it is today.

"My eyes were drawn involuntarily to his face; I could not keep them under control. I looked, and had an acute pleasure in looking, - a precious yet poignant pleasure; pure gold, with a steely point of agony: a pleasure like what the thirst-perishing man might feel who knows the well to which he has crept is poisoned, yet stoops and drinks divine draughts nevertheless."

Temptation. It is a powerful force and for a woman like Jane, endowed with rare sensitivity and sensuality, it is an even greater one. Jane is modest and calm, but on the inside she is full of "life, fire, feeling”. And she is confident enough to not feel the need to demonstrate and parade her sexuality. As Marguerite Duras says in “The Lover”, “You didn’t have to attract desire. Either it was in the woman who aroused it or it didn’t exist”. Just like she doesn’t feel the need to prove how strong she is. Her mild, calm nature is not a sign of resignation, but a sign of deep inner peace. Fervour and boldness are not the only weapons one might possess. Jane isn’t about effects, but results. She speaks little and calmly, but smartly. Two quiet words, said in the right way and at the right time, have a bigger effect than the most intense and colorful declaration. Everyone can attract attention by being bold and flirtatious, everyone can defend themselves by using strong language and even force. But how many of us can achieve those things without even trying? Jane’s strength and beauty are deeply intrinsic. They are part of her, and not something she needs to evoke. They provoke fear in the cruel, sanctimonious, narrow-minded Mrs. Reid and Mr. Brocklehurst, mollify the innate coarseness of Betsy, gain the favour of Mirss Temple, Diana and Mary Rivers, and the affection and respect of Edward Rochester and John Rivers. I shall quote Mr. Rochester himself.

"To women who please me only by their faces, I am the very devil when I find out they have neither souls nor hearts - when they open to me a perspective of flatness, triviality, and imbecility, coarseness, and ill-temper: but to the clear eye and eloquent tongue, to the soul made of fire, and the character that bends but does not break - at once supple and stable, tractable and consistent - I am ever tender and true."

He understands and describes her character perfectly.

With all said, Jane isn’t perfect. She has her inner struggles. She questions her principles, she suffers the temptations and dilemmas we all do. It takes her a lot to learn to handle her strong emotions. Both negative and positive. When she is faced with the same dilemma that haunts the protagonist of “Notes From the Underground”,

“Which is better – cheap happiness or lofty suffering?”

she is very tempted to choose what she perceives to be an immoral act, disregard of her most important values. Her inner struggle at those moments will stay with me. It touched me very deeply.

"I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence, with what I delight in, - with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. I have known you and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death."

In the end she adheres to her chosen path. But despite her choice of ”lofty suffering”, Jane is not judgmental and self-righteous. She proves exactly how gentle her heart is and how deep her mind when she is faced with Mr. Rochester point of view regarding relationships and the sanctity of marriage. She doesn’t share his view, yet, she isn’t scandalized, indignant or angry. She actually sees the sense in what he tells her, despite not agreeing to it. I think it is rare to be able to understand and accept an opposite point of view without sharing it. Time and experience have taught me that two opposite views can be equally valid and truthful. This is a woman able to see nuances. All said about Jane’s depth can be said about Edward Rochester too. I will never forget these words:

"Never was anything at once so frail and so indomitable. I could bend her with my finger and thumb: and what good would it do if I bent, if I uptore, if I crushed her? Consider that eye, defying me, with more than courage - with a stern triumph. It is you, spirit - with will and energy, and virtue and purity - that I want: not alone your brittle frame."

It only shows how well they know and understand each other. (Unlike Heathcliff and Cathy) The harmony they find in their disharmony proves the veracity of his earlier words:

"It is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, - you’d forget me."

The first sentence anyway. As the plot progresses, we see that, like in every great love story, nobody forgets no one. The way they bear their separation only supports his claim about the deep affinity between them. (sighing)

Jane and John Rivers

The other austere, dominant male presence in Jane’s life. He must be one of the most fascinating characters I have come across. He may not be the man you would want as a best friend or to marry to, but I find him incredibly exciting and thought provoking. I shall quote myself. Here’s what I say in my review of “Inferno”

”I would always choose the sinner who sins, but also forgives, over the saint who never sins, but never forgives either”

The juxtaposition between John Rivers and Edward Rochester really instills life into those words. Charlotte Bronte seems to have believed the same thing, judging by the way she has constructed those two characters. And Jane somehow balances their features in herself. She possesses some of the convictions and prejudices of John Rivers. She is deeply religious and despite generally being able to see nuances, in some aspects, just like his, her view is too black and white. She too is used to very simple, moderate life, she too feels the need to help others. Only, unlike him, she realizes that in some aspects the best way to take care of others is to, first and foremost, take care of yourself. And this is where once again we witness her ability and willingness to see nuances. Unlike John Rivers, she realizes that when an idea, no matter how noble, turns into an obsession, might turn the devotee into someone as – and even more – dangerous than many egotists, opportunists and criminals out there. Rochester too is an austere, harsh man, but unlike John Rivers, he understands the other side too. He’s also full of love and tenderness and generosity. Not John Rivers, though.

"What struggle there was in him between Nature and Grace in this interval, I cannot tell: only singular gleams scintillated in his eyes, and strange shadows passed over his face. He is a good and a great man; but he forgets, pitilessly, the feelings and claims of little people, in pursuing his own large views. It is better for the insignificant to keep out of his way, lest, in his progress, he should trample them down"

John Rivers, albeit good and great man – as Jane herself refers to him – is tainted by the fatal weakness of seeing people as just a big herd and himself as the shepherd who needs to lead and support it. He fails to see them as individual human beings, which is good neither for them, nor for himself. He is ready to sacrifice himself and everyone else he deems necessary to achieve his grand dream. He has a big heart, but a narrow scope. He struggles with every genuine feeling that comes to him.

"You are original, and not timid. There is something brave in your spirit, as well as penetrating in your eye; but allow me to assure you that you partially misinterpret my emotions. I declare, the convulsion of the soul. That is just as fixed as a rock, firm set in the depths of a restless sea. Know me to be what I am - a cold hard man."


He is fanatic to the very core of his being and so lacking of confidence and self-esteem that he believes himself worthless without religion. To Jane religion is a dear friend helping her to keep her hope alive and make hard choices. It is essential part of her personality, but she sees it as something separated from her. She had her marvelous qualities even before turning to it. However, John Rivers sees his religious self as the only self that is of any worth. He affirms nothing else.

"You have taken my confidence by storm, and now it is much at your service. I am simply, in my original state - stripped of that blood-bleached robe with which Christianity covers human deformity - a cold, hard, ambitious man. My ambition is unlimited: my desire to rise higher - insatiable. I watch you with interest, but not because I deeply compassionate what you have gone through, or what you still suffer."

His words show that he too is possessed by a deep passion. But it is a cold flame that inflames it. His goal is noble, but not his ways. He rejects his individuality and that of others, the idea of happiness and self-indulgence. He forgets that every love is first and foremost love for the self. It is from this love that our love for others emanates. If we give up on ourselves, we give up on everyone else. If all you do is just give and give and sacrifice and sacrifice yourself, one day you will find that you have run out of substance and you have nothing left to give. And you will be gone, unable to help anyone with anything. And it will happen quickly. As it really does happen with him. But, as Jane herself proves, if you use your goodness and generosity sparingly enough and not forget yourself, you will be able to preserve yourself and therefore help others for a longer period and in a more quality way. Sometimes the best way to be strong is to let yourself be weak. I choose weak, but long-burning candle over bright and short-burning one. Jane is not as free-thinking as Rochester in some regards, but she does share his warmth, his willingness to forgive, the flexibility of his mind, his dream of happy and content life. She admits her own – and his – importance. It is always hard to decide how much to give to others and how much to keep to ourselves. It’s the hardest balance to keep. The one between the self and the world.

With all said, I do believe that John Rivers, cold as he was, in his own way did love her. But he was too absorbed by his overblown idea of humanity and sacrifice and his refusal to see people as anything else than helpless victims and himself and Jane as the necessary sacrifice laid on the sacred alter and soon to be consumed. For awhile Jane is tempted. For awhile he is as big a temptation as Rochester. In the end though her spirit prevails, she breaks free, she remembers who she truly is and whom she needs to be with. The ending brought me so much happiness. I still stand by my claim that Mr. Rochester is the sweetest marshmallow of a man I have come across. And Jane agrees with me. Or, maybe I should say, I agree with her. This is one of my most favourite novels and, in some ways, the favourite. It was the book that made me realize that simplicity and depth don’t mutually exclude each other. It is a simple story, but it tells us so much. And Jane herself, she doesn’t possess the grayness we all appreciate so much in characters and consider to be making them deeper and more interesting. In this regard Jane is not complex – she is perfectly good, kind and amiable girl – but she is a deep character that speaks to me from the distance of 178 years. And I hear her voice. She exhorts me to be compassionate, to be strong in the face of adversity, to be equally kind to myself and others, to love myself and others willingly and openly, without shame, without regret, without reserve. She remains a quiet power in my consciousness that I will never separate with. Thank you, Jane.

Read count: 2

P.S. My only regret is that I didn’t provide Mr. Rochester with enough attention. I feel that I should have explored his character more thoroughly, so this review will probably go through a substantial redaction at some point. Otherwise it was a really nice experience.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:42 am

Оказва се, че проблеми в литературния свят има на всички равнища - на ниво творци, на ниво издатели (както Скалзи повдигна завесата за мен) и дори на ниво продавачи.

The Problem(s) with Damaged Goods

Малко ми е тъпо, защото съм старошколник, обаче все повече и повече започвам да си мисля, че предимно електронно издаване на моята (нова) книга - независимо дали с или без подкрепата на издател - е най-етичното решение към днешна дата. :|

Ама искам да я скив и да я държа на хартия... някак си по-реално изглежда тогава.

И да, от днес за първи ден чета Publisher's Weekly - а наздраве! :D

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Tor още нищо не са ми писали, въпреки че вече един месец седят върху събмишъна ми (който НЕ е целият ръкопис); ебахти бастуните. До две седмици ги отсвирвам и почвам ново дирене.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:09 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Tidbits: One-Page Stories:

Surprisingly diverse; I thought there'd be more repetition in sixty takes on the same topic.

Here're my favorites:

~ Sam Muller's "The Anti-wish" made me chuckle with its reversal of fairy godmothers' blessings and curses. A favorite passage (which makes the evil fairy question her entire purpose here):

For a royal lady expected to do nothing more arduous than sew uselessly, eat daintily, dance industriously and gossip discreetly, a brain wasn’t just a superfluity. It was an impediment to her progress in life.


~ Another delightfully inverted (perverted?) fairy godmother stumbles into Audrey Blue's "Kingdom's Most Wanted." Yet in the end, she leaves in a far more assured manner (a blaze of glory?):

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“Thank you so much!” Cinderella threw her arms around the fairy godmother.
 
“Hands off! I don’t do that.” The fairy godmother pried the girl’s arms off her. “I did this for you, now you have to do a little something for me on the way to the ball.”

“Anything!” No price was too small for one night of happiness.

….

The fairy godmother dove into the carriage with a sack in each hand. Gold poured from her handbag. “Drive kid!”
 
“When I said anything, this wasn’t what I had in mind.” Cinderella cracked her whip. The mouse took off down the road. The fairy godmother shot her wand at the knights behind them. They tumbled to the ground.
 
“That was some sleep spell,” Cinderella called back.
 
“Keep telling yourself that. We’ve got a ball to crash and the law to avoid.”


~ Rachel L. Carazo's "Stolen Wishes" contains an important reminder about the scope of our dreams.

~ Eliza Master's "Chekov's Unicorn" made me guffaw when I figured out what it's really about. Give it a try:

On a display case were different releases of Dostoyevsky. Anna ran her finger over a hard spine, while imagining his time in Omsk. He had spent four years inside prison walls. There, the voices of stories erected. He had penetrated into the darkest recesses of Anna’s being. She flushed. But she had spent too much time communing with him. She needed something else.
 
Outside snow was collecting. The city was bathed in a white glow.
 
There were lots of TolsToys in the shop. Sometimes he kept her awake all night. Somewhere between happiness and suffering. Anna missed that, but no.


Hint: double entendres.

~ Henry Gasko's "Eternal Happiness" won me on two counts: its tongue-in-cheek tone:

They stood speechless as smoke poured out. Slowly the form of a classical genie appeared: pantaloons, pointy shoes, a silly hat. The works.
 
“Shit!” said Jason.
 
“Your wish, O Master.”
 
“Seriously?”
 
“Seriously,” said the genie.
 
“I … I don’t know,” stammered Jason, wondering where Sally had gotten the weed they’d smoked.
 
"Come on," said the genie.


And the epiphany about the link between happiness and stoicism.

~ Angela Teagardner's "The Color of Sunshine" was wonderfully uplifting. That final sentence felt like a beam of light on my own face.

~ Veronika Mikec's "You Wish" was, on the other hand, wonderfully chilly. Its final sentence felt like a fist shooting out at the powers that be.

~ Keith Frady's "We'd All Cast Nets" charmed me with its imagery. Consider:

He sang as he walked down the cliff’s makeshift stairs to the salt-worn pier at the base, a soft, whiskey bass rolling from the sea foam tumble of his beard. He sat at the pier’s edge, feet dangling. The sun yawned, one last burst of orange and red, then made room for the night and her stars.


~ I know I'm partial to horses, yet ... isn't the silver mare in Kathryn Wilmotte's "Beggars Would Ride" the most magical creature in the whole anthology? Man, what a wish! ;)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:44 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Damnificados:

A beautifully written book that unearths beauty in the most unexpected places.

Such as:

~ The language often scintillates with wit:

On the sixth day of the rains, a plague of mosquitoes arrives and the damnificados are struck by a mystery virus. Their eyeballs go blue and they begin to shake. Six hundred of them sweat and tremble and take to their beds, and Nacho cancels school and all other gatherings because of the fear of contagion.
“It’s borne on the wind,” says a windbag.
“There’s no hope,” says a no-hoper.
“We’re all doomed,” says a doom-monger.


... or merely scintillates:

A song finishes and a roar goes up. The singer says something in Arabic, pauses for a subdued cheer, then switches to Turkish. More cheers. She grins and raises her arms, lifts her head to the sky and closes her eyes like a child swallowing rain. Then she lets out an unworldly note—an ahhhh at top C, somewhere between a scream and the sustained plaint of an opera diva. The note resolves into a sequence, sliding down the arpeggio as the percussionists ram home the beat.


~
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The "Chinaman"'s death and funeral were the stuff of legends.
In fact, the whole book has a legendary sound and feel--reminds me of Milorad Pavić's Dictionary of the Khazars.

~ Yes, this is a story about stories:

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And like all stories, this one grows and grows, warps out of shape till it’s only half-recognizable: eyewitnesses report that thousands of wild animals were seen evacuating before the Great Drop occurred, and others give interviews claiming they helped to set the trap, digging below the surface of the land and covering it up with just enough soil and stone to prevent the ruse from being discovered. Some even produce the tools used to dig the hole, showing off the shovels they held, the hoes, pick axes and augers they carried night after night to lay the trap that slew the monster.
In the provinces, the name of Nacho Morales becomes synonymous with heroism and ingenuity. He receives notes and telegrams and messages of congratulations and an honorary doctorate from a university in Gudsland. A local bigwig suggests putting Nacho’s face on a stamp, and a hack approaches him to write a biography. Outside a museum in Favelada, a statue of Nacho goes up, idealized, with his hair all wrong and his muletas nowhere in sight, so he looks like a Spartan warrior. A chef invents a soufflé that sags in the middle and names it the Grand Nacho.
A movie goes into production, then a children’s cartoon to be serialized, and an action figure with crutches that turn into guns or fold out to become wings.


And:

The tales they tell their children about the tower change according to the teller and the language. When the story is told in Italian it becomes florid, a tale of excess and color and light, and when it is told in Arabic it assumes a formal grace as if it is myth become real, and when told in Xhosa it becomes a poem sung by iimbongi. And the details change every time, the wolves becoming tigers or snakes, the Torres brothers assuming the shape of demons, horned and scaly.


(Which also excuses the omniscient narrator. It's just another story they're telling us ... are they omniscient in fact? Or reliable? ;)

~ What mars my overall enjoyment is the nagging feeling that nothing much depends on the characters' choices. The great plot resolutions all seem to come from fortunate circumstances. It heaps more helplessness and hopelessness on a condition that doesn't offer lots of hope in the first place.

Or am I being unfair? Would the wolf pack have come to the rescue if the characters hadn't treated it humanely in the very beginning? And how about the denouement?

At any rate, what does depend on the characters' choices are their day-to-day lives. Perhaps this is where the greatest hope lies.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby брръм » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:08 am

Здравейтее :)

Кои от книгите на Човешката да препоръчам, и да изпратя, на човек, който чете всичко друго освен фантастика, защото не я била грабнала?

Мога да задам и уточняващи въпроси. Общо взето, кои са ни най-подходящите книги за тотално незапознат, но и доста готин и деен човек?

Мерси :)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dess » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:11 am

И от мен един уточняващ въпрос: искаш да уважиш предпочитанията на девойката и да НЕ е фантастика, или да я зарибиш по жанра? :) Защото в първия случай се сещам за "Докосвания" на Григор Гачев, а във втория... ще трябва доста да помисля.
Reachin' for the stars... Why wait for one to fall?

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:51 pm

Нефантастика - Докосвания.

Книжни: Ами то почти всичко на Светлинките няма значение в каква фантастична/фентъзи среда е поставено, тя е само фон за отношенията. Краси много харесва Дивна. Това ми излиза при "готин" + "деен".
Аз много харесвам Аурелион 1 и 2. 3 е по-специфичен и наблъскан с герои.
Черният куфар е забавна по своему и не е фантастична.
Кристалите е трилър. (Не искам да правя разбор на всички книги...)
"Групата от ада" е забавна.
"Невидена река" не е кой знае колко фантастична.

Електронни: more.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:31 pm

Има хора, които се опиват от катаклизмени истории и злото. Някои от тях и други - от съвремието и новата литература, която по default ме отблъсква, щото се рови във видимото ежедневие и неща, които не изпитвам необходимост да чета, понеже тънем в тях.
Получих този линк към разказ. Не ми е приятно да чета по сайтове, и то с реклами, но го попрехвърлих.
"Зората на боговете" – Димитър Димитров
И накрая казах:
– Малко е безрадостно.
– Някой да е обещал радост? 8-)
– Само казвам.

На важни ли се правим с тази ДОСАДНА иконка, не знам, но аз безрадостни неща не обичам да чета. Затова чета детска литература.
Чудя се за какво ми е пратен този линк. Обикновено съобразявам какво пращам с аудиторията. И не пращам неща само защото ги намирам за яки, а защото могат да се харесат на човека. И принципно гледам да не пращам неприятни неща. (И... елементарни.) Освен че хората имат различен праг на търпимост за неприятното. Аз, като бая паметлива попивателна гъба, имам нисък праг.

Не мога да разбера защо масово се предпочитат разтърсващите и титанични неща. И clash of the titans. Катарзис има и в красивото. Грешка, за някои хора именно разтърсващото и грозното е красиво. :x Де да ставаше дума за Палечка и бръмбарите.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:29 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за Women Up to No Good:

A varied--but invariably delightful--collection. It disabused me of the notion that Pat Murphy writes mostly cyberpunk. (Oh ... seems I mistook her for Pat Cadigan.) In fact, I can't peg a prevailing genre here; look at the excerpts below and tell me if you can.

~ Joan from "A Flock of Lawn Flamingos" is a force for change and ... well, see for yourselves:

“I guess Mr. Hoffer got his just deserts.”
“Oh, I suppose,” she said. “But that isn’t really the point.”
I frowned. “What is the point, then?”
She strolled down the sidewalk, still smiling beatifically. The moon was full and it was a lovely autumn evening. “Ripples in a pond,” she said at last. “That’s the point.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ripples, like the ones that spread out when you toss a pebble into a pond. I love watching what happens when you introduce a tiny perturbation into a system. You give a little push here—or there. And somehow, everything adjusts to accommodate that change. But you can’t predict exactly how things will change.” Her smile grew broader. “There’s an element of chaos. I think that’s what appeals to me.”
“I guess that’s what Mr. Hoffer is afraid of,” I said. “Chaos. That’s why you two will never get along. Chaos and order don’t mix. Like oil and water.”
“Not at all,” she said. “You’ve got it all wrong. Mr. Hoffer and I belong together. In fact, we require each other. We’re not like oil and water. We’re more like yin and yang, two sides of the same coin, a cosmic balancing act. The world requires chaos as well as order.”


Actually, she reminds me of Alfred Bester's "Pi Man"--only with a much gentler touch. ;)

~ Some universal advice from "One Odd Shoe":

I kind of figure that Mark’s mother had always told him he was wonderful. He believed her—which was good, because you should believe your mother. Up to a point, anyway. At a certain point, you must put what your mother says aside and think for yourself. She says you can’t possibly break that new colt that bucked off both your brothers—and you try it anyway. She says you can do no wrong and you…well, let’s just say you know better.


This one reminded me of the final song in the last episode of Legion. Brrrrrrr!

(Have you watched Legion? Go watch Legion. Now.)

~ If you're not watching Legion yet, I (am vastly--unspeakably--disappointed ... but) still have a treat for you--from "On the Dark Side of the Station Where the Train Never Stops":

And so, she met the man in the shadows.
A cap like a rag picker, boots like a rancher, a shirt with holes it is better not to discuss—he was one of the shadowborn. No matter what you have heard, they are not all bad, these shadowborn. Not all bad though their minds are a little twisted and their bones are in the wrong places. Sometimes, they are very interesting people.
He had a nice laugh, and many a meeting has been based on no more.
“Hello,” said Lucy to the laughter in the darkness. “My name’s Lucy.”
“I’m Mac,” he said.
“And what’s your excuse for being here?” she asked. He laughed again—an interesting chuckle, more interesting because it held a hint of shadow. “I’m in the business of inventing the past and laying down proof that it really was.”
(Now there’s a secret of the fireborn and the shadowborn. The world is really only a few years old. Some say five years; some say three. It really doesn’t matter that I tell you this. You won’t believe it anyway. People rarely believe important truths.)
“What do you do, Lucy?” he asked.
“I’m a firecatcher on the Starlight Run,” she said, and it sounded very important when she said it. Well, firecatcher is an important job, I suppose. Someone has to catch the light of distant stars and guide it down to Earth. But really, the Solar Run and the Lunar Ricochet Run (with the tricky reflection) are more important to folks on Earth. The Starlight Run is simply longer and lonelier.


There's something here (something inside those brackets) that is probably key (and a key) to reading the whole collection. Let's see, shall we?

~ The MC of "Love and Sex among the Invertebrates" asks the perennial questions:

When I was in seventh grade, all the girls had to watch (...) a film called Becoming a Woman. The film talked about puberty and menstruation. The accompanying pictures showed the outline of a young girl. As the film progressed, she changed into a woman, developing breasts. The animation showed her uterus as it grew a lining, then shed it, then grew another. I remember watching with awe as the pictures showed the ovaries releasing an egg that united with a sperm, and then lodged in the uterus and grew into a baby.
The film must have delicately skirted any discussion of the source of the sperm, because I remember asking my mother where the sperm came from and how it got inside the woman. The question made her very uncomfortable. She muttered something about a man and woman being in love—as if love were somehow all that was needed for the sperm to find its way into the woman’s body.
After that discussion, it seems to me that I was always a little confused about love and sex—even after I learned about the mechanics of sex and what goes where. The penis slips neatly into the vagina—but where does the love come in? Where does biology leave off and the higher emotions begin?


~ Heehee, "The Eradication of Romantic Love" sends greetings to my more romantically inclined friends:

Courton herself seems to have been particularly susceptible to the RLS [Romantic Love Syndrome] virus. Her diaries from high school and college recounted a series of “infatuations.” In one high school diary entry, she vividly described symptoms typical of RLS: “I just can’t stand it. Every day, I walk past his house on my way to school. It’s a block out of my way, but I just can’t stop myself. Just being so close to the place he lives makes me wild. My heart starts pounding faster. My face gets hot, and I feel like I’ve got a fever. I can’t seem to get any air. He’s never come out when I’m walking by, but I always think that he might—and that makes me feel crazy, like maybe I should run away or maybe I should run into his arms. In geometry class, he sits behind me—two rows over and one row back. I always know he’s there. I can feel him. I know the squeaking of his desk chair when he moves. I can hear his pencil scratching on the paper, and I can’t concentrate. My hands are always sweaty and my head is swimming. Maybe I’m coming down with something.”
Though Courton’s symptoms may seem extreme to the modern reader, comparison with popular literature of the time (most notably romance novels and stories) indicate that such reactions to RLS were quite typical. (...)
In many ways, the RLS virus was similar to the well-known herpes simplex virus. Noting this similarity, Courton devised a modified version of the blood test for herpes. This simple blood test allowed Courton to measure the level of RLS-specific antibodies in an individual’s blood, thus providing an indirect measure of viral activity.
In Courton’s lab notebook, a simple line graph displays the activity of the RLS virus in her own body over time. Along the x-axis, in her tiny, precise handwriting, Courton noted events in her life. “RH begins work,” one notation read. (Researchers believe that the initials RH stood for Robert Hartley, a graduate student who shared the lab with Courton.) The notation “Date with RH” coincides with a sharp increase in viral activity. Activity reaches a high point and plateaus over the following month, a period marked by a series of notations: “Second date,” “Sex,” “Break-up.” After the notation “Break-up” the virus becomes dormant once again. On the page facing the graph, Courton wrote: “Periods of viral activity are always accompanied by extremes of mood—great happiness or great depression.”


Both stories in the Love and Sex section seem to be about, not so much being in love, but being lost. That, I admit, made me sad.

~ "South of Oregon City" is both wild and tender. A genuine, unexpected feat.

~ "The True Story" provides a much-needed deconstruction of traditional fairy tales. Before it (plus some conversations I had with my partner about the general absence of mothers in Disney movies), I hadn't considered carefully the parts that women play in those tales. It's sad and even scary. :(

~ An insight from "Exploding, Like Fireworks":

He wore old-fashioned eyeglasses, though he certainly could have had his vision surgically corrected or, at the very least, been fitted with corrective contacts. I had asked him about his glasses during one of his poetry seminars and he said he liked the way that the lenses collected dust and grime. Periodically, he had to clean them, and that reminded him of the limitations of perception. “We are always seeing the world through filters,” he said. “But it’s easy to forget that. These…” He tapped his gold-framed glasses. “…remind me.”


~ "Recycling Strategies for the Inner City" somewhat reminded me of Theodore Sturgeon's "A Saucer of Loneliness," only more subdued and disturbing (because we don't know how disturbed the MC is). Although I'll board a "spaceship like a horse" any day. (Then again, you don't know how disturbed I am. ;)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:44 pm

Кибеа много са дръпнали напред! С детски книги! :shock:
Подозирам, че сега в България положението с книгите за деца е в пъти по-добро, отколкото с книгите за дъртаците...
Може би за всички е рог на изобилието, но детските книги май са по-добри и сякаш е вложена повече мисъл, щото джаста-праста за детска книга не върви. Или поне с такова впечатление оставам от сайта на Кибеа.

Скрит текст: покажи
Който не знам защо отляво няма никакво поленце миличкият :lol:

На 13 ян., пон., от 18 ч. в Чешкия център ще бъдат представени две книжки за робота Чапек :D от български творци
http://sofia.czechcentres.cz/program/tr ... ra-denkova, демек "и ний сме дали нещо на света", след като е дал и Чапек.
https://kibea.net/book/2692
Оттам разцъках сайта на Кибеа и се впечатлих. Имената на героите малко, мъничко ме притесняват, щото по времето на Петър Станимиров особено български и специфично измислени са ги слагали – като Пафуй Сянката. Дори аз не съм свикнала с такива неща, понеже "Дъга" е подминала детството ми.

В книгите за Мортина (друга и небългарска поредица) има още повече такива имена, по-точно буквално преведени, с което също трябва да се свикне.
https://kibea.net/book/2764
Иначе авторката май е заимствала идеята от филма Coco за мексиканските пъстротии, дето починалият не бива да бъде забравен. Излизат по едно и също време.

Вече имам карта 365, така че мога да ходя до борса "Болид" за съкровища, ако на някого нещо му трябва, щото 30% са си 30%!

"На майтап" – ама толкова е хубаво човек да се изразява... "старомодно" и нормално https://kibea.net/gifts.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:11 pm

"Жанет 45" май издават повечето книги, които ме вълнуват :lol: животосъпътстващо.
Нали си следвам интуицията, не можах да си тръгна, без да спася от намалените поочукани книги и тая:
https://books.janet45.com/books/335"Да не бе чудо ставало, не би сa песен пеяла" от Рада Славинска – приказки, които написала, щото на 40 осъзнала, че никой вече не ѝ разказва като едно време.
Удивителното в тази книга е усещането за липса на авторска намеса. Текстовете звучат автентично, независимо че такива български народни приказки няма. Книгата ще впечатли както шест, така и шестдесет и шест годишните, защото в нея има непреходни за българина истини, поднесени по увлекателен и непретенциозен начин.

Неприятно е, когато четеш приказка, дето... усещаш, че не е (народна) приказка. Напъни някакви. Нейните приказки обаче са много хубави. Е, има го леко психологизма, но не е чак като при Мадлен Алгафари. Не обичам приказки, които хем усилено, хем алегорично/подмолно :evil: ми казват нещо. И едни такива детски рисунки.
Илюстрациите в кази книга не са ми баш по вкуса, по-точно лицата, ама се ядва. Голям формат е и бая си личат. Имам чувството, че Димитър Воденичаров не може да изобрази как хората (не) се гледат, ами са едни такива некоординирани празни погледи в нищото :| Същи статуи.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:35 am

My review of Count to a Trillion:

The text is densely packed with ideas, scientific concepts, and rare words of various registers. Reading often felt like wading through a jungle; I probably didn't choose the best time for this expedition.

Some memorable moments:

~ So, certain things have changed in the future, while others have not:

His brother Hector showed him the secret plot-twist on level sixteen to unlock the adult portions of the script, so Menelaus could watch the future women prancing in their underwear. Solving the encryption was no problem for Menelaus: all the public keys were products of two hundred-decimal prime numbers, which Menelaus could factor in his head.


... But maybe nothing much has actually changed. At first I thought all future kids could do this kind of math feats. However, it emerges that Menelaus is a whiz of a special caliber. Well ... at least his curiosity is in the right place. :P

Oh, and later on, it gets funnier when his mom says, "I would be more inclined to credit your uncharacteristic interest in the classics [i.e. Shakespeare], were there not a program here for reproportioning Ophelia. Are we taking up the study of anatomy?"

~ Serious SF should teach us serious science:

Painted on the ceiling were other images. Ships in space were exchanging directed-energy fire, shown here as fanciful threads of gold wire. No beams would be actually visible in real vacuum, of course. And the burning ships were drawn with yellow fire flowers with red petals, long licking tongues. The artist had obviously never seen a fire in zero-gee, which looked like a ball of half-invisible indigo gas, because in microgravity the hottest part of the flame tended to spread outward evenly in all directions, as a sphere, or rush along ruptured oxygen lines. The teardrop shape of candle flame was something gravity produced.


(As opposed to, well, pretty much any scifi flick.)

~ An important moment (and the inspiration for the title):

“(...) Please move briskly. Time is short.”
“Short!” snorted Montrose. “Eighty centuries! What do you consider a long time?”
“A man might not have the patience to count to a trillion,” answered Del Azarchel coldly, “but the number is real whether he counts it or not. A man might not think he will live to see the future. But it will come, with him, or without him, by his effort, or by the effort of others. I am asking you to report to the Conclave not as a penalty, but as an honor, that you might be one of those men who will shape the future and make it come as it ought.”


~ Some sound advice on dynastic marriages:

“You care for her? Then you care for her people, for they are hers and she is theirs. To be royalty is to keep the people happy, to keep all parts of the world in balance, nobles and merchants, military and clergy, workers and shopkeepers. Royalty is mystique in the mind of people. It is magic. To be a princess, it is to stare at the snake and force the snake not to strike. Yes? Yes. Do not break the spell.”
Montrose scowled. “I don’t cotton to wearing that damn suit. Traitors wear it. I ain’t one of them.”
“Cotton is what?”
“I mean I don’t take to it.”
“Is not for you to take, yes? Copernicus changed the world. After him, Man was not center of all things. You, you are still in world before Copernicus. You think the sun revolves around you. No? No. You revolve around sun. She is the sun; you are not the only one who orbits her. You have married all of her. Whole solar system, not just sunshine.”


~ Up until the last but one chapter, "The Concubine Vector," I didn't think I'd go on reading the rest of the series. The MC seems annoying more often than amusing, and the overall strutting and saber-rattling reeks of stag parties (never mind more grown-up humans).

But then Rania introduced some warmth and empathy--and also revealed the real stakes of the story. Now I'm willing to see where she'll take the future.
Last edited by Кал on Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: осъвременявам

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:04 am

Емил Андреев - "Проклятието на жабата"...
Освен че по такъв начин си представям да изглежда Симеон Горов на стари години...

Ъм... тая книга е безумна. Още съм в потрес и не баш от жабите, не толкоз и от секса вътре, щото все пак съм чела Dahl-овия Uncle Oswald, за една нощ, попрелистила съм и "Любовника на лейди Чатърли" (DHL). Така целокупно от всичко съм потресена. Тая книга, издадена 2006 г., от години ме преследва от витрините, та чак сега стана ясно какво прави тая жаба там на корицата. Разбира се, аз не съм такава жаба (аз съм дървесна, а не земна жаба), но няма как да не ми е прекалено натрапчиво.
И тази книга я попрелистих за една нощ, м. му, не се грижа за здравето си, a beauty sleep дори не мога да си представя какво е... Прескачах соц описанията, също и брътвежите на някои герои, а във втората част – повечето описания на (без)п(л)ътния живот на младия гений класически музикант.
Лоша книга не бих я нарекла, има някои доста добри и трогателни попадения, но... се чувствам парализирана. Макар че ме наведе на доста размисли. Май определено минорни.

Трябва да се върна към "Приказки отвъд мъглите", Ана Стефанова. Леко трудно им свикнах на изказа и подозрението, че нещо се опитват да казват на читателя не просто като приказка, но после тръгна по-гладко и са и приятни.

"Пухкава приказка", Даниела Соколова определено не ми допада обаче. Миличко е, но... не моят тип миличко.
От първия ред ми е почти дидактична. Е, много по-добро четиво е от Жабата, но... пък не разбирам какво значи облачето да е момиченце принцеса и да е влюбено във ветровете. Или в един конкретен вятър. Много ми е съмнителна тая работа.
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:26 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за The Hermetic Millennia:

Like the previous book, this one abounds with complex ideas and vocabulary. Eventually, I started skipping the more technical parts--and found myself enjoying the variety of clashing and complementing worldviews. The MC, thanks to showing some vulnerability, is gradually getting more likable too.

More impressions:

~ The beginning was slow and overladen with descriptions ... until I got to "The Warlock of Williamsburg."

It starts innocuous enough:

“(...) Surely the tents record all conversations.”
“Yup. What would you like me to have the record say? I can do visuals and audio. I could record that orgy with the Nymph ladies you was talking about earlier, except then the Blues would wonder how you managed to fit seventy virgins in a tent this size.”
“Your power is such?”
“My know-how is such.”
“Knowledge is power,” said Mickey (...). “Can you teach me the spell?”
“How good are you at differential calculus using analytical logic notation?”
“Ah … I know enough geometry to cast a horoscope, and can calculate the motion of the same and the motion of the other of the wandering star Venus on her epicycles using hexadecimals. I know how to consult an arithmetic table.”
“Hm. Do you know what a zero is? Or algebra?”
“These are forgotten concepts, invented by the Christians, whom we curse.”
“I think the Mohammedans invented the zero. Or was it the Hindus?”
“Bah! All forms of monotheism the Witch race despises with the Unforgettable Hate.”


And then:

“(...) I am a Magus, a master of the most hidden powers, and I live for the Threefold Way: to look at darkness, hear the silence, and name the nameless. Even a godling cannot give me this.”
“Damn straight, because I ain’t got the teensiest notion what you just said. And I told you I ain’t no god. I don’t even say ‘thou’ or ‘verily’ or not no scrap like that. My mother’d done take a bar of lye soap to your mouth, she heard you talk all blasphemous! And tan your hide with a strap—except seeing as you’re tan enough as it is, she might not.”
Mickey had a big laugh, deep and bass and full of joy. “Strange and wondrous! To think the little gods fear their mother goddesses! Truly the Feminine Principle is paramount in all things!”
“Damn straight, the female principle is paramount. That’s why Life is a Bitch. (...)”


And then:

“What about the larger ship? The helicopter?”
“Also built by my people. She is an air-ironclad called Albatross, used by my ancestors to hunt down the remnants of the Sylphs and Demonstrate them. The iron hull was resistant to hunger silk.”
“Demonstrate?”
“With nerve toxins or radioactive chemtrails. My people are pacifists, and not allowed to employs soldiers, but the Coven Law allows for peaceful mass demonstrations by activists. The Demonstrator flying machines were the only things left over from the days of Steel and Smoke, the technology days, that still worked. The totemic markings on the wings allay the anger of the sky-beings, for using internal combustion engines and marring the blue sky with black smoke. Such machines would be very carefully preserved. All this happened long before my time, but Witches are scrupulous about keeping our lore correct, and we neither flatter our ancestors nor condemn. It is one of the blessings of Gandalf, that our memories are as long as our shadows.”
“Or, in your case, as wide. Wait. Did you just say Gandalf?”
“He is the founder of our order, and the first of the Five Warlocks. He comes from afar across the Western Ocean, from Easter Island, or perhaps from Japan.”
“No, I think he comes from the mind of a story writer. An old-fashioned Roman Catholic from the days just before First Space Age. Unless I am confusing him with the guy who wrote about Talking Animal Land? With the Cowardly Lion who gets killed by a Wicked White Witch? I never read the text, I watched the comic.”
“Oh, you err so! The Witches, we have preserved this lore since the time of the Fall of the Giants, whom we overthrew and destroyed. The tale is this: C. S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke were led by the Indian Maiden Sacagawea to the Pacific Ocean and back, stealing the land from the Red Man and selling them blankets impregnated with smallpox. It was called the Lewis and Clarke Expedition. When they reached the Pacific, they set out in the Dawn Treader to find the sea route to India, where the sacred river Alph runs through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea. They came to the Last Island, called Ramandu or Selidor, where the World Serpent guards the gateway to the Land of the Dead, and there they found Gandalf, returned alive from the underworld, and stripped of all his powers. He came again to mortal lands in North America to teach the Simon Families. The Chronicle is a symbolic retelling of their journey. It is one of our Holy Books.”


And then:

“All Christians must perish! Such is our code.”
“Your code is miscoded.”
“What of the Unforgettable Hate?”
“Forget about it.”
“Ah! The Witches are a pragmatic race,” said Mickey in a tone of grandiose modesty. “Toleration is our cardinal virtue, second only to our scientific rationality.”
Menelaus raised an eyebrow. “You guys call yourselves scientific?”
“Of course,” said Mickey. “Enemies of science are cursed by the Crones.”
“The ones who paint fright masks on biplane wings to create lift? Those Crones?”
“Don’t be silly,” said Mickey. “Lift is created by the Bernoulli principle: wing curvature magically creates a partial vacuum which the goddess Nature abhors, and so she lifts the windcraft upward to occlude the void in compensation. The Witch-marks are inscribed not to create lift, but to avert malediction according to the law of sympathy and contagion. It is based on an entirely different principle of the occult sciences.”
“And you believe this because you’ll be cursed if you don’t?”
Mickey looked at him with a level-eyed judicious look. “You have told me that you and your enemies can make it fated for nations, tribes, and peoples to rise and fall, meet victory or defeat, expansion or extinction, by means of mathematical hieroglyphs and incantations you found written on a dead moon circling an impossible star in the constellation of the Centaur? And you ask me to doubt something as obvious and elementary as a curse? Everyone utters curses. You utter curses.”
“God damn it, I do not!”


And also:

“(...) I gave my word of honor that everyone who enters here weren’t not ain’t never going to be dug up by greedy later generations, or curious, or nothing.”
“You must excuse me, great and august Godling, but your double and triple and quadruple negatives confound me. When you say ‘not ain’t never’—does this mean it won’t not be done, therefore it will be done, or that it won’t be done? Or is this a mystery of the gods it will blast a mortal’s brain to know?”
“Nope, you need a brain for that, so you’re right safe. Will you shut up and start talking sense?”
“At the same time? Even my deep powers quail, Divine One.”


... Whew. I wish Wright employed his comedic talent more often.

~ A sample of the intercultural exchanges between varieties of humankind from various millennia:

Yuen said, “You are an unwed girl?”
Fatin, who was probably (despite her looks) considerably older than Yuen, narrowed her eyes at him. “I am pre–sexually active, yes. We have dispensed with marriage customs. We regard the word ‘girl’ as a deadly insult. You must say ‘living organism each with his or her or its place in the ecologic web not superior to any other.’”
“You are an unwed organism no better than a bug?” Yuen said, “And yet you command the Witches?”


(I like how Witches have rejected speciesism. ;)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:30 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за The Judge of Ages:

There was a gruesomely violent part near the middle (so nudity is evil and sullies the soul, but gore is totally fine, eh?). Yet the surprising and optimistic ending made up for it--as well as the nagging feeling that the MC is constantly lecturing us the readers. Where, oh, where is this going?

Favorite moments:

~ Some rumination on pop art, from the very distant future:

“You know about the Crusades? No, don’t tell me…”
“Of course. Strange Tales of the Street number 86 was Curse of the Treasure of the Templars, and one of the undead Professor Necromant raised from the Tombs of the Ages was a Crusader—a Red Cross Knight, in service to Richard the Lionheart during the King’s Crusade.”
“Huhn. You really can learn useful stuff from kiddie yarns. Maybe learn everything you need.”
“Professor Necromant also raised a zombie triceratops, an amphibious mer-vampire samurai cyberassassin from Atlantis named Glaucon, and a dog-eating Witch named Melech Chemosh Shemyaza the Nagual. Hey! Do you think this is the very tomb the Professor used?”
“Uh, yeah. Forget what I said about kiddie yarns being useful. (...)”


~ The future's full of wonders:

“My turn. My question is for Soorm. How is it you can see us? How is it that the nerve-seeking mites slipped by the Blue Men into our food did not work on your nervous system?”
Soorm said, “Lovely lady, they did work! That is, they worked on the spare nervous system I keep in my body as a fake. I have two spares. They are only connected to enough organs—spare organs—so that invasives trying to sly-up my cell life will think they succeeded. My real nervous system is hardened and molecularly double-encrypted. Even I do not know which organ contains my real brain; that way no one can trick the location out of me. (...)”


~ The clash of cultures carries on:

Indeed, Vulpina had demanded, and Keirthlin had expressed a desire, to be allowed to act as witnesses to the gunfight, but Menelaus Montrose told Keirthlin that women who see such things have a darkness that comes over their soul and does not depart, a thing that makes them less able or willing to be softhearted, wifely, or maternal.
Keirthlin replied that it was not necessarily the case that witnessing such cold and deliberate violence influenced the psychology for the worse. Coming to the aid of her argument, Vulpina bragged that she herself had seen such things on the playground nearly every day of her life, and twice on Dueling Day; and it had not affected her fertility, or the ability of the Eugenic Board to send a stud to beat her into submission in preparation for the mating assault.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:03 pm

Отзив в Goodreads за The Architect of Aeons:

Wow, is the scale of this story cosmic. As far as I remember, the Golden Age trilogy had a similar time scale--but the distances and evolutionary changes and science advances covered here are staggering.

The downside is that characters (except for the two main rivals and driving forces) don't get enough pages to develop properly. The sweep of history doesn't wait for anyone to show their true depth, at least not in this volume. I miss Mickey the Witch. :(

Favorite moments:

~ The duel between Montrose and Del Azarchel is funniest when it descends to linguistics:

Montrose said, “Listen, lady. We was invited to your nice, cold, messed-up poxilicious world here because your local cliometric mugwumps want us to stop mucking with your history, right? So you want me and Blackie to suck lip and make nicey-nice, right?”
She nodded pensively. “That is not precisely the way I’d phrase it—”
“No,” murmured Del Azarchel. “You would use real words.”


Or:

Del Azarchel turned from him, raised his head, and spread his arms as if addressing a large assembly (which, of course, he had done many times in his life). His voice rang out like a trumpet of gold, pitched precisely to fill the chamber, syllables timed so that echoes would not obscure his words:
“Most great and noble, elevated and esteemed Mother Selene of the Order of the Discalced Friars of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, by your kind leave, the Judge of Ages, the highly evolved Menelaus Montrose, and our royal self, Nobilissimus and Senior Officer of the Hermetic Order of the Irenic Ecumenical Conclave of Man give you greetings and salutations and express our humble thanks for having been invited into your gracious hospitality. If you would see fit to address us, our gratitude would be magnanimous!”
Only silence answered.
“Wow,” said Montrose in a flat and nasal voice. “That were so much better than my saying yoo-hoo. Ninety words to my nine, so that’s one order of magnitude less efficient, but yet somehow-r-’nother you got the same result, most exactly.”
“Nine? You surely are not counting ain’t you as one word?”
“Aintit?”


~ In all three previous books, I don't think I've ever shown the scope of the stakes. Here's a glimpse:

“What is your point?”
“The cosmos does not match what the Monument describes.”
“Come again?”
“Things are not where they should be if the laws of nature are as they should be and everything were evolving as nature directs. There should be fewer novas, far fewer supernovae. And those supernovae should be found grouped together, as one triggers the next. There should be no pulsars at all, no quasars. There are too many spiral galaxies for natural processes to account for. There should be no Great Attractor in the Virgo Supercluster, none of these long threadlike strands of superclusters, woven of clusters of galaxies, reaching in long bridges across the macrocosmic void. What if…”
As Del Azarchel spoke, he also opened his files for Montrose to inspect. Montrose said nothing, letting the figures and logic symbols dance in their grave waltz through the several layers of his mind.
Come to think of it, had he not himself been noticing the odd violence among the stars? Had he not had a hunch that the star furnaces in Carina or the galactic collisions beyond Alphecca were the handiwork of titans?


(It's not that simple, of course. :D However, the rest of this dialogue is a severe spoiler, so I'm leaving it out.)

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