Books fleeting thoughts

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Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:48 pm UTC

Apparently it's the 37th anniversary of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and Google did a charming doodle for it. I was happy to find it included scenes from the latter half of the book, the one not described in the movie. It's a fantastic book, and I recommend everyone to read it, whether you're young or old, and having seen the movie or not.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:18 pm UTC

Can you even define the latter half of that which never ends? ;)



My fleeting thought is that it seems (from what was said at the weekend) that the Discworld is on a confirmed hiatus. Novel-wise.

The current executors of the Pratchett estate are carefully and slowly developing existing stories for visual media, but are (for the foreseeable future) not entertaining any post PTerry novels (e.g. by daughter Rhianna, amanuensis Rob or even 'guest' authors like has happened with the Ian Flemming estate). More than this, an apparently 'sole copy' very incomplete manuscript was actually shredded in publuc after some tantilising reading by Rob.

So no possibility of Raising Taxes, Running Water or Scouting For Trolls, amongst others, on the horizon.

Mixed feelings about this. I had thought Rhianna, at least, might have been able to do justice (her capability with screenplays and doubtless osmotic immersion), but then again is it worth it to flog a dead horse? Or, in this case, author. Could be good, and true to the spirit, but I'm not sure I quite 'got' the post-Asimov continuation of the Foundation series, etc...


(Did a quick check, surprised that there was no prior Fleeting Thoughts thread here, so I thought I'd support this newly-created one. Also my information does not really fit into the Best And Worse Discworld Thread, although I covered beyond-book Pratchettania in the Film/TV subforum earlier today. Mods are free to intervene if they know better, naturally.)

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

I don't necessarily want it to be extended. I would be very worried about any future books being written mostly to make more money and not necessarily because there's something great to do with the world.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:49 pm UTC

Openly, at least, the vast riches so far accumulated by the literary efforts of Sir Terence, OBE, are significantly flowing into charitable causes, and into the likes of Narrativia (not likely to be a cash cow, but does certainly act to prevent the traditional others from squeezing his works, individually, through their own cash dairy farms). I would be sympathetic to an estate-approved continuation of his world.

(This is what "The Watch" was originally described as. A.K.A. "CSI: Ankh-Morpork", four years back whilst Terry was still around to be happy or otherwise with the format. From the way I understand the revision has proceeded (i.e. "So how do we even tell Vimes's story?"/<Rest of room turns and looks, as one, to the stack of extant books sitting at the end of the meeting table>) it might now be a direct faithful-ish conversion rather than a "The Backroom Guys"-type thing in the book-flavoured setting.)

But, as I said, I didn't much like the post-Asimov Asimovs, and I haven't really seen much of the post-Flemming 007 novels (I'm only sure that I've read Icebreaker, and certainly none of the Young Bond ones). I want more 'world', like you, but am wary of it going wrong. Risk averse as I am, I should probably be happy.


(BTW: Currently reading Anne Leckie's "Ancilliary" series, #2/Sword in particular, amongst several other books. Interesting works.)

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby AngrySquirrel » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:23 pm UTC

I think I've spent too much time with book critics and tropes to enjoy books anymore.

When I was a kid I used to get this feeling I have no name for when I read a good story. This sense of excitement and adrenaline that would sweep me away into the story and make me feel it as if it was real. I haven't had that feeling for over 15 years now.

I keep reading. Books that have been recommended by people I know and who know me. Books with good reviews. Books with poor reviews. Books with brilliant premises and books with ridiculous premises. From bizarre fan-fiction to praised and adored works of literature. And I'm just constantly disappointed. The stories feel empty, thin, like gloriously decorated shells promising great things but when you break into them there's just...nothing.

There are still stories that make me laugh. And there are stories I objectively can judge as good and well written. But mostly it's just tropes. And not exciting re-writings of tropes. Just tropes. Nothing new. And I can't get that feeling I used to have when I was younger to come back and that just makes me sad.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Whizbang » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:32 pm UTC

One reason I am afraid to delve too deeply into tvtropes.

BFT: I haven't read a book in months. All my book time is audio-book through Audible or Overdrive. I have a pile of e-books I bought from Amazon just sitting there... burning a hole in my brain.

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby natraj » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:29 pm UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:Tout est dit, et l'on vient trop tard depuis plus de sept mille ans qu'il y a des hommes qui pensent.


i feel very much for you :(
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Kewangji » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:50 am UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:[...]and that just makes me sad.

Pardon me, but this does not sound entirely like it's caused by having more knowledge. It just sounds like depression to me, like how food stops tasting like anything (kind of). I'm sorry you're having this problem though, and I'm sorry to speculate wildly here.

~

Been thinking about the gender ratio of my bookshelves. Overwhelmingly male authors, but I'm slowly evening it out I hope. Most recent female authors include Solnit and Aleksijeitj, whose name is probably anglicised in a different form. But then there's a different problem of how to organise the bookshelves. The spatial metaphors of who's first and who's on top need thinking about. I've placed all my Pratchett books on the row behind, which I think is a metaphor about how they were important during my formative clay years but aren't things I return to.

Do y'all do this type of thing? It's been so long since I had the space to indulge in it.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby AngrySquirrel » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:45 am UTC

Kewangji wrote:
AngrySquirrel wrote:[...]and that just makes me sad.

Pardon me, but this does not sound entirely like it's caused by having more knowledge. It just sounds like depression to me, like how food stops tasting like anything (kind of). I'm sorry you're having this problem though, and I'm sorry to speculate wildly here.

Well, yea, depression is definitely part of it, but only a part.
natraj wrote:
AngrySquirrel wrote:Tout est dit, et l'on vient trop tard depuis plus de sept mille ans qu'il y a des hommes qui pensent.


i feel very much for you :(

It's not that I feel books were better before either. When I was a kid and teenager they were new to me sure. They presented me with new concepts and ideas that still echo through my actions and work, which in itself is quite fascinating to realize and trace back to its origins. But it wasn't like those books were significant "better" than the ones I read now. It's just...I don't know. The problem is me, I think I expect too much and when that fails to deliver it just feels empty.

So yea, I got into this train of thought cause I finally read one of the requested discussion books for the "book" club I'm in. And everyone's squeeing about it and I'm feeling it was mostly mediocre and I'm not looking forward to our next meeting where we'll discuss this and people will be gushing and I'll be there going "it was ok I guess, the author probably reads a lot of manga or watch a lot of anime cause I recognize trope x, y and z and they commonly appear in manga, also this one description really bothered me". You know, being that guy.

Siiigh. I just want to read something that makes me feel more than cheap laughs and superficial annoyance.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Echo244 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:50 am UTC

...maybe a break would help? Just a chance to back off a little bit, and not feel like you're constantly wading through derivative tosh in search of some little gem of innovation, excitement and wonder?

And then... maybe a change of direction? Pick up something you're not generally interested in, non-fiction or something that *will* be different to your normal tastes. See what you can find. Focus on the bits of diamond, rather than the rubbish.

Maybe even give yourself a chance to forget some of the patterns you're tired of seeing. Well, not forget exactly, but... let their impact fade.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby AngrySquirrel » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:34 pm UTC

Echo244 wrote:...maybe a break would help? Just a chance to back off a little bit, and not feel like you're constantly wading through derivative tosh in search of some little gem of innovation, excitement and wonder?

And then... maybe a change of direction? Pick up something you're not generally interested in, non-fiction or something that *will* be different to your normal tastes. See what you can find. Focus on the bits of diamond, rather than the rubbish.

Maybe even give yourself a chance to forget some of the patterns you're tired of seeing. Well, not forget exactly, but... let their impact fade.

That is not an option.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:27 pm UTC

I went through something similar, and really fell out of love with reading for a while. I eventually came back to it by finding writers for whom reading their sentences itself was a joy. Like Amy Hempel. Regardless of the fact that I did end up enjoying her stories, I first fell in love with just the way she writes, and the way she uses words. No idea if that will interest you at all, but it worked out for me (and as a white male, my experience is representative of the rest of humanity).

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby raudorn » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:38 pm UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:From bizarre fan-fiction to praised and adored works of literature. And I'm just constantly disappointed.


I may be picking on the wrong thing, but... how bizarre are we talking here? I'm asking because I noticed with myself that fan-fiction has taken over a role that published works of fiction cannot fulfill properly, because of how bizarre things can get. There's no need to introduce characters, set up a world or try to convince the reader why this fictional universe is interesting. You can start a fanfic in medias res and everything makes perfect sense.

Without all that tropy cruft usually necessary to make a story work, some fanfics manage to immediately get to the core of telling an interesting story (while others are only tropy cruft without a story). So I guess my question is if you have sampled all kinds of fan-fiction and found them all lacking or maybe there could be a certain type that would reignite your passion for written stories?

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby AngrySquirrel » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:42 pm UTC

raudorn wrote:
AngrySquirrel wrote:From bizarre fan-fiction to praised and adored works of literature. And I'm just constantly disappointed.


I may be picking on the wrong thing, but... how bizarre are we talking here? I'm asking because I noticed with myself that fan-fiction has taken over a role that published works of fiction cannot fulfill properly, because of how bizarre things can get. There's no need to introduce characters, set up a world or try to convince the reader why this fictional universe is interesting. You can start a fanfic in medias res and everything makes perfect sense.

Without all that tropy cruft usually necessary to make a story work, some fanfics manage to immediately get to the core of telling an interesting story (while others are only tropy cruft without a story). So I guess my question is if you have sampled all kinds of fan-fiction and found them all lacking or maybe there could be a certain type that would reignite your passion for written stories?

How I read this:
Me: I read a wide variety of books and stories
You: But have you tried reading different stories?

...
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby pogrmman » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:36 pm UTC

I'm reading Pale Fire right now -- it's a great book!

I love how the story in America and of the king's escape are slowly revealed -- it makes for a great read.

Also, I actually liked the poem quite a bit.

I think Nabakov is definitely one of my favorite authors.

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Mambrino » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:12 am UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:It's not that I feel books were better before either. When I was a kid and teenager they were new to me sure. They presented me with new concepts and ideas that still echo through my actions and work, which in itself is quite fascinating to realize and trace back to its origins. But it wasn't like those books were significant "better" than the ones I read now. It's just...I don't know. The problem is me, I think I expect too much and when that fails to deliver it just feels empty.

So yea, I got into this train of thought cause I finally read one of the requested discussion books for the "book" club I'm in. And everyone's squeeing about it and I'm feeling it was mostly mediocre and I'm not looking forward to our next meeting where we'll discuss this and people will be gushing and I'll be there going "it was ok I guess, the author probably reads a lot of manga or watch a lot of anime cause I recognize trope x, y and z and they commonly appear in manga, also this one description really bothered me". You know, being that guy.

Siiigh. I just want to read something that makes me feel more than cheap laughs and superficial annoyance.


I think I recognize something familiar in your description, in that some of the science fiction I used to read lost its appeal when I grew up and started to be more pessimistic about humanity's real prospects to expand to space and outer universe. ("Growing up" just to provide a time frame, not to imply that the optimists just haven't grown up, I admire SpaceX...). Also, reading other more "meta" texts on literature and writing (including TvTropes and detailed reviews of 'high' literature in magazines and critical editions of classics aimed for lit students and stuff like that) also ruined some of the books, especially "for the entertainment" kind of fiction that runs on tropes.

Unfortunately I don't really have that much sure-you-get-you-there cure about how to get rid of that nagging feeling "it's just the same old stuff" and start enjoying books again.

However, I'm going to write some random shit about current reading habits and maybe it'll inspire you, too.

I still enjoy comics (more serious "graphic novel" kind of works). In the good ones, I can always enjoy the interplay between the visual art, the rhythm of the action and movement as depicted, and the story (even if the story is trope-y). Watching the well drawn visual part always a pleasure.

I still have interest in reading the serious literature, especially the classics. The kind of work where author tries to say something about they deemed important. Concentrating on "renowned" works also doubles as history. Even if I'm not impressed or don't get it (the both happen quite often), at least you can read the vast stuff written about the stuff you've just read, and it counts as studying history of literature, if you find that kind perspective interesting. (If you found TvTropes interesting, then maybe?) Plus, then there's always something that surprises you, like, Don Quijote had surprisingly, err, weird poop jokes.

Also, maybe your interests just are not a match with your book club. You could try searching for other literate company. I recently found that the local uni students have weekly book club meeting, and I've found that revitalizing: instead of gushing about anime-influenced fiction, thus far we've had some quite interesting discussion about semi-important 19th century German authors with people who actually study that stuff (plus nobody asked if I even was a student), but this is a perk of living a university town, so I don't know if you have that option.

-

Finally, I see that you could also read my post as you did here:

AngrySquirrel wrote:How I read this:
Me: I read a wide variety of books and stories
You: But have you tried reading different stories?

...


But I'm afraid that that's the best we can do when we are discussing reading books in general. Maybe there's chance for a more fruitful discussion if you talked about which specific works you were disappointed in and how and what else you thought about them?

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby doogly » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:10 pm UTC

Mambrino wrote:[Concentrating on "renowned" works also doubles as history. Even if I'm not impressed or don't get it (the both happen quite often), at least you can read the vast stuff written about the stuff you've just read, and it counts as studying history of literature, if you find that kind perspective interesting.

I really enjoy taking this perspective also on some much older ones. Then the burden is on me to understand just what makes Genji so good. Home girl isn't writing to impress me, but can I get what she's doing? It helps that she is absolutely brilliant. But can I try to capture how this was read by the folks in her life, this is some good exercise.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby poxic » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:29 am UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:I think I've spent too much time with book critics and tropes to enjoy books anymore.

Thought about this today. I think I got to the same place with music: a decade spent taking it apart to see how it works, and now it's like I'm bored of everything as soon as I hear it.

I ended up going to African music as an antidote. I don't know the words (unless they're in English or French), and many countries have styles that don't follow Western musical tropes. Especially fond of Oumou Sangare (I have this album), who I found via the African Angels compilation (one of the kickest-ass songs here. Features Jah Wobble eventually).

No suggestions for getting around literature fatigue, unfortunately, just a slightly-related anecdote.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:17 pm UTC

(late to the party, but...)

With Pratchett, it's the writing that's the magic; not the characters or the setting, which makes it much harder for anyone else to take over. As with Douglas Adams, it's hard to imagine anyone taking over successfully.

Sure, there could be other Discworld stories written, but they wouldn't be the same.

***

As for the issue of seeing books as collections of tropes rather than as magical portals into other worlds, I find myself able to see both, just like I can see both the pixels and the image when I look at my computer monitor.

I recently re-read The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe - and, yes, I can see the thinly veiled Christian allegory peeking through, and the places where Lewis hadn't yet decided things that would be important in other books, and the times something just happens for the sake of the plot, and the parts of the monomyth (though The Silver Chair probably does that best) - but I can also see the magical land I first visited when I was 5, enchanted by an evil sorceress for a hundred years.

I don't pretend to know how to get there, but that's been my solution to "trope vision" - accept it, but don't let it hide the magic of the complete work.

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Ginger » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:20 pm UTC

I wish, I could remember the name of the book... it had a demon they found in the desert that called itself Gorgon something? And it could do curses, turn into lightning... and was following this guy and his lady companion around or something? Anyone know what I'm talking about? I think it was Demogorgon yet I can't remember the author. I... guess... I could Google it yet. I don't wanna. Anyways what I remember about that story was: The demon kept trying to convince the man to give up, to let it catch and corrupt him and his lady friend, and... it made a cult to corrupt everyone. And. At the end I assume it died? Not a very memorable book I must say. My goodness.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:11 pm UTC

I had a thought regarding Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy this morning. I dunno if this is a particularly novel or interesting thought, but I hadn't considered it before.
Given what is known about the powers and capabilities of the Infinite Improbability Drive, is it possible that Magrathea never existed until Zaphod punched it's improbability coordinates into the Heart o' Gold and went there? In other words, Zaphod didn't just find the galactic coordinates of Magrathea (a place that definitely exists) and punch in the improbability factor to get there, he actually entered the improbability factor of Magrathea (the ancient and literally incredible myth) existing in reality at all and the Infinite Improbability Drive made it real.

That would mean that Earth wasn't a supercomputer made to find the ultimate question until this happened either.

I was starting to think it was just a silly idea my sleepy morning-brain came up with, but now I'm remembering all the asides in the books about events causing themselves and other paradoxical happenings. Did the Infinite Improbability Drive set the whole plot in motion? Did Zaphod stealing the Heart o' Gold and activating the Infinite Improbability Drive spontaneously cause the drive to have been invented in the first place and Zaphod to become obsessed with finding (and thus creating) Magrathea?
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:09 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I had a thought regarding Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy this morning. I dunno if this is a particularly novel or interesting thought, but I hadn't considered it before.
Given what is known about the powers and capabilities of the Infinite Improbability Drive, is it possible that Magrathea never existed until Zaphod punched it's improbability coordinates into the Heart o' Gold and went there? In other words, Zaphod didn't just find the galactic coordinates of Magrathea (a place that definitely exists) and punch in the improbability factor to get there, he actually entered the improbability factor of Magrathea (the ancient and literally incredible myth) existing in reality at all and the Infinite Improbability Drive made it real.

That would mean that Earth wasn't a supercomputer made to find the ultimate question until this happened either.

I was starting to think it was just a silly idea my sleepy morning-brain came up with, but now I'm remembering all the asides in the books about events causing themselves and other paradoxical happenings. Did the Infinite Improbability Drive set the whole plot in motion? Did Zaphod stealing the Heart o' Gold and activating the Infinite Improbability Drive spontaneously cause the drive to have been invented in the first place and Zaphod to become obsessed with finding (and thus creating) Magrathea?

Which would also mean that it's Zaphod's fault that Earth got demolished...

Though I think we've already established that it was all the Vogons' fault (through the agency of the Mk II )

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby somitomi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:06 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I had a thought regarding Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy this morning. I dunno if this is a particularly novel or interesting thought, but I hadn't considered it before.
Given what is known about the powers and capabilities of the Infinite Improbability Drive, is it possible that Magrathea never existed until Zaphod punched it's improbability coordinates into the Heart o' Gold and went there? In other words, Zaphod didn't just find the galactic coordinates of Magrathea (a place that definitely exists) and punch in the improbability factor to get there, he actually entered the improbability factor of Magrathea (the ancient and literally incredible myth) existing in reality at all and the Infinite Improbability Drive made it real.

That would mean that Earth wasn't a supercomputer made to find the ultimate question until this happened either.

I was starting to think it was just a silly idea my sleepy morning-brain came up with, but now I'm remembering all the asides in the books about events causing themselves and other paradoxical happenings. Did the Infinite Improbability Drive set the whole plot in motion? Did Zaphod stealing the Heart o' Gold and activating the Infinite Improbability Drive spontaneously cause the drive to have been invented in the first place and Zaphod to become obsessed with finding (and thus creating) Magrathea?

Well, take the first time the Heart of Gold appears in the book, right after Ford and Arthur are thrown out the airlock. The narrator then explains the chances of them being saved by a passing ship before they die is exactly 2267709:1, just as Ford and Arthur are picked up while the ship's computer says "two to the power of two hundred and sixty-seven thousand seven hundred and nine to one against". Or how the Magrathean rockets turn into a whale and a bowl of petunias when Artur turns the infinite impropability drive on. Would this be the case with the guy who rules the universe?
To me it seems to be a really compelling theory.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby heuristically_alone » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:50 pm UTC

What a neat theory! Though wasnt the reason Zaphod was so obsessed of finding Magrathea because of the idea being placed in his mind by (correct me if I remember incorrectly) the mice?
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby somitomi » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:02 am UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:What a neat theory! Though wasnt the reason Zaphod was so obsessed of finding Magrathea because of the idea being placed in his mind by (correct me if I remember incorrectly) the mice?

Didn't Zaphod put the idea into his own mind? I recall a scene where he excitedly tells Ford someone had cut off a part of his brain and the bastard had even left his initials, which were "Z B".
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:30 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:
heuristically_alone wrote:What a neat theory! Though wasnt the reason Zaphod was so obsessed of finding Magrathea because of the idea being placed in his mind by (correct me if I remember incorrectly) the mice?

Didn't Zaphod put the idea into his own mind? I recall a scene where he excitedly tells Ford someone had cut off a part of his brain and the bastard had even left his initials, which were "Z B".


Yeah, Zaphod joined a conspiracy to track down the person actually making the decisions, through an incredibly complicated plan requiring him to become Galactic President and then steal the Heart of Gold. Becoming GP required him to be able to pass brain scans to make sure he was a suitable candidate and not, for example, a conspirator intending to discover who was making all the decisions. So he did some reprogramming of his brains, turning himself into the fun-loving party animal known for outrageous stunts that got elected GP. In the process, he also left some hidden urges to nudge himself along the desired path, and hid his initials in the brains where only Zaphod was likely to discover them (by overlaying both brains' scans and applying a particular filter).

When GP ZB discovered all this, he was a bit put out about this bastard who'd believed so strongly in his mission that he committed a form of suicide to pursue it expected him to actually go through with it.

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby trpmb6 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:28 pm UTC

Amazon currently has The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck available for free audible download right now. This isn't a nihilistic book. It's more of a book about how to manage the stressful aspects in your life. Helping you to identify what is important to worry about and what isn't. The book actually lends itself quite well to an audio book format. It's almost like a motivational speaker - without the boring side effects.

If you feel overwhelmed in life and want a free audiobook for trips to work or while you're on a jog give this a shot.

Be warned, the author can come off a little putoffish at times and the book does not make many references to anything scientific (ie. he doesn't point to many studies if at all about why the things he says work). The reading level is probably a high school level as well, which may contribute to the "putoffishness"/ And if you're a psychology major you'll probably cringe at a lot of it.

That being said the reviews are overwhelmingly supportive of his message.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:29 pm UTC

trpmb6 wrote:Amazon currently has The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck available for free audible download right now.

Be warned, the author can come off a little putoffish at times


Are you saying that the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck is.… a bit disconcerned?

:P

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:51 pm UTC

I know I’m supposed to give a book some time before deciding to chuck it, but this sentence in the first paragraph of Outpost by W.M. Gear just about did me in.
“Donovan (planet on which book is set) rotated in the same direction as Earth, so sunrise was still in the east.”
The amount of wrong in that one sentence is painful.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby speising » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:08 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:I know I’m supposed to give a book some time before deciding to chuck it, but this sentence in the first paragraph of Outpost by W.M. Gear just about did me in.
“Donovan (planet on which book is set) rotated in the same direction as Earth, so sunrise was still in the east.”
The amount of wrong in that one sentence is painful.

why? vacuous truths are still truths.

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:46 pm UTC

Clocks don't strike thirteen. Best and worst of times, simultaneously? If just one person doesn't agree what a fortunate single man must be wanting, then it aint universal! Eighty-four days without catching a fish? Eleventyfirst is not a properly formed ordinal! Nor is a milage a viable measure of time! Did nobody die at all for one whole calendar year?!?

(I know nothing of your book, but it might be a Plot Point or ay least a cultural cue to, what follows.)

Spoiler:
1984; A Tale Of Two Cities; Pride and Prejudice; The Old Man And The Sea; Lord Of The Rings; Inverted World; Speedboat.

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:09 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:I know I’m supposed to give a book some time before deciding to chuck it, but this sentence in the first paragraph of Outpost by W.M. Gear just about did me in.
“Donovan (planet on which book is set) rotated in the same direction as Earth, so sunrise was still in the east.”
The amount of wrong in that one sentence is painful.

I mean if it's a science book, definitely chuck it. Otherwise - it's painful but maybe there isn't much more "science" to it?
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:08 pm UTC

For any random planet that doesn't actually rotate sideways, for whatever reason (like Uranus), after all the various necessary decisions get added together it's 50:50 that the star (that is the sun, though not the Sun) does rise in the East. Or 100% chance if sunrise is chosen to indicate E/W (regardless of polarity of any magnetic field, or lack of it) because of the standard set by Earth.

I've tried to find out more about the book, but being fairly new I'm seeing not much more than jacket-blurb that doesn't discuss anything related to the way such decisions might have been made, like where Polaris is on the stellar sphere, etc, on the offchance that that might even have been directly translatable as a pole-star rather than a standardly 'orbiting' one.

(Basically, I'd read further, and either accept it as an adopted convention or find out why it might have been necessary to have mentioned this little detail in the opener. If the author did it to grab attention ("Call me Ishmael"!) but it doesn't actually turn into a plot point, then by putting you off so early it seems he's committed some error or other, regardless of any (in)accuracies within it.)

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:32 pm UTC

If you don't follow the standard set by Earth then what does your definition of "East" even mean?
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:47 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:If you don't follow the standard set by Earth then what does your definition of "East" even mean?

Get an (Earth-calibrated) compass. If it gives you a North, then East is 90 a quarter turn to the right. Probably 50% likelihood that any planet that isn't terribly tilted (or the magetosphere isn't terribly tilted) that the local sun will rise there. Unless there's a left/right-handed rule that governs which way magnetic north is for a given spin polarity. (Which it doesn't, otherwise we wouldn't have had periodic inversions of it here on Earth, assuming nothing flipped the whole planet over/bounced it back in the opposite orbit like a giant swingball…)

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:04 pm UTC

As far as I know, east is the direction the sun rises in. North is 90 degrees from east. Magnetic north is called magnetic north because the earth’s magnetic field is anchored at the pole.
I guess it’s the idea that the planets rotation-only observable from outer space- is “the same as earths” what does that mean? That it matches the local system plane? I mean, planetary rotation is not the same as axial tilt. None of these relations is static, none of behaves like the cute picture in your fifth grade science book. Even on Venus, the sun will rise in the east. Venus rotates opposite to the earth, but from the surface you can’t tell!
East is the name of the direction from which the sun risies.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:06 pm UTC

This would make sense for magnetic north and magnetic east, but the magnetic poles aren't always aligned as closely with the geographic poles as they are on Earth. Uranus's magnetic axis is inclined by 60 degrees for instance. So then you have one definition of east which is completely unhelpful to figure out where the sun comes to or from and is completely disconnected from the geographic movement of the planet.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:45 pm UTC

Uranus is tilted by 98 degrees (by common convention - you might also say that it's tilted by 82 degrees and spinning backwards) so its magnetic field being 60 degrees off is the least of the irregularities, maybe.

Earth's is tilted 11 degrees, with Earth itself (spinwise) 23°. Maybe there's a tendency for the solar magnetic field to discourage the magnetic dynamic field from being as wobbly as the planet. Though as the glacially-drifting pole-of-magnetism is tied to the Earth as it spins in its daily and yearly manner against the Sun, this obviously means it is 23±11° against the 'standard' vertical.

Probably drifting from the critique of the book, but it isn't a given that you'd use the direction of the rising sun on a planet to identify East. If using any terracentric definition at all, I'd personally take the accepted North/South polarity of magnetic flux and define the orthogonals as Never Eat Shredded Wheat clockwise¹ from that, regardless of the planetary spin against the locally dominant star. If there's no magnetic field, and no nearby one to use as proxy indicator, flip a coin!

¹ A convention that comes from northern-hemisphere sundials, only!

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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:47 pm UTC

So for the third or fourth time this year the plot involved a woman who was abducted as a teen, held captive for years and found sort of by accident. During her captivity she had (at least) one child. At the end of the book, the big reveal is that she helped her captor lure in other girls, who were then killed. So the “perfect victim” ends by complicit in evil deeds.
For some reason this is the theme du jour. All of these books were released such that I doubt the first one influenced the others, they were all being written at the same time.
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Re: Books fleeting thoughts

Postby Raidri » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:49 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:So for the third or fourth time this year the plot involved a woman who was abducted as a teen, held captive for years and found sort of by accident. During her captivity she had (at least) one child. At the end of the book, the big reveal is that she helped her captor lure in other girls, who were then killed. So the “perfect victim” ends by complicit in evil deeds.
For some reason this is the theme du jour. All of these books were released such that I doubt the first one influenced the others, they were all being written at the same time.

Sounds like Room which is from 2010 (and got big again in 2015 with the movie version). Maybe your recent books about this theme go back to Room or some other story as a common ancestor.


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