Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #360 on: April 26, 2020, 02:19:48 AM »
excession

another fantastic book in the culture series. the story centers around the culture's reaction to a so-called "outside context problem":

Quote
The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you'd tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbors were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and you were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass... when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and these guys carrying long funny-looking sticks come ashore and announce you've just been discovered, you're all subjects of the Emperor now, he's keen on presents called tax and these bright-eyed holy men would like a word with your priests.

excession pretty much consists of three concurrent threads: some cloak-and-dagger shit between the hyper-intelligent AI minds that run the culture, some idiot space boomer who loves space nazis, and lore. lots and lots of lore.

i found this to be a much more confusing read than phlebas or player or games. the cloak-and-dagger shit between the minds was sort of hard to follow. but banks is kind enough to provide a summary at the end in the form of blunt-force character exposition.

hella good. 9/10.

the spy who came in from the cold

tbh there's really not a lot i can say about this one without giving away spoilers. if you like slow-burn spyshit that is mostly just a long series of conversations, then you'll really like this. i loved it.

also hella good. 10/10 tbh.
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Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #361 on: June 13, 2020, 10:24:48 PM »
‘The Atom Spy Hoax’
By William A. Reuben
(1955)

Written by a personal friend of the Rosenbergs who organised their international support network, this book does not quite deny that the Soviets had any spies whatsoever, but it comes closer to it than any book I know. It’s as die hard anti-McCarthyism as it gets.

Unfortunately even most of the American left surrenders to these two McCarthy style American writers John Earl Haynes and his colleague Klehr who both write about so-called Venona secrets as proof of Soviet spying viewing any evidence that the Soviet Embassy or USSR had communication whatsoever with any Americans likely constitutes spying or some kind of illegal activity. If I find a writer falls into that line of thinking, then I donate their book to the garbage can.

I actually discovered that Haynes and Klehr describe William Reuben as the equivalent of a holocaust denier. Of course, William Reuben represents the opppsite of that. The the fact that they hate him so much because he doesn’t surrender to their falsehood means that such slander was the best best they could do. There is an old saying that to be insulted by a heretic is a great honour.

I was very pleased to happen across this gem of a book which takes the received wisdom about alleged Soviet evil during the McCarthy era and successfully flushes it down the toilet.

A mid-1980’s interview of the author:

Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #362 on: December 14, 2020, 12:04:57 AM »
I have visited from prestigious research institutions of the highest caliber, to which only our administrator holds with confidence.

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Offline Iceman2020

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #363 on: December 14, 2020, 02:06:29 AM »
john le carre died. damn. rip in peaces.

https://apnews.com/article/international-news-john-le-carre-coronavirus-pandemic-fiction-ec0c3a65f37f4f37dc5be42a243307e9

Damn. He got me in to reading for fun... 13 year old me was all about Le Carré, Follet, Higgins
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #364 on: December 14, 2020, 10:01:20 AM »
Recent reads (with ratings out of five stars):
Stephen E. Ambrose/Douglas G. Brinkley - Rise to Globalism: U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1938 ****
David Black - The Plague Years: A Chronicle of AIDS, the Epidemic of Our Times ****
John Banville - Birchwood **
Francis Wheen - Karl Marx *****

Currently reading:
Norman Stone - Europe Transformed 1878-1919

Also I recently bought myself Jens Malte Fischer's biography of Gustav Mahler as an early birthday present. I was going to read the Stone anyway, but it seems like now is a good opportunity to give myself a better sense of Europe in Mahler's time before moving on to the Fischer.

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Offline Toddler Thork

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #365 on: December 30, 2020, 04:52:31 PM »


Synopsys:

It's difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead...

Steve is madly in love with his eccentric girlfriend, Stacy. Unfortunately, their sex life has been suffering as of late, because Steve is worried about the odd noises that have been coming from Stacy's pubic region. She says that her vagina is haunted. She doesn't think it's that big of a deal. Steve, on the other hand, completely disagrees.

When a living corpse climbs out of her during an awkward night of sex, Stacy learns that her vagina is actually a doorway to another world. She persuades Steve to climb inside of her to explore this strange new place. But once inside, Steve finds it difficult to return... especially once he meets an oddly attractive woman named Fig, who lives within the lonely haunted world between Stacy's legs.



Torn ... should I read it, should I find something better to do with my time?  ???

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunted-Vagina-Carlton-Mellick-III-ebook/dp/B005F645MS
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Offline Roundy

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #366 on: December 30, 2020, 07:00:09 PM »


Synopsys:

It's difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead...

Steve is madly in love with his eccentric girlfriend, Stacy. Unfortunately, their sex life has been suffering as of late, because Steve is worried about the odd noises that have been coming from Stacy's pubic region. She says that her vagina is haunted. She doesn't think it's that big of a deal. Steve, on the other hand, completely disagrees.

When a living corpse climbs out of her during an awkward night of sex, Stacy learns that her vagina is actually a doorway to another world. She persuades Steve to climb inside of her to explore this strange new place. But once inside, Steve finds it difficult to return... especially once he meets an oddly attractive woman named Fig, who lives within the lonely haunted world between Stacy's legs.



Torn ... should I read it, should I find something better to do with my time?  ???

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunted-Vagina-Carlton-Mellick-III-ebook/dp/B005F645MS

I say read it. It's an award-winning author, that must count for something. Let us know how it is.
Go kicking and screaming, lol, it all means the same on January 21st.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #367 on: January 03, 2021, 12:07:25 PM »
Two Time Hugo Award Finalist Chuck Tingle would probably be more up your alley, Thork. Or down your alley, as the case may be.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 12:09:36 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #368 on: January 16, 2021, 12:11:38 PM »
I am about a third of the way through Jens Malte Fischer's biography of Gustav Mahler. It is most excellent.