Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

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tmcfulton
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby tmcfulton » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:53 am UTC

GeorgeYoung wrote:
tmcfulton wrote:We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Terrible, terrible book.

Considering your avatar, I think I'll go and read that book now, I heard of it before but now I will go and find it.

The concept was interesting - and I've changed my mind a bit: it was worth a read simply as the predecessor to pretty much all modern dystopian fiction - it was just so poorly-written.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Spinoza » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:32 pm UTC

Catcher in the Rye.

Not only is it badly written with poor character development and a trudging pace, it killed John Lennon. :arrow: :|

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby eekmeep » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

Couldn't stand "The Kite Runner."

I am okay with sadness and pain in books, but I like there to be a little bit of beauty and justice, too.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Spinoza » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:42 am UTC

eekmeep wrote:Couldn't stand "The Kite Runner."

I am okay with sadness and pain in books, but I like there to be a little bit of beauty and justice, too.


:shock: You must really hate the real world, then.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:50 am UTC

There is no beauty in the real world? Really?
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Spinoza » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:01 am UTC

bigglesworth wrote:There is no beauty in the real world? Really?


Ah, sorry, I'm new... I should explain myself.

Of course there is "beauty" in the real world; insofar as we find things in the world beautiful. At the same time, to demand - in the general sense of the word, not to accuse eekmeep of "demanding" anything in any pejorative sense - that life (or fiction for that matter) conform to some personally arbitrated aesthetic standard seems rather condescending. That is, it seems to presume that everyone else OUGHT to find justice or beauty in the world, simply because I do.

In a different direction, I would argue that beauty isn't "in" the world, it's in us. That is, it's a subjective attitude toward the world. So if you don't find The Kite Runner beautiful or just, it could just be that your standard of beauty or justice doesn't encompass the parameters involved in the particular set of events laid out by that story.

I will add that I found the book remarkably beautiful in many ways. You could say that the stark portrayal of reality is beautiful in its ugliness. :wink:

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:04 am UTC

Well said. I agree.

I wouldn't recommend Thomas Pynchon books to those not already slightly mad or to those that retain some innocence.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:58 pm UTC

How about a book I would actively discourage a friend from reading?
The DaVinci Code.
Trite, an unoriginal mash-up of anti catholic stories (and I'm not big on the Church!), bad pacing, horrible dialog, etc. etc. The very fact that so many people loved it is enough to make me worry about it. Nothing truly great can be loved by the semi-literate masses.
And a second on Pynchon. Tried reading Gravity's Rainbow. One misplaced my bookmark by 150 pages. Didn't notice for another 150 pages.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Garm » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:03 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:How about a book I would actively discourage a friend from reading?
The DaVinci Code.
Trite, an unoriginal mash-up of anti catholic stories (and I'm not big on the Church!), bad pacing, horrible dialog, etc. etc. The very fact that so many people loved it is enough to make me worry about it. Nothing truly great can be loved by the semi-literate masses.


Don't forget a basic misunderstanding of what a code really is. The DaVinci Puzzle probably would have been a more accurate title.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Spinoza » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:27 pm UTC

By the by, The Davinci Code was a badly written knockoff of a cult-classic from the 1980s, "Holy Blood & The Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. The furore over that book was a lot bigger than over Dan Browne's fictional nonsense, because HB&THG was marketed (and written) as non-fiction. The authors claimed to have found all kinds of historical manuscripts linking the Priure de Sion to the kingdoms of Europe and ultimately to "the holy grail".

It's an interesting book.

It later came out that much of the "evidence" was forged. :wink: :lol:

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby A.DTheMediocre » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

Anything by Terry Brooks. He keeps writing the same book again and again, with the same characters (only with different names). You could sell Terry Brooks Book Formula - just add uninspired, meandering prose.

Anything by Orwell (for enjoyment, that is). I don't think he's a very good author, and his messages have been so influential that they are nothing revoloutionary (and they're pretty simple messages, on that).

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Killy_mcgee » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

Anything after the first Ender's Game book. I don't want to read 2-3 other books about some other people vaguely related to the original character, nor do I want to hear Ender mope for 2-3 books about how he killed a alien species. Why the hell do you guys even LIKE the later ones is beyond me.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby bennyprofane » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 am UTC

bigglesworth wrote:I wouldn't recommend Thomas Pynchon books to those not already slightly mad or to those that retain some innocence.


Haha, I'd agree. That's why TP is one of my favorite writers ever--I think I'm either partially mad or at the very least quite uninnocent.

I'd agree with the Twilight and Wheel of Time bashing; both of those were terrible slogs. I'd also like to add Ayn Rand's entire canon of literature to the list we've so far concoted, PKD if someone is not in a solid state of mind, and, oddly, most Abe Lincoln biographies. Historians have this weird Lincoln fetish, and most biographies of him do little else but praise him as some sort of Caesar-esque God; they usually ignore those nagging issues of pooping on the US constitution and not really doing anything with the slavery issue but using it as a tool to get the British out of American affairs so they wouldn't help the Confederacy.

Also, CAD in print, or even online. I like people I know to be purveyors of good things rather than tripe. So I usually send them here or somewhere else.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:25 pm UTC

See, I would still recommend Eye of the World (the first Wheel of Time book) to just about anyone.

Granted, I'd tell them to ignore everything that came after it and to just sit back and imagine an awesome story, and that whatever they come up with will have ten times the plot advancement of what really happens... but it's still a good book.

Batman (1989) was a good movie, no matter what they did in Batman & Robin.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby rat4000 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

I seriously disagree on Terry Brooks - sure, the guy just writes the same bookS over and over again, but notice the S. Angel's fire east has nothing in common with Sword of Shannara, for instance.

And I honestly can't understand what's wrong with his prose. There are some moments in his books that are just magical (anything with the Reaper, anything with Rimmer Dall, especially when he was fighting Par, John Ross at the end of Angel's fire east, Allanon fighting the Jachyra, etc.)

Admittedly he's not the best there is, as some of the ideas in his books are simple enough to be banal and as per the already-mentioned lack of originality, but I find his character creation passable if not good, and his prose fantastic. Thing is, I've only read the Wishsong and the Sword in English, and I liked those the least...

What I wouldn't recommend is R. A. Salvatore. That philosophy he's pouring out and that every fourteen-year old should have figured out makes me cringe. Besides, he has something like 3 characters and only changes the names...

Also, after reading Guts, I would not recommend Palahniuk to anyone. If someone wants literature that messed up, they'll find it themselves...

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Chuff » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:52 pm UTC

I hated lost boys, one of Orson Scott Card's non-Ender books. It's so creepy. People might like it if they like pedophilia, but otherwise...
I also hated the Crysallids.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Rhombulus » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:29 am UTC

I would NOT recommend Steven King's Dark Tower series, because that means whoever I recommend it to would get hooked and have to borrow all my books!
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Sal-Paradise » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:46 am UTC

Atlas Shrugged. It's an average novel for the first two-thirds, some one-dimensional characters, but nothing offensive. Then, Rand drops all pretense that this is actually a legitimate novel and decides just to spew her philosophy on the world through the characters.

The "opposition" in the book is portrayed with no redeeming qualities whatsoever either. Usually, villains are at least smart or powerful. Rand just makes them whiners and grifters who have no soul.

Plus, the actual thesis behind the book is terribly flawed, but that's the subject of another post.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby i.t.homp » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:25 am UTC

I am deeply saddened by the lack of support I seem to find for the Sword of Truth series. Though Ihave endured and sometimes agreed with comments about Pillars of Creation and Naked Empire, the series itself I found was inspiring, and in a word, epic. Epic in the conventional sense, Goodkind wrote an epic saga, and in the more common sense, the books were an epic win. This is all IMO so as not to incur the wrath of ST of course:P.

I agree with the bashing of Tale of 2 Cities, and the Wheel of Time series.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:22 am UTC

Sal-Paradise wrote:Atlas ShruggedThe "opposition" in the book is portrayed with no redeeming qualities whatsoever either. Usually, villains are at least smart or powerful. Rand just makes them whiners and grifters who have no soul.


I actually hadn't thought of that until you brought it up, and it's true. The "heroes" of the novel are shown as (mostly) flawless who know just exactly what the world around them needs. I liked the book, but I can definitely see why so many people hate it so much. It's like she's trying to shove all her philosophy down our throat.

I thought about checking out The Fountainhead because I had read that it wasn't as convoluted and more to the point, but so far I'm hating it. One-dimensional characters, too much time spending describing events that lead nowhere, etc.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Spinoza » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:39 am UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:
Sal-Paradise wrote:Atlas ShruggedThe "opposition" in the book is portrayed with no redeeming qualities whatsoever either. Usually, villains are at least smart or powerful. Rand just makes them whiners and grifters who have no soul.


I actually hadn't thought of that until you brought it up, and it's true. The "heroes" of the novel are shown as (mostly) flawless who know just exactly what the world around them needs. I liked the book, but I can definitely see why so many people hate it so much. It's like she's trying to shove all her philosophy down our throat.

I thought about checking out The Fountainhead because I had read that it wasn't as convoluted and more to the point, but so far I'm hating it. One-dimensional characters, too much time spending describing events that lead nowhere, etc.


I don't think this is true at all. Ellsworth Toohey is not just a whiner and a grifter. Peter Keating is not *just* a whiner and a grifter. Nor Gail Wynand. Her philosophical skills were utter shit, but her character development was calculated and purposeful, and quite good, I think. The only reason I can think of to criticize these characters is that perhaps the critic has never met people like that in real life, or is themselves like these characters. :? I have met people like them. They bugged the shit out of me. Hence, I kind of enjoyed her books. :|

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby torrentaddict2012 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

The Watchmen graphic novel, it's alright and I can see why people in 1985 nutted up over it or even why die hard comic book fans to this day pick it up for the 1st time and love it but in my opinion it's not that great.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby SherryCQ » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:27 pm UTC

I wouldn't recommend Twilight because it's disturbingly purple-prose and pretentious. Also, Robert Pattinson is quite correct that Twilight sounds like Stephenie Meyer's self-indulgent fantasies, and we should give her some privacy and NOT READ THEM. Also, the vampires are totally NOT vampires. They don't even have FANGS! WTF is up with that?

I also don't want to recommend Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy, because I don't want anyone to get hooked, borrow my copies, and "forget where they put them" three weeks later.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Kangaroo » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:03 am UTC

Eragon, as it is a cliché written with horrible prose. The plot isn't the best I've read either...

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. It felt like his personal bashing of all people stupid enough to be Christians, especially those daft Catholics. The plot maybe could've be interesting, however, the author's poor prose and badly applied opinions disturb me to great extent.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Trumpkin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:58 pm UTC

And yet Dan Brown claims to be Christian. At least that's what Wikipedia said.

I wouldn't recommend The Communist Manifesto, need I explain?
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:12 pm UTC

...Yes? If nothing else, it's a reminder that those in charge of corporations often have only the profit margin in mind and neglect to take in to account the harm cause by their actions.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Spacemilk » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:See, I would still recommend Eye of the World (the first Wheel of Time book) to just about anyone.

Granted, I'd tell them to ignore everything that came after it and to just sit back and imagine an awesome story, and that whatever they come up with will have ten times the plot advancement of what really happens... but it's still a good book.


I almost had a knee-jerk reaction to your first post, but I agree with this. I read the whole series and I did enjoy myself on the first reading, but now if I want to revisit the story I only read 2-3 books out of the whole series (the first one, the one with the Aiel, and one other one that I'd have to look up to remember). I almost wouldn't recommend reading the first book, as good as it was, because I'm a sucker for wanting to know endings and now that the author died, I'll never get to read his ending. :( Although I seriously doubt he was one book away, based on the pacing issues he had . . .

PAstrychef wrote:The DaVinci Code.
Trite, an unoriginal mash-up of anti catholic stories (and I'm not big on the Church!), bad pacing, horrible dialog, etc. etc. The very fact that so many people loved it is enough to make me worry about it. Nothing truly great can be loved by the semi-literate masses.


Don't forget terrible character development, wild, unexplainable and unexplained, unentertaining conspiracy theories, and the type of story that needs to be one that's hard to put down and is intead one that's hard to pick up. But then, all of his books are like that.

I'm going to get flamed for this but I wouldn't recommend 1984 (found the lead character to be a soggy, boring, spineless sack of crap), A Separate Peace (I think that's the name? Had to read it in high school and wanted to shove every character out of a tree at the end), and the Once and Future King (read like a schizophrenic was writing the story in large chunks at a time, plus I think there are better tellings of the legend out there).
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby Brother Maynard » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:49 pm UTC

I, for one, actually liked a Tale of Two Cities.

As for classics, though, I disliked The Count of Monte Cristo after it became repetitive and tedious. The author fails badly at contriving suspense at the identity of the "mysterious rich man", and much of the plot depends on nonsense and happenstance (case in point: The actions of M. de Villefort's wife were aided by the Count, but the plot depends on her already being half-mad).

Modern books:

Anything by Dan Brown: They're dull and uninspired, with most of them reading as if they're the same book. I also find it hilarious how much Robert Langdon is an author insert, from wardrobe to even mentioning that Langdon taught at Phillips Exeter Academy at one point (Brown was an English teacher there).

The first few Harry Potter books: I read Sorcerer's Stone and found it to be nothing more than juvenile crap. The original introduction to the Dursleys sounds like something from a fairy tale.

Meh, enough for now.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby poprocks and coke » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

The introduction to the Dursley place is like a fairy tale because Harry Potter *is* a fairy tale. It's a kid who goes to wizard school (which is inhabited by ghosts and all kinds of mythical creatures), is friends with a giant who teaches a class on said mythical creatures, and in the end defeats an evil wizard with magic. Throw in a sport played entirely on broomsticks, for God's sakes, and you don't get much more fairy tale than that.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby atimholt » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:51 am UTC

gibberishtwist wrote:Harry Potter. I read the first three when I was 13, and...well, it's pretty bad when a 13-year-old reads a book and goes, "Wow, this is one of the most childish and amateurly-written (I'm making that a word) things I've ever read." Never bothered with the sequels. Yea, I know they're aimed at kids. There's plenty of books aimed at children that at the very least don't insult the intelligence of a child or adult reading it (See: Roald Dahl's books, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, the Wind in the Willows, fuck, even Goodnight Moon was better written than Harry Potter. Tripe, says I).

Also, Moby Dick. Any book that is physically exhausting to try to read...ugh.

p.s. Apologies for the rant; hating Harry Potter for ten years while seemingly everyone shits themselves with glee every time another book or movie comes out has led to a lot of pent-up rage.
p.p.s. Sorry for the secondary rant.


"Well, not everybody likes Harry Potter," I'd say, if you hadn't said you don't like Moby Dick. That's like my second favorite novel after Les Miserables!

Never read this book:
A Whiff of Death, by Isaac Asimov
It's a murder mystery. The victim dies in the first couple pages. For 100-200 pages, the protagonist goes on with his normal, boring, unrelated-to-the-plot life (he's a friggin' college professor!), then the mystery is solved in the last couple pages. It wouldn't even work abridged, the story isn't cohesive. Nothing has to do with anything.
Literally everything else by Asimov (that I've managed to come across, which is a lot, though I've avoided the Lucky Star books) is totally awesomazing, guaranteed brain food and entertainment. He honed his craft well, but must have kept the scrapings aside for this one.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby echoingsilence » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:31 pm UTC

I completely agree about Harry Potter. The really sad thing is I happen to have the entire series, because my relative assume that liking to read automatically means I like Harry Potter. Which I didn't like as a kid, and certainly don't like now.

The worst book I ever read was 'The Prophecy of the Stones', in middle school (I don't remember the author). Back then, I would read literally a book a day, so eventually I ran out of good books in the library. I honestly think this has the worst plot in all of existence. In the end, the 3 main charachters have to open a wall so the opressed people can run away into the magical land of rainbows and happiness. Oh, and one of the girls had this awful, pages long soliloquy on her deathbed to some guy she met a day ago or something. It was excruciating
Last edited by echoingsilence on Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:49 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby kinigget » Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:38 pm UTC

I would not recommend Paul Zinfandel, of "the Pigman" fame. I don't know if that was his first book, but I do know that every single one of his books follows the exact same formula, just with a different setting and very subtly different characters. It doesn't help that it's not a very good formula to begin with.
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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby zombiefeynman » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:13 pm UTC

I would not recommend Fail Safe. It was the first non sci-fi/fantasy fiction book I'd read outside of school requirements in a long time, and it was okay. It tracked (with annoying ludditery) how a mechanical failure in D.C. sent off a crew of valient men to nuke Moscow, blah blah hot line blah blah Kremlin, blah blah Russians defeat all but one of the bombers As the last of the bombers approaches Moscow, an agreement is reached.
Spoiler:
America nukes New York to make it fair.

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Re: Books you wouldn't recommend to a friend

Postby atimholt » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:35 am UTC

The movie of that is actually pretty good. And you've got to realize that the cliche plot is cliche mostly because "Dr. Strangelove" came out about the same time, which was based on a similar novel called "Red Alert," which had a plot so close to "Failsafe" that there was a lawsuit, settled out of court.
Okay. let's maybe call it an archetypal plot. It hadn't been done to death at the time, but it had been done.
Maybe I should just read the book. Or not, based on your disrecommendation.

Anyways, I'd forgotten about the trash that was the "Nightfall" novel, cowritten by Asimov and some-other-famous-SF-writer-guy,-I-think. The badguys win at the end by persuading the protagonists that they're right through philosophical argument, and the tone and such makes it abundantly clear that this is supposed to be a happy ending, that we're supposed to agree.
The first half is nothing more or less than Asimov's classic short story, with gross plot padding. Then, after the unique apocalypse which is centerpiece to the short, every protagonist just happens to be among the statistically few who escape the darkness without going mad. Needless to say, this utterly obliterates the whole oh-gosh,-this-really-is-the-end,-isn't-it feeling that made the story what it was. Given that it took something like 30 years for Asimov's publishers to convince him to continue the Foundation series after the original trilogy, It's surprising he'd be so willing to thrash his best known short story.
If you haven't read the short, you should.
Totally random totally awesome SF quote:
Jorane Sutt put the tips of carefully-manicured fingers together and said, "It's something of a puzzle. In fact--and this is in the strictest confidence--it may be another one of Hari Seldon's crises."


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